If you've been following along for any length of time, you know I write a lot about my fear of failure, insecurity and chronic self-doubt.
I write about this stuff because I’m constantly plagued by it and it’s always in my head. Every time I open Photoshop or Sublime Text, or iA Writer, or sit down at the drum kit, I fight with a voice that says “Your work is terrible. You have no skill. You don’t matter.”
A therapist would probably tell me this has something to do with my childhood and upbringing, and maybe it does, but I’ve never been able to shake it. Even in the height of “success”, I’m still filled with doubt.
If you feel that way, I want you to know that you do matter. I know how helpful it can be to hear that from someone else, even if deep down you know it’s true. You matter.
You may not realize it, but you impact the lives of people all around you. That’s an incredible responsibility.
A few month ago I was at a tiny web conference in Greenville. A guy walked up to me and said he loved my podcast (The Gently Mad) and that it was the reason he was there that day.
He told me how he had always dreamed of taking his life by the reigns and getting into the web industry so he could quit his job and do something he loved.
He told me that my podcast had given him the inspiration needed to move his family across the country and go through a web design and development course taught by The Iron Yard. He was graduating that day and just wanted to let me know how my show had encouraged him and given him the push he needed to start this new life.
I was completely floored. I had just finished whining to a friend for an hour about how nothing I did in life seemed to matter very much. How I had nothing to offer and nothing to say that hadn’t already been said.
And then that guy showed up. I knew nothing about him and yet he had been listing to my show and it had impacted him.
There are people like that in your life right now. People you don’t know, whose lives are being affected by what you do.
Zig Ziglar is famous for saying:
You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.
This should give you pause (and fill you with hope). Regardless of the size of your audience, you have an opportunity. Don’t miss that opportunity by believing the voice in your head that tells you you don’t matter.
The next time you sit down to write or design or create something, remember that there are people out there who are listening. You may never hear from them, but they’re there and they need you.
And that matters. A lot.