8 Life Lessons I Learned After 3 Years Blogging

Before I say anything, I wanted to get this out of the way.

Okay. We may move forward.

Well, here we are. Three years later.

One name change, one website re-design, dozens of recipes, countless photos, tons of new friends, incalculable hours, heaps of smiles, a few tears, and three years later.

It all feels like a blur, to be honest. I’ve never put my head, heart, and energy more into anything in my life, and so far it’s all been worth it. I never thought when I made my very first account on WordPress.com three years ago that I would take away so much from this experience, let alone still be doing this. I had a propensity to get something in my mind, start doing it, and never actually see it through. Well, I’ve seen it through, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.

The lessons I’ve learned from this experience, as an individual, beyond a business owner or blogger, are invaluable and completely unexpected. I thought about sharing with you the business/blogging-related lessons I’ve learned over the last three years in celebration of this blogiversary, but I thought 1) you probably don’t care unless you’re a blogger and 2) that’s what BGB Community is for.

So, I thought I would share with you the things I’ve learned after three years of blogging, that have nothing to do with blogging, and everything to do with life.

After blogging for three years, these eight life lessons have changed my perspective and have helped me grow professionally and personally.

Always take the high road

Having a larger presence on the internet (relative to not having this blog) means I am subjected to the opinions and voices of others/strangers, which can sometimes be negative. I never understood what the great Kevin Gnapoor meant when he said “don’t let the haters stop you from doin’ your thang”, until I experienced it first-hand. Experiencing negativity from people online literally does that: it makes you want to stop doin’ your thang. It makes you wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing, because in that moment, thinking back to before you had any sort of presence online sounds so much better than what you’re dealing with now.

I am certainly no pro at dealing with haters, and I have not dealt with it as much as a lot of people, but it has touched me in some ways, and taught me a major lesson: always take the high road. I’m going to be real with you… there have been times where all I want to say is “get a life” or “screw you”. But I’ve learned that taking the high road, something I have implemented through social media/the internet into real life, is the best option.

I recently received a negative novel of a comment on one of my Instagram photos from an individual with different diet choices than I. I’ll let your imagination run wild. Instead of arguing with this individual, I agreed to disagree and wished them a beautiful day. Although I didn’t say what I actually wanted to say (again, will let your imagination run wild), I felt so much better after having responded with kindness. Kindness breeds kindness, friends. That is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.

 

What you do in the dark, puts you in the light

Nobody sees what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Nobody sees the 12-14 hour days, or the tears from stress and exhaustion, or the money spent. Although I have alluded to the hard work food blogging requires in other posts in order to prove a point relative to a certain topic (i.e. I need to make these Sheet Pan Fajitas because I worked a long day and I’m too tired to cook), you really do not know unless you live with me, or any blogger or business owner for that matter. I have always possessed a mindset that my hard work has a direct relationship with my success. In high school, I had a rooted belief that even though my SAT/ACT scores weren’t the greatest, I would get into my dream college because I had worked my damn ass off and it was going to happen. It did happen, and this mindset has traveled with me through the years.

At times, we may experience success in whichever field we work. And at times, it may feel unexpected. I truly believe that karma follows us and success is relative to our hard work. Sure, there are people who simply ‘get lucky’, but I’ve learned that what I’m doing with my time, that nobody else sees, is what gets me where I want to be. I believe that any award, partnership, raise, promotion, is a direct result of hard work.

This mindset has also allowed me to heal my mental wounds from falling in the comparison trap. I have learned to simply assume that if someone is doing “better” than me, or what have you, that they worked hard to get there. Assuming that someone got something that you wanted or is somewhere you want to be simply because they were lucky is going to kill you inside. I’ve found that it’s important to be real with myself and really audit my behaviors and outlook. Did so-and-so get the promotion you wanted? Is so-and-so working your dream job in your dream city? Whatever it is, take a deeper look into your processes and think about what you’re doing; standing idle and wondering why you’re not getting where you want to be is not the answer. Stop thinking about it, and do something about it.

 

View rejection as luck

“What’s meant to be will find it’s way”. I live my life with this in mind, always. I have been rejected so many times in my life. Seriously. Growing up, the boys I liked never seemed to like me back. I received so many rejections and crickets (as in, no response at all) while looking for a job after college that it took me seven months to score a job (a job I knew I would hate). If I had a nickel for every brand that rejected me for a potential partnership, I’d be rich.

I used to be devastated every time I was rejected. Oh, the amount of tears that flowed through my eyes during the job hunt (mainly due to frustration) was ridiculous. Whenever a boy didn’t like me, I thought it was because there was something wrong with me. Even now, I was recently asked to audition for a popular online cooking show that shall remain nameless, and so I did. I was so excited to even be asked, but yet again, I was rejected. However, after having experienced this feeling for so many instances in my life, I have a whole new outlook that has the power to change your life (seriously):

IT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE.

