I was in class yesterday, one of my communications courses, and when I entered the room I noticed some random guy sitting next to my professor. After I thought for a few minutes, with an apparent look of puzzlement on my face, I remembered that we were having a guest speaker. Mike Sullivan was his name. In addition to being some big marketing guy at Fisher Price, Mr. Sullivan runs a wickedly successful sports blog. He was, by all accounts, the most successful blogger that I have ever met.
So there I sat, eager to absorb any bits of information or industry secrets that would allow my blog to be as fantastic as Mr. Sullivan’s
He introduced himself, told the class what he did, all that sorta stuff. Pretty standard introduction. He seemed like a cool guy, easy-going and very laid back. I was enjoying his talk, just trying to take as much from it as I could.
A few minutes in, Mr. Sullivan did something that I wasn’t expecting. He asked all of us in the class to tell him what we blog about. He was putting us on the spot, so to speak.
So we went around and said what our blogs were about. This kid wrote about sports, that one about fashion, that one about politics, so on so forth.
Then it was my turn.
I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of “I have a blog called End Kwote. I don’t really know how to describe it because its a lot of things molded into one. But, if I had to describe it, I would say its about life in general and my take on things.” A fair description, at least by my standards. Then the next kid went and a few after that until we had all spoken.
After everyone had given their schpeel, Mr. Sullivan continued on giving his talk. He got in front of the class and said something like “I’m hearing good things. You all seem to like what you’re doing and you all seem to be able to summarize the main idea behind your blogs.” He said a few more words about this and that. Rattled off a few ideas and some advice.
Then, the bomb dropped.
“End Kwote. That concerns me because you said that you really don’t know what your blog is about. You should always be able to summarize your blog, to know the main ideas that drive your writing.”
I was devastated. I was shocked. It was like someone had just shot me through the heart, like some tribesman had just jumped out from behind the podium where my new arch nemesis stood and threw a spear into my chest. I was utterly and deeply offended.
He just dissed my blog.
My blog, the thing that I have put so much damn work into in the past few months that I couldn’t even begin to count the hours. My blog, the site that I have had vicious debates with myself over what theme to use, what my tagline should be, what my “About Me” should say, what features I can create, and what damn color my text should be. Do you have any idea how long it took me to arrange my background and take a picture of it that didn’t look like a complete turd?? My blog, the one that I have worked painstakingly on to gain followers and generate views. I won’t even mention how long I think about content…ok I just mentioned it, but whatever.
My freakin blog, the one that I love more than just about anything. And this guy, someone who, despite his blogging success, I had never heard of, had the nerve to pick my blog to say something negative about. Who the hell are you to say something like that? Who the hell are you to knock my blog? Who the hell are you?
I sat there, in a daze, trying to comprehend what I had heard.
Then, after a while, I came to a slow, and admittedly bitter realization. It wasn’t Mr. Sullivan that was the idiot. It was me.
Yes, he said something bad about my blog. He called me out. In front of an entire class, no less. But, of course, his intention wasn’t to make me feel angry or pissed off. He was just offering some advice. He was just trying to help me out. And when I stopped being a complete ass, I realized that what he said was right.
I should know what my blog is about and I should be able to summarize it. Really, I think I do know what my blog is about. I just did a really crappy job at articulating that. But I didn’t just learn that I needed to be able to summarize my blog. I learned another pretty important lesson: pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.
I rejected Mr. Sullivan’s advice almost immediately. Why? Well, that’s a good question considering it really wasn’t a glaring insult and I should have just accepted it for what it was. But I was too proud to consider that I was doing something wrong. I was too proud to even begin to think that I needed to change something. I was too proud to take the advice of someone who clearly knows what the hell they’re talking about. I was a big, stupid, proud, idiot.
Thankfully, I got past my pride and realized that there are always things that I can be doing to improve myself and my blog. I learned a little bit of humility and told myself that constructive criticism is, well, constructive. I realized that it can be good when people call you it, it can be good when people tell you you’re doing something wrong. That’s how we learn. That’s how we improve.
So what’s the lesson of the day? Don’t let your pride get in the way of improving yourself.
Mike Sullivan really wasn’t a bad guy after all. Actually, he was pretty cool.
If he ever reads this, I would like to thank him. I would like to thank him for both the advice that he gave me, and the lesson that he inadvertently taught me. I’m a better man and a better blogger because of it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
But if you diss my blog again, we’re gonna have problems
…clearly I’m kidding…
Make sure to check out Mike’s blog, thekickisgood.com. Believe it or not, its really awesome.