by: E.B. Johnson
I think it’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to seeing the backend of 2020. It’s been a rough year full of emotional ups and downs, and all kinds of new tensions and adversities that some had never experienced before. The new year offers us a chance to start over or set powerful new goals in our lives. When it comes to setting these goals, though, I’m going big and I’m not looking back.
You see, I’ve made the decision to become the top self-help writer on Medium by the end of 2021. Why? It’s nothing personal, I just know that I have a really strong message that is meant to help a lot of people. That’s because self-help — truly helping the individual— transcends all the stereotypes and cliches we like to mold into clickbait titles. I’m going to be the top self-help writer on Medium not just because I’ve got a good message, though. I’ve got the plans and willpower to back it up.
My goal is a pretty modest one.
While you might be thinking that this goal is a ridiculous one, when you look at the bigger picture you may understand just how realistic it is. Medium is a massive platform, with millions of users around the globe and connections with some of the biggest names in any industry you can think of.
All that being considered, though, it’s just one platform; one avenue of possibility through which I can reach people that need my content the most — people who are hurting and looking for a way to heal.
My goal is modest. I’m not declaring my intentions to be on Oprah’s book list by the end of the year. I’m not promising to change the world or heal millions of people who have been struggling their whole lives. I’m under no delusions when it comes to the scope of my work or my ability, and that’s why I know I have what it takes to make it to the top of Medium.
Why I know I have what it takes to get to the top.
To me, this isn’t some fever dream. It’s a very real goal that I’m going to pursue with the full extent of my being. I believe in myself, and that’s something that’s taken a long time to build. Beyond that, I know I have the right message and I know that I have something that can really improve the lives of people who are suffering.
I’ve got the right message
Writing for Medium over (what is almost) the last 2 years has transformed the way I write. Rather than going for the lowest common denominator that adds up to big views, I’ve learned how to create genuinely helpful content that changes people’s minds and hearts. My voice has developed in leaps and bounds and I’ve been able to realize — through my writing — that when it all comes down to it, all we really want is to be seen, valued, and loved for who we are.
I’ve got the right intentions
I don’t think it’s possible to separate the self-help genre from intention as a writer. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into creating content in this space. You’re playing with people’s hearts, and you’re playing with their minds as well. You have to be careful what you preach and ensure that it’s both medically and morally sound. I know that I have the right intentions, because (to me) the most important thing about my work is the power that it has to help people find their own path to freedom.
I’ve got the right work ethic
Intentions and message aside, being a successful anything requires that we have the right work ethic. This knowledge doesn’t appear out of thin air. I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself and receiving qualifications that help me to help my readers. I spend 6–8 hours writing every day, and then another 2–3 researching, organizing, and looking for new opportunities. Not only do I have the skill and the heart to do this…I’ve got the right work ethic too. No days off.
I’ve built myself an audience
Although it’s modest, I’ve been able to build a supportive and loyal following here on Medium and across my social media platforms. This audience has allowed me to develop my message, and they even provide me with ideas and feedback that have improved my writing style in leaps and bounds. Thanks to these readers, I’ve realized that I do have a voice and I’ve realized that it has the power to really change things for some.
I’ve failed enough to get it
Medium was not my first blogging rodeo. I’ve been blogging and experimenting with things like affiliate marketing since 2016 or so. It’s hard work. It takes so much to figure out an idea and then express it. All of that pales in comparison, though, to finding the right audience and the right niche in which you can give people the help they need. I’ve gotten it wrong enough to know how to do it better this time. From eBooks to motivational printouts— I’ve done it enough to know what doesn’t work.
I’ve invested in learning how
My Medium platform has become a very serious affair to me, and it’s created a career that I take extremely seriously. As I saw my readers and opportunities increasing, I knew that it wouldn’t long until I was out of my depth. So I invested in education. I’m nearly done with a psychology diploma. I recently finished a life coaching certification, and a 400 hour master-certification in NLP. On top of that, I spend hours studying other successful Medium writers each day. How did they do it? How do they continue to thrive? It adds up.
I believe in myself
Perhaps the biggest reason that I know I am capable of becoming the top self-help writer on Medium is my belief in self. It’s been a long road to get here, but I’ve finally come to accept my skills and my abilities in this life. I am strong. I have overcome so much hardship in this life and it has made me who I am today. Adversities and setbacks can’t stop me. I’m stronger than that, and I know I have what it takes to help others transform their lives in the same way.
How I plan on getting there.
All of those beliefs and all of those big words are nothing without action, though. If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that manifesting what you want requires a combination of borderline-delusional belief, and the action and willpower to back it up. I’m not just saying I’m heading to the top of the self-help pile. I have a plan to get there.
1. Building a routine which works
My first step in getting to where I want to be has been creating a writing and life routine that works. I am not someone who does particularly well with executive function, so this has been a challenge for me at times. Little-by-little, though, the pieces are falling into place and I’m starting to see how much more powerful my workday can be when lean into a routine which minimizes the distractions and boosts my ability to create.
Don’t worry — you’re not going to get any sappy “wake up at 4AM and have a smoothie” advice from me. I live with a chronic illness called Endometriosis, so that means I’m limited physically. As such, I’ve had to build a routine that incorporates this. I wake up, get washed, sit down with a mindfulness planner and set myself up for the day. Then, I move on to my day planner and take a quick look over the tasks that have to be tackled.
