The Dirt is Better than the Platform

I about named this post “How to lose over 200 email subscribers in 30 days…”

A few years ago, I was addicted to figuring out how to “build a platform”, “monetize” my words, “create courses for your tribe” and other sometimes well-intentioned nonsense.

Guys (and girls) create compelling content, grow a big following and then sell thousand dollar courses to promise you the same thing.

For a not very self-aware guy, who was projecting an image he wanted to be true but wasn’t fully true, the game was intoxicating.

I was on some podcasts, I got asked to speak at events, I had some random agent type people talking to me about books. I had a famous author tell me one of my posts was awesome.

I was making it. Or so I thought.

The narcotic as I’ve mentioned here before recently was the audience size, the reach, the analytics, the numbers.

That drug still is tempting, I won’t lie.

But as my “platform” was building, my life was crumbling.

The anonymous crowd got the best parts of me, and the 6 people in front of me got the leftovers.

Worse actually, at times I used them as props to help me reach some magical land of internet fame.


So the tips and tricks and lists and efforts to build up an email list (because that was what all the major bloggers said was the key to fame and fortune) worked.

The numbers kept going up.

And after analyzing what kind of words made the numbers go up, I’d figure out ways to write more stuff like that.

Well, when my life fell apart, my ego fell with it, and I went dark for a couple years.

I needed to.

To focus on my healing. To focus on my marriage. To find out who I was becoming.

To be clear, I’m still an anxious mess many days. We’re still walking a long road of healing. And I have far more questions than answers.

But now, the articles are a bit different.

I’m not giving you unsolicited advice on how to be a better anything.

I’m not just showing you the positive side of things (which there still are so many of but they’re about all I used to see).

And in that, many people on my email list hit the unsubscribe button (and I’ll be OK if you do too).

A few years ago, I would have freaked out. Now Brooke and I kind of smile each time someone falls off the list.

I hate to see them go of course, but it’s a reminder that they were probably attracted to the projected version of me, the platform-builder.

Now, as a good friend of mine said, “the words can be a gift from you, not a way to make a living…”

When something breaks, it makes way for something else to emerge.

When something dies, it opens up for something else to be born.

If you’re here hoping for rainbows and sunshine, I’ll give you that at times. But in this season, I’ve been exposed to much more of the heavy stuff.

So instead of being up on some platform, I’m down here in the soil. Being anxious. Being in love. Being afraid. Being hopeful. Being a little more human.

Maybe the way up, is down. And the way down, is up.

I’m glad I fell from that damn platform. It’s a lot more real down here in the dirt.

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