While blogging is filled with so many talented, driven and intelligent women, you’ll also find that, like any other industry, it has its fair share of competitiveness and superficiality. It can be tough to find out that someone you’ve admired for such a long time, because of their blog or their business, might not actually be the type of person that you want to look up to. I’ve had experiences like this at different times throughout my blogging career, and it’s left me feeling really down on myself and even my brand. But now that I’m getting older, and really focusing on what’s important to me in life, I’ve learned that one of the best things you can do to make your life better is surround yourself with people who build you up, and have a positive impact on your life.
How do you know when someone is sincere?
Sincerity is the number one quality I look for in a friend, or role model. The bloggers that I admire most are not only fashionable, but embody positivity in many aspects of their lives, and do so in a way that is genuine and sincere. It’s usually simple to see when someone is more interested in selling you a product, rather than building a community.
Like any other relationship in your life, listening is an important quality. People who sincerely care about you as a person will make it a point to ask how you’re doing and, more importantly, they will listen to the response. They will be genuinely interested in the response, instead of using the conversation as a way to talk about themselves or their own experiences.
They’re willing to help you, even if they get nothing out of it.
Blogging is full of learning experiences, and it’s nearly impossible to learn how to navigate through it on your own. If you do, you’ll go crazy. Instead, we often need to reach out to others who have been in our shoes, maybe someone who tried that new graphic or affiliate program, or even something more personal–like someone who experienced a similar rut.
When you reach out to someone for help, it’s those who expect nothing in return–who just help for the sake of helping–that I look up to and admire. Those are the people that, not only do I want to surround myself with, but also those that I want to emulate. The I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine approach? Not so much.
They’re always cheering others on.
Possibly the most important, to me, is finding women in the blogging community who cheer others on. I love to see bloggers sharing posts because they truly enjoy them, or going out of their way to leave a meaningful and thoughtful comment (something I am admittedly terrible about). Buildings others up, and cheering on their successes, creates a better and more accepting community for everyone. On the contrary, introducing competition and criticalness weakens the platform for everyone.
What do you do about the people who aren’t?
No matter how people in the industry treat you, the best thing you can do is be kind and polite. Or, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re in a group setting, and the discussion turns to criticism of another, feel free to politely excuse yourself and exit the situation if you can. One thing is for sure: taking part in negative discussions at the expense of another will never make you feel better about yourself or your work.
Do not take it personally when they don’t reciprocate your kindness.
There’s this quote that I’ve always loved, “If you make it plain that you like people, they have a hard time resisting liking you back.” In my experience, most times, if you’re polite to others and treat them with respect, you’ll receive the same treatment in return. There are those times, at work and in life, however, where no matter what you do, you just run into a person who seems to always make it a point to make others feel bad. If that happens, know that it’s not you and don’t take it personally. Instead…
Allow yourself to walk away.
I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself only with people who genuinely build you up, people who make you a better person, push you to try things outside of your comfort zone, or who support you when you’re nervous about trying something new. If you find that is not the case, and that being around a certain person actually leaves you feeling depressed or insecure, then allow yourself to create distance. There is nothing wrong with putting space between yourself and negativity.
Remember, you’re in control of the way you let others make you feel, and the best thing you can do for yourself and your business is to choose your role models and peers wisely. You are a direct reflection of those you surround yourself with, don’t set yourself up for anything less than the best!
Photo credit: Jemima Kirke