Putting Yourself Out There, Then Letting Go…

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self (Drawing by Diane Mottl)Confession time. When I started blogging a year ago, did I expect my blog to be an instant hit and reach thousands? Yes and No. I knew “instant hit” was a tad optimistic, but reaching thousands by year end felt like a realistic goal.

Did I make it? Not even close.

And boy, has that ever pushed buttons for this perfectionist-in-recovery. Over and over again, I have had to tell myself that the numbers do not matter: it is more important to reach that one person who finds something they need. I remind myself that each blog post gives me the opportunity to explore something meaningful (and it gives me the kick in the butt I need to get to my writing desk / drawing table).

Sometimes I even listen to myself when I say these things (smile).

Why am I telling you all this? (Yes, I know…get to the point or you are going to click on the X and go somewhere else).

This year of blogging has taught me some important lessons about putting myself out there, then unhooking myself afterwards. What do I mean by “unhooking”?

So much of how I have operated throughout my life has followed a predictable formula: Do this and X happens. If X does not happen, try to figure out why. Once you think you have figured it out, make modifications and try “this” again or switch to “that”. Many of us are taught this formula and for the most part, it works. But hidden within, is the illusion that we really can control the outcome. And once we get hooked in to this, our ego can become attached to the outcome: “I did X and it worked, therefore I am a success. I did X and it did not work out, therefore I am a failure.”

To me, unhooking myself from the outcome means that my ego/my self-worth, is not caught up in whether X works out the way I think it should (or want it to). No, my blog is not reaching thousands. It is not earning income to help support my dream of writing. It is a teeny-tiny fish in a too-big-to-even-imagine-sized pond (a pond that I barely understand). By most standards of success, my foray into the world of blogging would hardly get a passing grade.

But when I unhook myself from this standard, I can see something different: all that I learned, all that I gained, all that I accomplished by simply putting myself out there. When I step away from preconceived ideas of what the outcome “should be”, I get the opportunity to see something far bigger.

Yes, I know. This goes against goal setting 101 which says to have a clear picture of where you want to go and then do steps 1 through 28 to get there. But this year has taught me that sometimes the picture we have of where we want to go, needs to have broader brush strokes. When we paint in all the details, it is easy to get monocular vision.

“It’s only when you can let go of your expectations that you can be open to whatever comes along.” — Paul Wilson,

I do not know where this next year will take me. I have plans, goals, ideas. I will do my due diligence. I will put myself out there. I will keep getting back up when I stumble, keep practicing, learning and doing. When the self-doubt bug bites, I will take a deep breath and move through my fears. Even when the path is hazy, filled with shadows of unknown, I will move forward with courage, trust, and faith.

No, I do not know where I will be at the end of this year, but I am happy to say that I am getting better at being okay with that.

“Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are.” — David Deida

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

“Once you become self-aware, you realize that the flow of life needs no analysis or control, because it’s all you. The great river only seems to pick you up…No one gave you the job of steering the river. You can enjoy the ride and observe the scenery.” – Deepak Chopra,

“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.” — Epictetus

7 Responses to “Putting Yourself Out There, Then Letting Go…”

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  1. says:

    The first, second and third time that i visited your blog i overlook this particular post. But this time around i read and re-read it again, its was an eye opener for me. most importantly this point ““It’s only when you can let go of your expectations that you can be open to whatever comes along.”

    Keep on the good work.

  2. says:

    Nice writing. Nice pictures. I am just starting a blog and learning about what you experienced over the year is helpful. So is your philosophy about putting yourself out there and then letting go. I’ve just put seven films up online that we’ve made over the last eight years about mental health issues. Now I must let go. Sure I have high expectations. But at the same time I have no expectations. But yet I have something to drive me to get them known, get them watched, get their voices heard. Your blog has helped inspire me. Thank you.

  3. says:

    Found your blog towards the end of last year and I think it’s great. Love the drawings. Thanks for reaching back out too.

  4. Cathy says:

    Hi Diane,

    What I absolutely love about your blogs is the way in which you are able to articulate the learning and experience, and your openness and courage to sharing your own personal journey. I love the quotes, and this sketch is probably one of my favorites. So Keep on blogging, because the story and message is powerful. It makes me think and then smile after a long day.
    Cathy

  5. Kim says:

    There does seem to be a conflict between goal-setting and the concept of not being attached to the outcome. I struggle with this one quite a bit. Maybe it is due to my age, or perhaps the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years, but I’m seeing that my need to succeed (do I even know what success looks like to me?) along with what feels like continual striving, is not serving me well. I don’t have any answers or advice, but I do know that I would like to spend more time enjoying the present moment and being satisfied with my life EXACTLY the way it is.

  6. says:

    I absolutely love your blog! The drawings and quotes are very powerful assets to your posts. Keep up the great work!

  7. says:

    Hi Diane,

    First of all, I love your pencil drawing. Very nice. I know exactly how you feel, having blogged for a year now without a ton of feedback. I’ve enjoyed your blogs and try to comment, time willing! So keep on and best of luck blogging this coming year!

    jan