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Is Your Body Image Secretly Crushing Your Blogging Career?


Raise your hands: Who wants to be an uber successful content creator?

I am going to go wild and guess your hand shot up like a rocket. Yours and those of thousands of other content creators in the online business world.

Competition? You bet.

In order to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to have a rock solid foundation of knowing who you are.

You have to be transparent, authentic and, well, you. Flaws and all.

Blog superstars like Jon Morrow show us clearly that annihilating inhibitions and writing from the heart will shine a light on your blog, your podcast or your online business where others may forever stay in the dark.

That’s easier said than done though.

Portraying emotions or admitting to being human and anything but perfect takes a lot of courage and an intimate, loving relationship with yourself and your body.

Yes, that’s right, your body image plays an essential role in your entire online content strategy and your future success.

I learned that lesson the hard way.

I went from hating my body and being a nobody to loving my body and being, well, a somebody: a well-respected and well-known writer and podcaster.

My life had changed at the age of 10. I had developed anorexia nervosa to somehow deal with my psycho brother. I began to obsess over my weight, my body and ran down the road to caloric hell.

I was terribly ashamed of how I looked: my body felt too big, too present, too much. I needed to lose more, be less, become invisible. I needed to be gone.

My work was a picture perfect reflection of my self-hatred. My writing voice sounded stale, hopeless, empty. I wasn’t ready to experiment or take risks. Not even Sherlock Holmes could’ve detected a hint of emotion, vibrance or life in my writing.

At 23, I was a mere skeleton and escaped death by a few weeks.

That’s when I turned everything around: I started therapy, gained weight and stared my biggest fears directly in the eye.

My body turned from being my worst enemy to my best friend. Instead of showering it with hatred, abusing it and killing it, I was now nourishing it, working with it and taking care of it. I opened doors to emotions I thought I had long lost. With every pound I gained, I walked a bit taller and spoke a bit louder. My eyes began to sparkle and my smile returned.

Miraculous, really.

At the same time, another seemingly magical thing happened: my blog started to grow frighteningly fast.

Suddenly women and men from all over the world wrote to me telling me how much my writing touched their hearts and impacted their lives.

I was shocked, confused. I had been writing for years, but never received a single word of praise.

Now, I received hundreds of them every week.

What had changed?

I had let go of my inhibitions. I had begun to write confidently, authentically and without the physical and mental limitations forced upon me by my body. I had tapped into an inner power that transformed my words and portrayed a self-confidence that clearly transported an emotional charge reaching people from Timbuktu to LaPaz.

My writing had begun to truly reflect me.

Readers notice that. They respond to authenticity and vulnerability more than they respond to facts, numbers and lists.

They yearn to get a feel for the person behind the words. They want to have the illusion of reading an email written by a good friend. They want to tune in to a conversation with a buddy and not listen to a bore rattle of stale points, no matter how accurate and thoroughly researched they may be.

In short, they want your raw personality.

By falling in love with your body, you can give them what they want. Instantly.


Let’s start working on improving your body image and your connection with your inner core then.

Today, sit down with a sheet of paper and write down all the limiting, destructive and most intimate thoughts you have about your body.

Are you ashamed of your muffin top? Do you fear people are making fun of your short legs? Do you fire off a round of despicable comments the moment you see your face in a mirror? Are you convinced that your butt has screwed up major business deals? Do you resent your kids because your body has never been the same since you gave birth?

What do you really believe about your body? What are your deepest issues when it comes to your appearance?

Write everything down. Don’t hold back. This exercise is for you.

Prepare yourself for tears, anger and resentment.

Prepare to strip away the false pretension and finally dig up raw feelings again.
This is a powerful exercise that’ll help you access a deep emotional well: a brilliant tool in your content creation work box.

Right after putting down your issues, write the blog post you have been holding off for too long or record that podcast episode you’ve been wanting to do for weeks. You don’t have to hit publish if you’re not ready yet.

If you keep an open mind and slowly chip away the inner restrictions, you will surprise yourself with a fresh, more vulnerable and sincere writing or speaking voice.

The more often you do this exercise, the deeper you dig and the more vulnerable you make yourself, the better your posts will be.

Soon, readers will shower you with love, retweets and likes and your blog or podcast will take off like mine.

Image Credit: Bigstock

The Courage and Confidence to run a Podcast


My podcasting work at the Edinburgh Fringe in the last fortnight has led me to think about what qualities are useful in podcasting and social media content creation. And I think I need to add another one to the list.

I just can’t make up my mind if it should be courage or confidence.

Let’s backtrack slightly. I’m doing a daily podcast from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (2500 different shows over three and a half weeks). Each show is about forty minutes long, and follows a standard chat show format of jokey opening, news and recommendations, followed by three long interviews and some music to finish.

Each interview needs around 30 minutes of time in my diary (if I’m being generous) plus an hour beforehand to see the show, then some editing on top of that, and compile the final podcast each morning. It’s a busy schedule, but one that I’ve fine tuned over the years. The only potential wrinkle is that there is very little room for a second take if something is missed.

And that’s where the confidence comes in. Because when you have one shot at getting all your material recorded; when you have one shot at an interview; when you only have the time to do one take of the morning news bulletin or you irrevocably screw up the schedule for the rest of the day; you need to have confidence in yourself that your equipment will work, you can switch it on, start recording, and simply go for it.

I love the luxury of working at home in my studio, with the ability to retake a line, section or even the whole podcast, but at the same time there’s a certain daredevil in my psche that thrives in a high pressure environment that allows no mistakes whatsoever.

I know I can do it. I know it makes for a better podcast. That’s what I mean about confidence.

But it’s also courage to take chances, to go down an interview route where the outcome is unclear, because so much can change. Especially when interviewing up to 15 comics a day in a five hour window, it’s impossible to do the sort of preparation that I would do for a weekly 30 minute interview podcast with one guest. There’s a press release from their PR, some scribbled notes from their wikipedia page and website biography in my notebook, and that’s it. Open the microphone, welcome them to the show, and simply see what happens.

That’s what I mean by courage.

It’s a high wire balancing act that I do as often as I can. Anyone who’s done live TV or radio beyond spinning discs and introducing the bands will know exactly what I mean. There’s an energy that can’t be replicated in a studio or with a safety net, and I’d encourage everyone to take off the stabilizers and find out if you can balance the podcasting bicycle on your own.

Image Attribution: Vikki Spence

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