Frustrated by your limitations? Here’s how I’m learning to make them work for me instead of against me
The recent launch of EntreFamily has come during a particularly busy season.
In fact, the brainchild for this website was birthed almost two years before we actually went ahead and created it. For so long, it just wasn’t the right time.
Even as we’ve gone ahead and launched the site this fall, I am still managing another site which keeps me busy, writing to some degree, but mostly communicating with and managing my team, setting direction and making decisions to keep us moving forward. Additionally, I am working with a fantastic literary agent and in the process of editing and finishing up my first traditional book proposal (a book on family travel, a topic which I am truly passionate about).
In the meantime, Ryan works long, hard hours on Ultimate Bundles, as he (together with our team) is running several bundles this fall and winter, while he continues to oversee our local music school.
Add to that our family and domestic duties with four young, homeschooled kids and, well, we’re feeling swamped.
When I sit down to work, my time is limited. My energy is often lacking. My attention is torn between projects.
Now, I’ve been blogging a long time (a friend and I joke that we’re dinosaurs of the blogging world). I know the things I should be doing, the best practices that would help the site to grow more quickly.
I also recognize my limitations and have chosen to accept and work within them rather than pushing myself to the brink in a feeble attempt to do it all.
My friend Myquillin of Nesting Place refers to them as “lovely limitations”, a moniker that most of us probably wouldn’t choose. But I think she’s onto something.
You see, as entrepreneurs, most of us are dreamers, visionaries. Our heads often reside up in the clouds, imagining what could be. Our big, beautiful ideas can consume us and it’s no wonder that many of us struggle deeply with perfectionism.
When you have such grand ideas, you want to see them executed just so. When you have the knowledge and ability to do something really well, you expect yourself to do just that and it’s hard to settle for anything less.
What I’m learning in this season is that I can only do as much as I can do. I must choose to love my limitations, and even embrace them.
Right now, they are forcing me to work to expand this site and my efforts in it incrementally. They’re also causing me to step back and examine my priorities, to make thoughtful decisions, rather than reactive, panicky ones where I tell myself (as I have so many times in the past) that I “have to” do this, that and the other thing.
I like practical examples, so here are a few from the very blog you’re reading.
To give you a bit of backstory, while both Ryan and I contribute to the site in terms of content and podcast recordings, his work on Ultimate Bundles take the bulk of his time, and so I am the one (happily) putting it all together behind the scenes — editing and sound production on podcasts, setting posts up to publish, managing our email subscription, creating social media content, scheduling interviews, and all the other tasks that make up a blogger’s work.
These are some of the decisions I’ve intentionally made to keep it manageable for me right now:
- We will only publish a new podcast once every two weeks. I hope to eventually bring that to once a week, but with the steep learning curve of audio production, it’s too much for me at the moment.
- We will only post 3 times a week. Yes, the blog would probably grow faster if we posted 5 days, but it’s not just not feasible.
- I should be guest posting on other sites to get the word out. But I’m not. At least, not right now.
- I held off starting to post on Facebook and Twitter for the first two weeks after our launch. I determined that putting new content up on the blog consistently and responding to comments from new readers was more important than social media, if I had to prioritize it.
- When I did begin using social media, I started by simply trying to get something up several times per week on both FB and Twitter. No schedule, no expectations. Just do something because it’s better than nothing.
- This is the first week that I am attempting a regular posting schedule on social media, 6 days a week. But I am limiting myself to 2 posts per day, and I am auto-scheduling them ahead of time, and simply checking in once per day to engage with readers who have commented or tweeted.
- Our posts do not contain fancy images with text. In fact, most posts only contain one image. That’s not to say that I’ll never do more with our images. I’m capable of it and know how to optimize images for better sharing. But again, it’s a priority choice, and I believe that right now our readers care more about us getting out consistent content without fancy images. (Am I right?)
We can only do as much as we can do.
For me, in this season, this is what I can do. Does it mean slower growth for the site? Yes, I’ll grant that it does. Am I capable of doing more, growing it faster, taking advantage of more of what I’ve learned over my seven years of blogging? Absolutely.
But here’s one of the other things I’ve learned in blogging (hmmm, this sounds like a blog post topic for the future)… slow and steady works.
It may not shoot you to the top of Pinterest or Facebook with consistently viral posts. It may not grow your site to over a million views in less than a year. It may not win you accolades or pats on the back or much attention at all. But it will earn you longevity, encourage creativity and efficiency in your work, set you up well for the long haul, and protect your sanity and personal priorities in the process.
Admittedly, it’s not as sexy as accolades and viral posts, but I think it might be preferable.
Maybe those limitations aren’t always so bad?
Photo by Brian Teutsch
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