One of my favorite quotes is: “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” -Dalai Lama

I’ve learned to care about rejection for a total of five seconds and then move on; it’s not worth it. It’s not part of your plan, there is no point in focusing on it. Keep kicking ass, and the things that are meant to be for you, will happen. Okay, another favorite quote of mine (which was the quote I used for the senior section of my high school yearbook), “victory is greatest when you’ve known defeat”. Remember that – all of the rejections you receive will make reaching your goals that much more AWESOME.

 

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything

Last month I was so determined to get everything done on my to-do list before I went on vacation so that I could fully relax on my cruise. Let’s just say my to-do list resembled a receipt from CVS more than a laundry list. MUST. GET. ALL. THE. THINGS. DONE.

I was doing so much that I started to notice my creativity and drive wither away. Also known as, burnout. The sirens began to sound. Wee woo wee woo.

I realized that unless I took a break, the work I was doing was going to be crap. Sure, I would get it done, but it wouldn’t be quality, because I was mentally and physically exhausted. I was focusing more on just simply getting it done, than the value I was bringing to others. This brings me to a point I’ve made in a few other posts about learning to say no. I never thought saying no would be a good thing, but I’ve certainly learned that over the last three years.

It’s a powerful thing to understand when to say no and when to say yes. I think the most empowered I’ve felt in a long time was when I said no to a free trip to New York City. Sure, it was hard to deny something that would be totally awesome and *free*, but would it lead me in the right direction? No. You almost have to create a message map in your mind of what you should say no to and what you should say yes to. This comes with experience, that’s for sure. You’ll quickly learn that saying no is good when you’re in over your head with deadlines.

 

Being busy is an amazing thing

I’ve learned that as much as I can complain at times when I’m extremely busy, it’s a positive thing to be busy. Sure, sometimes you feel stressed out when you’ve got a million and one things to do. Oh boy, have I been there. But recently I stopped to think about what I had to do and what people were asking of me.

Being busy with work means that you’re talented. It means that you’re intelligent, an asset, and you are needed. Being busy with work means you have something that someone else doesn’t. That you’ve worked hard for the expertise you possess, and someone needs to use what you have. Not to get cheesy, but having this click in my head has totally changed my life. But really, I used to get so stressed out when I was busy, but it was more of a whiney stressed. Like, “AH MAH GAH I CANNOT BELIEVE THEY EXPECT ME TO DO ALL OF THIS”, or something… But then I realized, I am grateful that somebody would trust me with this, or that somebody knows I will do a great job.

Of course, there are parameters. Nobody wants to be a slave, but I’m assuming that is understood within the context here (again, learning when to say no).

Being busy with work means you have a job, which is something to be grateful for in it of itself.

 

Don’t wait for life to happen

This one took me a while, but I’m finally seeing the light. Something I decided majorly toward the end of 2015 and in 2016 was that I was going to stop waiting for things to happen to me, and that I was going to MAKE things happen.

I recently scored a long-term partnership with one of my favorite brands, which I am uber excited about. Why? Because I made it happen. I reached out to them. I worked with them and did a good job for a long time. I proved to them that I was an asset to their brand strategy. I made it happen.

If I want something to happen, I am the only person that can make that happen. Waiting for something to happen is a complete and total waste of my time, and knowing how precious time is, I refuse to sit back and wait.

 

Do things that scare you

Okay, I am totally still working on this one as it translates to ‘real life’. I mean, I still won’t ride a rollercoaster. And I sure as hell am not going skydiving. However, I have done things that have scared me in the blogging and business world, and they proved to be great learning experiences. I have learned to charge head on into things that intimidate me. Why? Because, why the hell not?!

I will be the first to admit: I have no idea what I am doing. Every damn day, on a high-level, no clue what the heck I am doing. I’m just doing it, because I know I can reach my goals and because I have a burning passion. Even at work – I often act like I know what I’m doing, when really, I don’t. This is how you learn – you just do it.

I recently had to give a social media presentation to an investor in our company. It wasn’t even a huge presentation, I was only presenting to four people in his company, but hey, I get really nervous talking in front of people. I’m talking the shakes, the sweats, the whole nine. But, I made notes, I made a presentation, and I just did what I had to do. Long story short, it turned out great, and I even proved to my boss and a co-worker of mine that I know more about the field than they had ever thought. I’d even surprised myself.

8 Life Lessons I Learned After 3 Years of Blogging

You are always better than you think

I’ve struggled with confidence my whole life. Blogging has brought out a confidence in me that I never had. It showed me what I love to do, and it allowed me to exert energy into that thing, which allowed me to consistently improve, and feel proud.

You know how women are known for not accepting compliments? Like, if I tell you right now that you look beautiful, maybe you’d say “Ugh what? I look so bad right now…” Yeah, I say that all the time to my boyfriend. I could be wearing no makeup, my hair is a hot mess, I’m in mix-matching lay-around clothes, and if he tells me I look beautiful, I look at him like he’s crazy. But you know what? Maybe I am beautiful. My soul is beautiful, my heart is beautiful, my drive is beautiful. (And maybe he likes greasy hair, I don’t judge.)

