If you have ever struggled with feeling unworthy or not-good-enough, you're not alone. If you've ever been overly confident, maybe even conceited, you're not alone. I've teetered between both sides of the self-esteem spectrum, and finally found my place, somewhere in the middle. I believe that's the place where I have my wisest thoughts and moments. I was very comfortable in this place before becoming a Huffington Post blogger. Not long after receiving my dream-come-true login credentials, I began feeling unworthy, again.
I intentionally surround myself with great people. That's especially true in my business life. By doing so, I learn so much from others, and have been inspired beyond my own imagination. I could make an infinite list of reasons why keeping great company is a wise choice and my most valuable piece of advice to anyone who aspires to be great, at anything. People talk about the importance of being around successful people all the time. What they don't talk about, is how intimidating that can be. It can even make you feel, unworthy.
As soon as I began announcing my newly achieved goal of becoming a Huffington Post blogger, friends and strangers began contacting me with endless questions, and requests to know my secret. I didn't want to share my secret. I didn't want to tell anyone. Sometimes, I felt like I had to, though. That wasn't because I was proud. It was because I felt guilty, unworthy, not-good-enough, and I didn't want to pretend that I had done something particularly special to achieve my goal. I went back to feeling like everyone else deserves it more than I do. The stories from people who said they'd been trying to get onto Huffington Post for years actually kept me up a few nights. The people who secretly wondered (doubted) what was so special about me, affected my own mindset. It got me wondering (doubting) the same.
The truth is, I did do something special! I did something that I imagine, very few other people did. In fact, I often do things that most other people don't and won't. That's what makes me special. I understand, now. I am special. What I also understand, is that just because I'm special, doesn't mean you're not, and vice-versa. I really need you to understand this, because it's the foundation of what I'm going to share with you. I feel like I have to share some tips before I tell you my true secret about getting myself on Huffington Post as a contributor. I can't really suggest that you do what I did. That's not to say it won't work for you, but it might not, so you definitely need a back-up plan. The tips I'm about to share can change your entire life, if you let them. They could take you on a journey to set goals beyond your expectations, exceed them, and even discover dreams you never knew you had. It took me a while to realize that living by these tips was the real reason I became a Huffington Post blogger. Finally, I am proud of my story and ready to share it with the rest of the world.
6 Tips that will change your life and might even help you get onto Huffington Post as a contributor.
(A)SK - questions and ask for opinions, advice, help, constructive-criticism, opportunities. Just ask and don't be afraid to ask the wrong question, or too many questions. You might. That's okay. Ask yourself about your strengths, weaknesses, progress, and setbacks. Don't be afraid of rejection. If you are afraid, ask anyway. There are no answers in life without first asking the questions.
(L)ISTEN - to what others have to say. That doesn't mean you have to agree. Listening is a learned skill. Personally, I'm an idea person and a talker! I'm always reminding myself to listen. This creates the opportunity to ask more questions; the ones you didn't even know you should be asking.
(I)NCREASE - your skills, vocabulary, network, self-confidence, and awareness. Increase your creativity and learn to do more with whatever you already have, whether in regards to dinner, finances, knowledge, or time. Increase your happiness.
(C)HALLENGE - yourself and those around you. Try something new. Challenge your comfort zone and get beyond it. Don't settle. Try to exceed your own expectations. Be an innovator and challenge the norm. Wholly and separately, challenge your mind, body, and soul.
(I)DENTIFY - specific problems and specific actions, rather than just acknowledging that problems exist. Identify in detail things that make you happy, stressed, excited, and inspired. Identify exceptional qualities and talents in others and learn from them. Who we are is constantly evolving. We transition through many roles in our lives. Identify your own Name Acronym that can become a mantra for what you do, rather than just who you are, were, or want to become. In doing so, you will remain consistent, no matter what role you are in at any given time in your life.
(A)CCEPT - your failures and successes. Accept help. Accept friendship. Accept love. Accept insight. Accept feedback. Accept not only those who are like you, but especially those who are not. Accept responsibility. Accept opportunity. Accept happiness. Accept the gift of time, and take some for yourself.
I was at my first full-length Blogger Conference and Arianna Huffington was a keynote speaker. During her session, she told the audience to feel free to reach out to her, and email her directly. I don't know how many people believed that she meant it, but I did. I believed her. So, that's what I did. I emailed Arianna directly and asked her if I could be a contributor. Arianna responded with these words:
Alicia, thank you so much for thinking of us. We would love to feature your voice on HuffPost about being a "24/7 mom." I'm ccing our Senior Lifestyle Blog Editor so you can send her your post, photo, and bio directly. All the best, Arianna
This response was in October 2014. The Editor Arianna mentioned never responded, even after I emailed her several times. I felt defeated. Almost a year went by before I decided to try again. In September 2015, I emailed Arianna directly again, within the original email thread from the previous year. Again, Arianna responded, with these words:
Many thanks for writing, dear Alicia. Sadly, is no longer with HuffPost. However, we would love to feature your voice on HuffPost. I've forwarded your email to our blog team to send you an invite to blog on our site. All the best, Arianna
And that is exactly how I became a Huffington Post blogger.
I am special. Remember, I said that earlier? As much as I tend to minimize my journey (or lack thereof) to becoming a Huffington Post blogger, it really was because of my Name Acronym mantra. I increased my network. I listened closely to Arianna's words. I accepted her offer to reach out to her. I challenged myself to take a risk. I identified my strengths and why I thought they would be an asset as a Huffington Post blogger. Then, I asked for the opportunity, more than once. I'm not suggesting that you email Arianna directly, but who says you can't? If you have contacted one of the Editors and were not given the opportunity you were hoping for, contact someone else. Keep trying. Don't be afraid. If your repeated efforts still don't get you the desired results, try another approach. Don't say no to yourself before giving Huffington Post the chance to finally say, YES!
Oh, and always remember, sharing is caring! Really... if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends! The worst you can say is no, but I wouldn't be A-L-I-C-I-A if I didn't ask.