The eyes downcast. A slight shrug of the shoulders. “Ahh I’m just really lucky it came together.”
My standard response when someone looks at me with wide wondering eyes at the idea that I created a website to talk about the simple act of running and it became…my full time job.
Part of me is still holding on to that old idea of “blogging isn’t a job“. Because when I started this in 2007 that would have sounded insane! It wasn’t a job, we were just sharing our runs and on a random really great day Brooks Running would send you an email saying “we’d love to send you some shoes because we can tell you’re so passionate about running.”
And you’d dance around the living room like the Publisher’s Clearing House just knocked on the door.But the bigger issue is that we have a problem owning our success. I can draw you a detailed map of my flaws, but when you ask for my proudest moments? My biggest accomplishments?
Errr…I’m not supposed to talk about that, right? It’s bragging.
Luckily, many times in those conversations my insanely amazing friends (hey Laura) are standing nearby. Immediately, they do the eye roll, grab the listener by the shoulders and in no uncertain terms say “Don’t let her fool you! She reaches a half a million people because she worked her butt off and played it smart.”
Again, the head duck, the cheeks burning and the internal gratitude cranked up to 10.Was I lucky that Greatist, Fitness Magazine and others noticed RunToTheFinish and listed it frequently in their Top Fitness Blogs list?? Maybe, there were a lot of people out there…or maybe my consistency and hustle got me in front of the right person..
Was I lucky that RTTF went from a passion to a full time income? Maybe, it certainly could have been a flash in the pan….or maybe my Journalism degree and my willingness to take the leap gave me more incentive to work hard.
Was I lucky that Oakley Women selected me to be part of one of the first ever ambassador programs in 2012, years ago before that was even a thing, based on a magazine entry?! Probably, but I also poured my heart in to the essay and was genuinely thrilled to be part of the group. I remember getting the phone call in a parking garage in Miami and almost bursting in to joyful tears!
This is when I look to those smarter than me for a reminder, like Richard Branson:
I believe that “luck” is one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated factors in life.
Those people and businesses that are generally considered fortunate or luckier than others are usually also the ones that are prepared to take the greatest risks and, by association, are also prepared to fall flat on their faces every so often.
All right, so once we’ve established that I have created a blog that’s doing well (yea, yea we’ll tackle success in a second). I have to attempt to explain, WHY?!
People are genuinely fascinated because it’s a departure from the norm.
“Are you like a pro-athlete? You must be really fast or something. Do you just like write about your day and what you eat?“Ahh well, immediately I can say, no I found my voice through researched articles that really help runners through injuries, with motivation and nutrition.
But speed...that feels like a whole different bullet to dodge.
Nope, I’m not an elite athlete. I’ve had some pretty great races, but I didn’t BQ. I’ve landed on some podiums, but mostly I’ve just logged a crap ton of miles (over 20,000 now) because I needed to. I wanted to. I deserved to.
This leads to new rounds of confusion over why brands would sponsor a non-elite and if I think blogging is dying. For some reason, this is the moment when I’m ready to puff out my chest and be proud!
It’s that moment where we’ve finally dived in to what this all is that I really want to stand up for the world of blogging. This is where I realize what happened at the start of the conversation…
- I didn’t want to sound like I was bragging (that was drilled in to me young)
- I probably don’t define success the way everyone does
Post college, I was on a fabulous corporate trajectory. On my way to leading a stellar team of eCommerce consultants, already making six-figures and I really did enjoy it for a long time. A very standard successful woman, who only got 2 weeks of vacation and was slowly burning out.
Once, I made the leap out of that safety net, I was on to a new better definition of success: being a lifestyle entrepreneur.
What is that? It was about creating an entire life that served my goals in every way. It’s allowed me to travel the world, to write more (what I always wanted as a kid), to spend time with David and friends, to focus on my health, to go run when the sun is shining rather than when the clock requires it.
It’s more about the life, than the money. So nope, it’s not the largest blog or the most famous, but it’s mine and I love it.
Which is good because being an entrepreneur is freaking hard and takes a lot of time too…but that’s ok when it’s your life!
RTTF has surpassed all my monetary goals and for that I would say I feel lucky, but now I’ll say I feel blessed because it’s allowing me to live even more of the LIFE I choose. If it all goes away tomorrow, I’ll be sad for the loss of this community and some crazy fun opportunities, but I’ll be fine because the money wasn’t the goal.
And here’s the REALLY important part, this is what MY successful life looks like. I still cheer with abandon for my friends enjoying their corporate success or my friends who’ve chosen family over work, that is their success.
Thanks for Thinking Out Loud with me!
What do you think about luck vs hard work?
Has your definition of success changed?
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