When I sold StudioPress last month, I realized that I was entering into uncharted waters and that my life moving forward was going to look a whole different. I knew that I was going to experience some emotions, but I didn’t realize just how deep they would run.
There have been plenty of articles covering the event, and of course, social media played its part in spreading the news as well.
I was pleasantly surprised at how positive the reaction has been. Our customers, their customers, and even our competition were very supportive and understanding of the decision I made.
One of the biggest reasons I sold StudioPress was to experience freedom. I wanted to spend time “not online” and “not working” as much, but I haven’t been able to do that so far.
A few years ago, Russell Brand published a brutally honest post on The Guardian called My Life Without Drugs.
Absolutely brilliant writing—the kind that makes me envious, the kind that makes me wish I wrote it. Everything about that was right. The authenticity, the poetry. Just all of it.
There’s one thing he said that I’ve never been able to shake from my mind and I’m pretty sure I know exactly why that is.
“Drugs and alcohol are not my problem, reality is my problem, drugs and alcohol are my solution.”
I have so many reactions that I want to share about what he wrote—some shocking, some embarrassing—most of which you might judge me on. Russell’s authenticity is set from the start, as he opens up immediately:
“The last time I thought about taking heroin was yesterday.”
I don’t know about you, but I formulated an opinion on him and his character quickly. It didn’t take long for me to realize I was calling the kettle black.
It’s easy to look at what he said at face value, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the very least bit convicted. I struggle with many things, and my drug of choice isn’t the same as his—for me, it’s the Internet.
Every minute of every day I feel the need to inject myself with time online. Whether it be email, social media or simply whatever “fix” I can get.
If I’m away from the computer, I go through withdrawal. I find excuses like running upstairs or going to the bathroom to check in. Thankfully, this ubiquitous issue we have has a way of being controlled.
Nonetheless, I need to accept that my identity away from the Internet is sometimes a stranger to me—and it’s critical I recapture who I am. Because, at the moment, I’m currently living with this truth:
The Internet is not my problem, reality is my problem, and the Internet is my solution.
So for now, I’m going to lay down my stone and cut Russell some slack. Because he understands, and is doing the same for me.
Self-doubt and imposter syndrome are two things I have struggled with over the years, and with StudioPress in the rear-view, I am left with open road.
If I’m completely honest, that scares the shit out of me.
Fear is everywhere, my friends. Don’t think just because someone did something successful they aren’t overwhelmed with fear. The fear of failure and the feeling of confidence is perpetually in battle with one another.
Maybe it’s because, for the last ten years, I have been at the forefront of the WordPress community. I created the premium theme market and was the founder of a company that powers more than 600,000 websites.
Because of that exposure, I have been afraid of letting people down. I have been hesitant to speak what I think and act how I feel. And I know just how much of a disservice this censorship is for those of you who follow me.
This reminds me of something I read a while ago that hits so close to home I swear it was written about me. I have to admit it took a while for me to digest:
“That very thing that you noticed them for, that very thing that got them some public recognition and success… it fizzles out. Why is that? Why does the outspoken entrepreneur ‘calm down’ and play it safe?”
There’s plenty I could write in reaction to this, but I’ll save it for another day.
In the meantime, let’s all thank John O’Nolan for getting inside my head and saying all of the things I’ve been wanting to say—and doing it better than me.
Here’s one of the best things you’ll read in a long time: The Price of Success.
. . .