Wherever you go in life, whatever you want to do, you must have faith in yourself.
This is not the same thing as believing in yourself – faith means a lot more than that.
Belief is an opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded based upon some reason or piece of information.
For example, you might believe you can run a marathon because you’ve been able to run a half marathon. You believe in your ability based on experience.
Faith is a little different. It’s similar to believing in yourself, but it’s more than that. Faith is when you think something without being able to point exactly to a specific reason why.
Faith is stronger than belief. Faith is when you struggle towards something even if there is no justification or proof that you can make it happen.
When I first started blogging, I knew no one online. No one. Other than my wife, I had no support network. My parents didn’t even know about this blog until about a year after it was created.
I can’t point to a specific reason why I thought I could write for so long and build an audience – there was none. The last time I had written anything was about a year prior to my first post.
I remember trying to get my name out there. I would try to form relationships with other bloggers but it got me very little. I was new so they were justifiably reserved about getting to know me.
No one online was encouraging me. No one sent me emails telling me to keep going and how much they loved what I was writing.
The only thing that kept me going was faith. I had faith that I would eventually hit my stride and find an audience. I had faith that I would eventually write enough engaging content to get attention.
It’s amazing to me how much the situation has reversed after all these years.
I don’t seek out other people very often anymore. In fact, people come to me a lot more than I ever reach out.
I remember when getting others to read my blog took time and effort. Now others ask me to read their blog and engage with them. I have a bookshelf full of books from publicists and bloggers sending me free copies of their work. In one case, someone wanted to send me a copy of their documentary.
We all start, more or less, from the beginning. No one starts off at the end.
Leonardo da Vinci didn’t start off with all his paintings and creations finished. He had to painstakingly work his way through each one.
Charles Dickens didn’t start off with an entire library of work. He had to sit down and write every single day until eventually he had a stack of books to his name.
No one paid attention to Charles Dickens when he wrote his first sentence. There was no reason to think he would make it big.
When Leonardo da Vinci was young, no one told him that he would one day be a famous artist. No one told him that his work would be beloved for ages after his death.
It was probably the opposite. He probably had more people tell him to give up painting and get a “real job”. In fact, when he first started out, many people shrugged off his work – there wasn’t very much encouragement.
This will go for you too. Whatever you want to do, there will be a lot more people around to tell you that you can’t do it. You won’t get very much encouragement – no one will tell you that you’re destined for greatness.
Whenever you set out for something big – something bigger than you’ve ever done – you’ll face the same critics. For every person who supports you, you’ll find a dozen who try to knock you down.
People will be indifferent. You’ll tell them your goals and dreams and they’ll shrug it off as if they aren’t a big deal.
Every great person starts off with nothing. Many great painters and actors had to work part-time jobs for years under the faith that they’ll find a way.
I always try to keep that in mind. I started off in the blogging world with nothing and have been working my way up. I have a much larger audience than I could have hoped.
Weirdly, sometimes when I’m out at the movies or a restaurant, I let my mind wander on the subject. I imagine one of the employees is an artist or musician trying to make it big.
Then I imagine they offer to show me their art or music. As hard as it is for me to say, I have to admit that my first instinct is to say no.
It makes me feel a little bad about myself. For all I know, this person is the next Picasso or Macklemore.
But then I remind myself that we all start at the beginning. One day that person serving me in a restaurant could write the next Harry Potter or become a huge actor or create clean energy. We all have to start somewhere.