Take a hike
Creating is moving forward in life.
Last week, my friend and neighbor had me as a guest on his new podcast, I Took a Hike. The premise is what it seems: Darren conducts interviews on a hike. Although I’ve recorded many podcasts, I found the format intriguing and was amazed with what took place during our time together.
Discussing your life’s journey and path while literally taking a journey on a hiking path is as meta as it gets, but it allows for a level of introspection that is incredibly difficult to achieve. I am generally okay with diving into the personal corners of my life and have opened up on other podcasts over the years. But on the hike, I loved how my senses were heightened as I focused on every footstep, trying not to slip over rocks or mud while taking in my beautiful surroundings. A lot clicked during our conversation in ways it probably wouldn’t have in a more traditional setting. It was almost therapeutic.
I have massive respect for content creators—more so than ever before. Whether you’re creating full time or in your free time, it’s hard work. I know about the countless hours poured into maintaining writing schedules, daily posts, cross-promotions, and podcasts. I’ve expended an infinite amount of emotional energy putting myself out there, wondering if people will like my content, or to a larger extent, like me. In a way, creating content is both a window into and a mirror of your soul. Not everyone is comfortable giving others a look inside, and not everyone is ready to receive what they might get in return.
When I post anything, I immediately wrestle with a slew of emotions. The rush of dopamine fights against my insecurities and questions around self-worth. Was it good enough? For who–them or me? Why do I even care? I try to remember there was a time in the beginning when no one was watching. I’ll just delete it. Now, it feels like everyone’s watching and everything matters. If they don’t like me, I will lose them. I better try again.
The mental drain of it all is exhausting.
Last weekend, I went with some friends to a tequila tasting put on by an influencer and content creator. Rob, from The Tequila Collective, not only reviews tequilas but does a fantastic job educating his audience on tequila culture. The event was amazing and conveniently down the street from my house. As much as I enjoyed sipping awesome tequilas with even better company, I paid particular attention to Rob. After shaking off some early presentation jitters, he was in his element, sharing his passion for tequila and putting on an amazing event.
At the end, I thanked Rob and told him what an awesome job he did. We got to talking about social media and content creation. I shared with him what I do and how much I appreciate what goes into building a platform and growing an audience. But when I told him about some of my own struggles, his eyes lit up. He asked if he could hug me–he felt the same way. We discovered that we shared very similar feelings around the content creation grind. Moments of connection like these supersede any metrics on a piece of content.
Despite the time and mental fortitude it takes to consistently create content, I won’t stop. When I am feeling insecure, I try my best to remember that I grew from a place of trying new things. Hiking in the woods is as much a reward as the podcast it will produce. In other words, finding new ways to respect and appreciate the journey is crucial to avoid getting lost in the results.
I Took a Hike Podcast - I can’t tell you how unique and interesting this podcast is (and not just because I will be on it). Darren Mass showcases his talents as a business therapist and entrepreneur while taking guests on hikes across New Jersey. Dive into the minds of top-tier business leaders to see what makes them tick and how they think about success. I highly recommend it.
Arnold - How can you not love Arnold Schwarzenegger? Any Eighties kid grew up watching his movies, but Arnold is so much more than a famous actor. From his career in bodybuilding to politics, you can’t deny how inspirational he is. Dive into this three-part Netflix bio documentary and you won’t be disappointed.
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