Go Your Own Way
Comparing yourself to others is never wise, but every now and then I stray off this path. I start to look at what other people are doing with their projects. I start to look at the amount of followers other people have. I start to panic and think that I should be doing more.
This is a slippery slope to nowhere. I know that.
For the last year or so I have been creating my project, Ministry of Change, but I haven’t really been following any of the rules. I haven’t been reaching for exponential growth. I haven’t been looking at analytics and doing A/B Testing. I used to work as a social media manager so I know the rules of how to grow.
I just don’t think I care about them.
I’ve pretty much been following the principle that when something needs to happen it will happen.
It’s not a recipe for speed or efficiency, but it is one that is nurtured somewhere deeper. Somewhere beyond words and action.
Most of my best ideas and blog posts arise from a walk in the fields. That is when inspiration strikes for me. It never happens when I sit down at a predetermined time and decide to craft a blog post, or create content about a specific topic.
I mean, I’ve tried to force myself to write another article about my relationship to time for about 3 weeks now, and it always comes out either reading like a Wikipedia entry, or as ranty and judgemental - then I had a spontaneous phone call with a friend last night, and this morning the article I’ve been trying to make myself write became this one.
I’m not saying this is the best way for everyone to work, but I think it is the best way for me.
Sometimes I think that I should create a more regimented routine and start to create some sort of content schedule. That maybe I should have a specific day each week that I release a podcast. That’s the sort of thing that I hear people saying and read in those moments of weakness when I start to think I should be doing more to grow my audience.
But that isn’t the way it works for me. A friend of mine told me the other day that I was ‘very regular in my irregularity’. I liked that, and I think it got to the heart of the way I’m working.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything worse than Ministry of Change growing quickly. That is the world that I’m trying to leave behind. Waking up to a full inbox and a lot of notifications to respond to makes me feel stressed. This project is not just about changing the narratives around mental health and exploring what it means to be human from an external perspective. That is the way I’m restructuring my life. Ministry of Change is a reflection of that.
I know deep down in my heart that the right people will find the Ministry of Change at the right time, and that Ministry of Change will, in turn, find the people that it needs to when the time is right. It may seem irrational, but it works for me. That’s not the way I’ve been told that the world works, but it is the way that I intuitively and experientially know it does.
I’m not making much money, I don’t think I have a huge following, I don’t produce that much content, but I can place my hand on my heart and say that this is the most successful thing that I have ever done in my life so far.
This year I have made so many meaningful connections with people and have learned more about myself than in the previous 30 years combined. That transcends everything. It transcends the number of people following me on Twitter. It transcends the amount of money I make. It transcends the need to grow big. That isn’t to say that those things aren’t useful, helpful or that they won’t come along at some point. But to me that transcendence is a metric of success that really means something. Connecting with people isn’t something that I’m doing to try and get somewhere. They are connections with people that I am genuinely interested in. I want to hear their story. I want to sit and have a cup of tea with them. That feels like enough.
I’m taking the long route. I think real change can only be found along that road. There isn’t a quick fix, and whenever I begin to look for one, I know it’s time to close my laptop and put my walking boots back on.
I want Ministry of Change, and in fact, my life, to be something that gradually and organically unfolds in the way it needs to, at the time it needs to, at the pace it needs to.
I think a good analogy could be found in the music world. I don’t want to be one of those bands that start out great, finding their own unique voice, only to then release some huge commercial hit, reach over night success and forever after have to please crowds and create painfully generic rock songs or fade into oblivion.
I’d rather be the slow burner. One of those bands that has a consistent and dedicated cult following. One that maybe never gets the recognition of the masses, but that means so much to the people that really understand it. I’m not reaching for Wembley. I want Ministry of Change to keep on gigging in the small intimate venues and speaking to the people that matter for years to come.
I don’t mean this to be prescriptive in anyway. I’m aware that the way I’m structuring my life could be someone else’s anxiety inducing nightmare. I guess the point of these words, if there is any point, is that while it can be useful to draw inspiration from other sources and other people, ultimately, it is only by focusing on your own unique journey, that your own unique talents will shine through.
You are the only person that can be you, and if you believe that, then you will be able to do the things that you need to do.