We often doubt our abilities. I know I put a lot of pressure on myself, and throughout the last three years, I have learned to step outside of my little bubble and look at things with a different mindset whenever I receive a compliment. If somebody tells me that my food photography is stunning, I sometimes immediately think “no it’s not… especially not compared to xyz”. WRONG ANSWER, CHRISTINA. I’m always in go-go-go mode, that I don’t step back to look at how far I’ve come. So, I encourage you to accept compliments, especially as it pertains to your work, and realize that hey – you’ve been working hard, and you’ve improved, and your sh*t is awesome.

Alright, now that I’ve hit my yearly quota for all things cheesy and cliche, I wanted to say thank you to all of you that read my words and enable my food-photo-taking and recipe-making obsession. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

*pops champagne* Cheers to you, friend.

The Ultimate Guide to Breakfast On-The-Go

Comments

  1. says

    I love alllllll of these. I’m also still working on “do something that scares you”–I have a few ideas in mind and steps I need to take in order to reach my business goals, I’m just stalling because of fear. And I KNOW I’m stalling. It’s totally ridiculous and not getting me anywhere.. Doing scary stuff gets you out of your comfort zone and is almost always a positive end result (at least I think so). PS public speaking is my real life fear so if/when I Have to give presentations I also get the shakes and all that jazz. So fun, but you are not alone.
    Erin @ The Almond Eater recently posted…Butternut Squash HashMy Profile

  2. says

    Christinaaaaaaa I am just smiling from ear to ear reading this post. Seriously you really do have something amazing here and I am always so grateful to have connected with you. This post is everything. Spot on. Congratulations on three years, and cheers to many many more!!

  3. says

    Congrats on 3 years of learning and living. It does amaze me the tremendous number of negativity there is in the world. Sometimes they are so quick it actually makes me laugh or sad (not sure) but tis great you have learned through tears to take the higher ground. You are a better and stronger person than you were 3 years ago… I don’t even know you but I can believe that in your sharing. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  4. says

    I wish I could pick a favorite, but indecision takes over again 😉 Right now, I’m particularly focusing on viewing busy as a good thing (and recognizing when it’s not), learning that I can do anything but not everything, and making life happen. Life is SO GOOD, but I want to do so much. Sometimes, you’ve gotta narrow in on fewer things.
    Also, huge congratulations on three years! You write so honestly and seriously are just killing it. Totally look up to you :)
    Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday recently posted…Maple-Balsamic Roasted Brussels SproutsMy Profile

    • says

      Viewing business as a positive is very difficult but it comes with time. I still struggle with it but that idea had never graced my mind before. Now, whenever I’m swamped, I just think about that and it helps. Thank you so much, Ellen!! You’re so sweet. <3

  5. says

    You are so awesome Christina. It is amazing what you have accomplished in just 3 years. I really look up to you and you are a wonderful role model.
    I personally really relate to the rejection as luck lesson because I am learning that myself at the moment. Things don’t always go as planned, but in the end we are much better for the difficulties we face.
    Keep on doing what you’re doing!
    Megan recently posted…Monday must-reads!My Profile

  6. says

    Yes yes yes. Loved this so much. Especially the last one. I totally do that too, and am really trying to be better about it. Happy blogiversary! It is amazing what you have accomplished in three years – I can’t wait to see what happens in year 4.

  7. says

    happy 3rd birthday!!! i can relate to pretty much of all this here to a certain extent..and all the joys/stress/money – only a blogger can understand because we are sooo deep into it. i hope this blogging journey will continue to take you very far terms of your career and as well as personal life. it really changes your perspectives and priorities in life!
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health recently posted…Fort Worth Food & Fitness Events in OctoberMy Profile

  8. says

    Christina, you have grown so much and worked so hard in HOURS and days and months of years of hard work, and it has paid off. I love how you took the lessons from being hated on and turned it into wanting to and being kind to others. And you have so many talents; they literally just shine through this blog. I feel really privileged to be a part of watching you do it and humbled to learn from other bloggers like you. KEEP doing your thang! :)
    Emily recently posted…My Struggles with Real Humility and False ModestyMy Profile

  9. says

    Not playing the comparison game hit me right *here*. I try not to do it, but it happens sometimes, wah. I’m going to remember what you said about reminding ourselves that they worked REALLY hard to get where they are now, and I can do the same! XOXO

  10. says

    Christina,

    I just came across this post, and I just wanted to tell you how inspiring it was to read! I am a new blogger and reading all these things has made me feel like there is purpose in all the time and effort I have put in so far. I can’t wait to improve and learn new skills (ie photography) and just enjoy what I’m doing. Your blog is such a great resource and community and I just wanted to let you know that I think that. :)

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