Let’s say, just for the sake of saying it, that you have been working meticulously on a blog post. The subject is Men and Needlework during the 17th Century. You have been sweating over this post. You have tried to balance it between being too short and too long. You have avoided using too much jargon, but you’ve peppered in a few little hints of jargon to show that you know what you’re talking about. Every word has been chosen with the utmost care. This post, it’s safe to say, is your masterpiece.
There’s just one tiny little problem.
You sell port-a-potties. To construction workers.
It’s awesome to be awesome
There is nothing wrong with striving for awesomeness. Heck, I do it all the darned time. But there’s being awesome in the abstract, and then there’s being awesome in a useful, awesomely productive sort of way. With all of the talk going on about how to make your blog awesome, how to make your campaign awesome, and how to just generally be awesome, I worry that people may sort of forget that “awesome” is not an endgame. Here are five reasons why being awesome is not necessarily awesome enough.
1. Your audience may not care: If you are waxing poetical about embroidery and your audience could care less, that’s not really 100% awesome, is it? Because it is not helping your readers, of which there might be 3, and it’s certainly not helping you. Even if your posts are exquisite and are getting attention from Martha Stewart, if it’s useless to your audience, it’s really not that awesome.
2. Your recognition is coming from people who are not your buyers: Maybe a lot of people are proclaiming you are awesome. That’s totally awesome. If you are here to make money, however, what really matters is whether that “you’re awesome!” is going to translate into “…and I wish to put some of my money into your PayPal account.” It’s easy to praise a painting on a wall. That doesn’t mean you want to buy it.
3. Awesome is a state of mind: Especially online, feeling awesome or doing awesome stuff is like a summer thunderstorm. One great comment can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. One sour comment can make you feel distinctly un-awesome. One post doing really well can make you feel like royalty, whereas if your next post falls flat, you’re back to the un-awesome. Feeling awesome is awesome, but it’s a treadmill journey that you need to keep working towards.
4. Awesomeness is relative: What is awesome to you? Who is awesome? If you ask 15 people, you’d probably get an infinite number of answers. Striving for “awesome” in the online world is like trying to grab a fist full of smoke. One person’s favorite blog post is another person’s least favorite. You’re a superstar to one person and an idiot in the eyes of another person. Saying that you are awesome, or being told that you are awesome, is an instance by instance victory. It’s not winning the war.
5. Awesomeness tempts you to think you’ve won it all. Let’s say you do something that’s awesome. Maybe you write a blog post that goes viral, or maybe you come up with a product that is unequivocally awesome. So, what next? If your goal is to “be awesome,” you may think you’ve won the race. Game over. The princess has been saved. But it’s not really so, is it? In the online world, as in life, there are sadly very few careers where you can say, “Oh, ok. I’m done. I’ve accomplished everything in the world.” You can be happy for that moment, but then you’ve got to move on. And guess what? The bar of awesome is now higher. That’s right. It gets increasingly harder to be and to feel awesome the longer you strive for awesomeness.
This is not to downplay the power of striving for awesomeness, otherwise known as, well, I don’t know. What does “awesome” mean to you? Your best work? Being the best possible person? Whatever it is, striving for awesome is always awesome. But thinking that “awesome” is the prize – that’s where I believe people might be traveling a bit astray.
What do you think?
Image by David Siqueira. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/dleafy