I didn’t realize, when I started this blog, that I had a confidence issue. And then I started writing…

I geek out a little bit over data. It’s part of what I do every day at work. When a client posts new content, or starts an email campaign, I’m always excited to see what kind of traffic it generates. How many people opened the email? How many people clicked through to visit the website? How many likes, shares, claps, or comments did their post generate? How much did their subscriber or follower list grow?

The data is the data. I’ve never taken it personal, because it never was… until I started writing my own blog, and started sharing content on social.

Then, everything got personal. Real personal.

There is a leap that you take when you start to place content out into the world. Whether you’re sharing through a blog, a podcast, YouTube, LinkedIn, an Instagram account, or even public speaking or training… it doesn’t matter. The moment you begin sharing, you get real vulnerable. There’s no way around it.

You’re taking that leap, and putting more of “you” into the world. The more authentic and transparent you get, the more dangerous it feels. The more you share the real struggles and challenges, and not the successes and wins, the more guts it takes.

You are exposed, and begin to question things…

What if I’m the only one? What if no one likes it? What if they disagree with me? What if they think I’m an idiot?

The “what-if’s” kick into high gear very quickly.They’re really just fears in disguise – the negative voices in your head that are constantly trying to hold you back. You may not have them. I do. I have lots of them.

For me, it seemed like the best way to shut down the “what-if’s” was to battle them with data. The numbers would affirm that I’m doing good. I could use those to squash my fears. So with that in mind, I spent time after each blog and post trying to track my success. I jumped back to the “how many” questions I shared earlier. 

How many opens… How many likes… How many shares… How many new subscribers… How many claps… How many comments…

It was brutal and exhausting. The growth of the blog was slow. Sometimes the posts that I loved fell flat. Sometimes only one or two people engaged. All the metrics I’ve used to measure other people’s success were now beating me down.

I thought I was so good that this whole Depth Not Width movement was just going to catch fire. I was going to spark it, and we would light up the world with this thing. With all the negative noise in the world, people would flock to this. 

After a few months I was ready to pack it up. This was a dumb idea. Not worth my time. A complete waste.

And then I realized something important that changed literally everything…

When we put ourselves out into the world, we need to measure based on quality, not quantity.

I’m not getting buried in hundreds of likes, comments, and shares, but each week I end up hearing from one of you who tells me, “That’s exactly what I needed to hear today.” Someone else emails me and says, “I shared that last post with my whole team – thank you!” I get the comment from one of you on Instagram that says, “What a great reminder…”

Those notes fill me up and make the investment into creating this blog completely worth it. Quality beats quantity every day. 

The Takeaway

This week I have two takeaways to share. First, take the risk and quick letting the “what if” questions hold you back. Second, quit measuring your impact (and your self worth) based on the likes, shares, claps, and comments. Measure it based on the quality of the interactions you’re creating, and your ability to impact the world one person at a time. We all have the ability to do that, whether we’re writing a blog or showing up at work or grabbing coffee with a friend. Embrace quality over quantity and the rest will work itself out.