One Year Anniversary: Lessons Learned
One year ago, today, I launched into uncharted waters. I knew little, to nothing, about website creation, was not much of a social media fan and I was a head strong introvert who's life story and experiences were only to be shared among very close family and friends. Skepticism and fear were my closest friends whenever I thought about exploring this option and moving towards being an intro-extrovert. Anxiety and fear overruled my ability to think at times because I never knew how this would be received by the world at large; whether or not what I was doing was making sense and whether or not I wanted my life to be this open.
I struggled with what I really and truly wanted my website to portray; there were so many ideas floating through my head but I didn't know how to make them come together cohesively. And frankly, what you hear and see around you sometimes doesn't help either. The noises around you make you loose focus; you keep hearing and seeing things like: oh you must have one single focus for your website, it must be on a particular topic, your brand must signify one thing - either you're a marketer, a coach, a trainer, a writer, an accountant etc. It must be 'A Thing - One Thing.'
Well. Here I am, a year later, and it's not just 'A Thing-One Thing.' It's a multi-faceted website, because that is WHO I AM. I am one person with multiple talents, loves, likes, experiences and expressions. I am not cut to fit the regular mold. I can be shy one minute, outspoken the next; I can be strong yet very weak in the same situation; happy and sad all at once; I can praise you with the same breathe I use to cuss you out. Yup. THAT'S ME. MULTIFACETED, MULTI-TALENTED, DEON CECILE (I should really thank my mother for this name, cause I really like it).
As I stand at this crossroads of my journey, still trying to figure my way through these, sometimes, murky waters; slowly finding my path to greater fulfillment; redefining my purpose and the purpose of my website and becoming more open to the thought of sharing publicly, I find myself in a very reflective mood. So much has happened in this past year; so many lessons have been learned; many tears of joy, happiness and sadness have been shed; new talents have emerged and I have decided to embrace who I am wholeheartedly - THE MULTIFACETED, MULTI-TALENTED, DEON CECILE.
What has this year been like and the lessons learned
We all have a story to tell and we must be willing to share it, openly, honestly and often. This is one of the greatest lessons I have learned thus far. Trust me, you will have people who tell you otherwise, but it is up to YOU to decide what you want to share and how YOU want to share it. You're writing style may not be for everyone, but there will be that ONE PERSON who your story may have touched, who appreciates what you have written and how you have written it; and for me, that's enough.
Unspeakable Fulfillment & Joy. Starting this website has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done in years. It has pushed me beyond my limits and opened my eyes to so much about me that I never knew. It has made me fall in love with me...the person...the little country girl who was afraid to showcase her talents.
Self-improvement. It has driven me to learn more, to appreciate more, to open my mind and heart to all the boundless possibilities that exist and the things I can do. HECK! I've learned how to create a website from scratch; developed the knack to create awesome graphics; re-introduced myself to photography (a love I've always had); learned how to use Instagram and set up a YouTube channel; improved my selfie skills and even moved from reading 1 book a year to 3-4 books a month since January 2020 all because I created a "Bookaholic" page on the website, dedicated to readers.
Increased Interactions. Believe it or not, for someone who has been a trainer, this journey has taught me how to be more conversant, especially with strangers and that right there folks is a biggie for me.
Listen to Everything BUT filter thoroughly. Everybody has an opinion. Everyone wants to decide the look and feel of your design, what you write about, your style and tone of writing, how often you need to make a post or write a story, what you should post, how you look in your photos, what your offerings should be, basically the whole nine yards. People will always have an opinion. Listen carefully, take them all into consideration, review carefully, filter thoroughly; then and only then apply what is applicable.
There's a difference in thinking vs writing about a topic. Ooooo boy. This right here...LOL. I have about 50 topics in draft (my parking lot). Some only have a one line. Have you ever heard the terms, 'si mi and come live wid mi a two different things,' or 'night and day,' or 'cheese to chalk'? Yup, same thing applies here. You can have a million and one thoughts and not one of them amount to one sensible post. Or you can have a thought you think is totally absurd and guess what, that's the one people gravitate to most.
Don't Wait. If you have an idea or thought write it down immediately or do a voice note to yourself. As soon as you get the opportunity, jump on it; procrastination is a bummer.
Expect constant changes. Unless you are some super genius that knows it all and can do everything perfectly, in the right time, then there is going to be constant changes to your concept, product/service offerings, content and creativity etc. Don't stress over it, just get it done.
Set deadlines. It is important otherwise you will get nothing done. Your first thoughts are going to be, "oh this is just my little website I will finish it tomorrow," and then tomorrow just never comes. I learned that I have to treat this just like my regular 9-5, setting schedules and deadlines; carving out that time, either early in the morning, late nights or on weekends, to get things done.
Your website is the least tool in your "traffic" arsenal. Gosh, I was so averse to social media before, but now I know that they do serve their purpose and can be the source that drives traffic to your website. You don't have to be on all of them, start with one first, see how that works for you and then, if you need to, you can branch out into others.
Questions I now ask myself
Has it been easy? Heck NO! Learning so many things all at once while trying to create content, design and keep it real is a constant challenge. But you learn to roll with the punches and keep going.
Has it been worth it? Heaven YES!
Would you change anything? Yes. I would have made sure I had a proper plan in place and given myself more time to develop the concept before I launched with my one article, an intro and no structure.
Let's take a walk down memory lane