All of this allows me to calmly finish my morning routine (which includes a quick walk of the pup), before turning up the tunes and locking myself away for a day of brainstorming, writing, and reaching out to readers who ask for my help. I close out with a review of what’s coming the next day and then shut down with some self-care or a brief window of research. I also like to wind down with brainteasers and active “cool-downs” like second language practice.
2. Staying focused on my intentions
My routine is still developing, but it tightens up and gets better every day. Routine is only a part of the puzzle, though, and it’s nothing without intentions. You can’t be a writer for money and fame, especially not on Medium. And that’s not how I plan on getting to the top, anyway. Believe it or not, my primary aim is to help people avoid the suffering I used to put myself through every day. And it’s precisely this intention which allows me to keep going when things are tough.
Every morning, I center myself around my intentions as the focus of the day. For me this happens with a mindfulness planner, which allows me to zero in on what’s going on with both my body and my mind, before looking outward at how I want to act and react in regards to the world around me.
Intentions will get you everywhere. They don’t just keep me going — my readers can feel them too. People know when what you’re selling them is crap. They can also tell when you’ve genuinely been through an experience and when you’re just selling them an Amazon link. Sure, I love the stability and the opportunity that Medium has provided, but (again) I’m not delusional. I owe everything to my readers, and I genuinely want them to find happiness.
3. Looking for help rather than hurt
Existing on the internet (especially as a woman) is a challenging experience. No matter what you have to say, someone is going to have something negative to say about it, or a differing of opinion. That’s just the world we live in right now. If I focused on all the negative and nasty comments I’ve gotten over the years, I’d never have the courage to leave the house. I’d never write another article again.
I choose to focus on the positive feedback that I get on my work. A long time ago, I made a commitment to listening to the positives that I’m getting, rather than the negatives which keep me stuck in fear. Hurt people hurt people, and nasty attacks are always a projection of underlying insecurity.
Focusing on the people that I help encourages me to help more people. It’s also allowed me to come up with new ideas and pursue avenues of personal development that have helped me mentally and emotionally on my own journey toward healing. Writing about healthy and toxic relationships, family trauma — it’s changed my life. I’ve been able to close the door on my own toxic past, and that’s been such a beautiful thing.
4. Expanding my overall options
While it may seem like a bit of a paradox, I know that writing strictly on Medium won’t allow me to climb to the top of self-help. I need to contribute more to my readers, and they deserve that. I need to prove that I’m not just a flash in the pan. And, again, that’s something that I know I have the power to tackle. That’s why a part of my plan is expanding my overall options and the avenues through which I am able to reach readers.
Next year, I’ll be offering a number of new ways to further your personal development journey. In January, I’m launch a series of online courses, which include relationship deep dives you can take with your partners, and trauma identification that can empower you to reach out and get help.
Beyond the online courses, I’ll also be releasing a series of books (available both in eBook and paperback formats) starting with a relationship handbook which helps you to reshape the way you see healthy partnerships and intimacy. I’m also going to keep writing for publications across Medium and reaching out to those in need through a new selection of coaching services which will be going live in Spring of 2021.
5. Considering new opportunities
Self-made success stories don’t happen by accident. Those who have done big things by their own power do it by creating opportunities for themselves. I’ve realized that, and I’m determined to create those same opportunities for not only myself, but my readers too. That means thinking outside of the box, though, and doubling down on my investment in self. It’s time to take some calculated risks, and that just so happens to be something that I’m good at.
I was recently accepted at News Break as a creator. While I haven’t contributed anything yet, I’m looking forward to seeing how it helps me expand my reach. If I’m lucky, maybe I will find some new readers who can explore my content on Medium or find solace in one of my books.
I’m not limiting myself to just one platform (even if it’s the one I plan to succeed on), however. There’s half-a-dozen other approaches which I’m even now preparing to dive into, which include but aren’t limited to video content, podcasts, traditional publishing, and more. I’m considering all of these opportunities because Medium has given me the power to do it. And I consider all of these as a way to build what I have here on this platform. Thanks to this platform, I’m looking forward to the future and I plan on sticking around and going as far as I can.
Putting it all together…
The year is drawing to a close and everyone is beginning to make their goals timidly for 2021, but I am aiming big on Medium and I’m going all in. I want to become the top self-help writer on the platform, and I know I have the skill and the heart to do it. All of that intangible stuff will only get you halfway there, though. There has to be a plan of action behind it, and I think that I’ve built one that’s going to work.
Although it’s still in development, I’m building a work / life routine that works for me. This routine eases the pressure and allows me to stay organized and on top of my schedule and the tasks I need to accomplish next. Beyond that, I’ve learned to focus on my intentions. There’s a lot of nastiness out there on the internet, but my intentions allow me to stay motivated when the heat is up. I got into this wanting to help people and to help myself heal emotionally. That’s exactly what I’ve done and what I continue to do. I’m choosing to focus on the good and the positive side of my work, and the knowledge that I’m making a difference. I’m also expanding my options and creating new opportunities by looking outside of Medium in order to grow what I have right here; on what I consider to be my home on the internet.