So here I sit, really not knowing how to start this blog post. Frankly, it’s one of those subjects that I know needs to be written about but also has the opportunity to be greatly misunderstood. But due to the fact that I don’t have a witty opening line to grab your attention, I’ll just say what’s on my mind:
Top Blogger Lists mean everything…and they mean nothing.
There, so I said it, and now I’ll hopefully make some sense of it.
They Mean Everything
This past Friday morning, as I was driving home from visiting my Dad in Charleston WV, I noticed a trackback I’d received to my blog. Glancing at the sender, my eyebrow raised high when I saw it was coming from ProBlogger’s Top 20 Bloggers to Watch in 2012 List.
Upon seeing this, immediately I asked my wife to read it out loud. Here is what the incredibly kind Jade Craven, who authored the post, had to say:
I love his blog. He isn’t a pseudo-guru testing his theories—he only teaches about stuff he’s personally experienced. He also has a talent for community engagement. Many of his posts contribute to the conversation surrounding many facets of our industry, which encourages related companies to adjust their model to serve bloggers better.
Hands down, Marcus is one of the coolest guys online. He helps so many of us when he already has a successful business and doesn’t need the social validation. I hope we’ll see a lot more of him in the coming year.
Upon reading the final words, my wife looked at me with tears in her eyes and a huge smile. My 11-year old daughter Danielle told me I was, “Awesome.” To say they were excited would be the understatement.
Yes, Recognition is Nice
You see, what most folks don’t see when they read The Sales Lion is the emotional investment that has been made by the entire Sheridan Clan since it birth 2+ years ago.
Most don’t know that when I started writing this blog my average sleep time per night went from around 8 hours to 5 or 6.
Most folks don’t hear the conversations I have with my wife and kids on a daily basis regarding this blog, the business, time spent away from home, etc.
Now don’t get me wrong friends. I’m not mentioning these things so you’ll in any way feel sorry for me (you shouldn’t), as it’s something I willingly signed up for and has been a major blessing. It’s also a story that has been similarly repeated by any blogger or business owner around the world trying their best to find success.
But I mention this because without the ‘group effort’ of my family, none of this is possible. There is a balance and order needed and all things, and we’ve worked very hard, together, to find said balance.
So when recognition comes from ProBlogger, or as it did with Jonathan Fields a few days later, there is certainly a sense of gratitude that comes with it.
We all like to be recognized for our talents and labors.
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
Again, It’s All About YOUR Goals
But to be completely honest, had I not been included on ProBlogger’s or Jonathan’s list, I never would have blinked.
Because the only thing I judge my ultimate success on comes from the goals I’ve already laid out for my future.
And being on ProBlogger’s “Bloggers to Watch” list has never been, nor will it ever be, one of those goals.
The same could be said for any other ‘list’ or ‘ranking’ that’s online today.
Honestly, they aren’t on my validation radar whatsoever.
If they are a byproduct of my work, then great, but not for one second will I allow a list or ranking to define me.
Nor should you.
They Mean Nothing
I say this because as a result of being named to these lists I received an abnormally high number of emails that greatly concerned me.
Because they all asked a similar question:
“Marcus, what do you think I could do to get on a list like that?”
And with each email that came in, I literally cringed, and then responded with a simple question:
Why did you start blogging in the first place and was that one of your goals?
Think about it for a second- Why have so many in this industry gotten to this point of ‘list’ and ‘ranking’ validation? Is this how we judge all of our hard work and efforts? Aren’t there any other goals that define success and failure?
What do these lists really mean?
Yes, there is the recognition.
Yes, there is the chance for more traffic and links and such.
But at the same time, what do you think happens when a blogger, who has been on one of these lists, stops producing quality content?
What happens if they lose focus on their real goals(assuming they have them) and go after the non-fulfilling ones of the world?
Or better yet, what happens if they just stop writing?
The answer, as you might imagine, is their blog/business suffers like the rest of us. They are immune to nothing. Look at any past ‘top blogger lists’ on the web and you’ll see many folks who today are no longer even active online.
Last Week Does NOT Define the Future
The internet is a competitive place. Yeah, sure, last week was great for my blog.
But that was last week. It’s over. Done.
Now, if I don’t write good stuff, and don’t give real value, I’m toast.
Some will disagree with my thoughts here and call them too harsh, but I honestly feel that in many ways we’re only as good as our next post.
This is why I’m not one to look back and pat myself on the shoulder and then forget what got me here.
But this is also why it bothers me deeply when I read bloggers expressing their disappointment about not being included on lists or receiving the peer-recognition they feel they deserve.
As a young industry full of talented people, we must move past this.
Call me naïve if you wish, but I certainly think we can all do better.
Am I saying list posts and rankings are bad?
No, of course not. I’ve written my share of these types of posts in the past simply because I enjoy shedding light on great people who are blessing others through their work. This, in my opinion, is a very good thing and will never grow old.
But it’s also time we all understood and defined our true individual metrics of success, as it’s this vision that will carry us through the good and bad times that come with all the hard work, effort, and deep passion that is blogging.
I’ve said my piece, but now I’d love to hear yours? Why do so many of us, as bloggers, allows lists, awards, and rankings dictate our feelings of self-worth? And what goals have you personally set that define your success with blogging?
As always, your thoughts and opinions matter, and I’d love to hear them below.
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