By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
People often give up on their dreams because they don't see success right off the bat. Today marks 1 year since I launched Sanditepride.com and I've invested over $2000 thus far. I didn't get sponsorship on day 1, or month 1, or even quarter 1.
But what I did do is reach more than 30,000 people this past year. That's just individual devices. Last month alone I had more than 20,000 views. When I started I barely broke 400 in the first three months.
I'm still a long way from where I want to be, but I've met a lot of incredible people who have been so supportive to me along the way. That's why I do this, for the people. I love people, I love to hear and tell their stories and see them succeed and celebrate their success.
My team and I have seen five straight months of growth and it hasn't been easy. It's been the furthest thing from easy. I put in more than 60 hours a week on a slow week. I got 4 hours of sleep Friday night in a Super 8 motel in Oklahoma City where there were people fighting in the street, drinking in the parking lot, and I had to call the cops after midnight due to gunshots.
I'm extremely shy and yet I have to force myself weekly to talk to people I'm intimidated by. I have diagnosed anticipatory social anxiety and depression. Every time I go into public I'm scared I'm going to offend somebody. That people won't like me. And it's not a baseless fear. I've had complete strangers message me to tell me that nobody takes me seriously as a writer. That I'm a disgrace. People can be cruel. Are they just mean-natured? Or acting out of some insecurities of their own? That's not for me to decide. But that kind of stuff tears at you. You wonder if you'll ever amount to anything. You wonder if your friends and family are just humoring you, and if you're really just a big joke. You think about quitting. It's not a passing thought. It haunts you.
But I can't quit writing. It's not in me. It is me. I am a writer. I've been doing it since I was a small child. It's the only thing in me that's ever persisted. Everyone goes through phases. At points I wanted to be a veterinarian, a director, an airborne ranger--live a life filled with danger. But all of that passed, and writing always persisted.
And so I've chosen to persist, come what may. Because to leave my dreams within my pillow would be something I could never live with. Because the lows I hit when people tear me down are nothing compared to the low I would live in were I to resign myself to a regular 8-5 job building someone else's vision instead of my own. And the lows are nothing compared to the highs.
The highs of hearing a parent tell you how excited their kid was when they saw an article you wrote about them. The highs of having complete strangers talk to you at the super market like you're old friends because they read your articles every week. The highs of seeing people succeed, from athletes at State Championships to singers on American Idol. Their joy is my joy, their heartbreak is my heartbreak. In the ministry I considered every teen who walked through the doors to be "one of my kids." That attitude has carried over into this new venture. Every young person I have covered means more to me than they'll ever know. Even the one's I've only known from afar, and never met.
I dream with them, and hope that I may use my dream to further theirs.
So I say to you, don't give up on your dreams. There will be better athletes. There will be better photographers, better singers, better actors. But the talents and passions that God has put on your heart are there for a reason. Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not good enough. Don't let someone else's insecurities contribute to your own. People who have failed to fight for their dreams like to stand in the way of other dreamers. Fight for your dreams, don't become another cynical bystander who lets life happen to them instead of making this life their own.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” --Howard Thurman