INSPIRATION

Keep Going

I woke up with this message on the tip of my tongue, but I don’t always wake up with something clear on my mind. Sometimes I don’t feel like trying, to be honest.

Keep going. This message is for you, but it’s for me, too. Because there are days that it’s a challenge to do anything that feels productive. I end up wasting my own time, doing things that aren’t important. And I think as entrepreneurs, we don’t talk about this part of the gig nearly as much as we could.

This blog has always been me, always been real, always been the high highs and the low lows. I’ve been writing here for nearly three years, and when first I started it, I did not look at my future in a crystal ball and see my life as it is right now. I didn’t see much of anything. I had just moved back to the States from traveling full time, had taken a job I wasn’t really sure about, and wasn’t clear on any kind of vision. I started this blog on a hunch that people might find these words helpful someday. That hunch never promised me a clear or straight shot to success. But it did prove to be a foundation for something–– I just had to decide on what to build, and then get to building it.

Today, I just want to offer you some encouragement. Whatever it is that you are fighting for, dealing with, working toward: keep going.

Nobody promises you ease or flow, it’s up to you to find it. We don’t get the final product dropped on our front doorstep, or success delivered in a package. It’s up to us to create it, and to struggle and learn with it in the process. And I do mean process–– something that takes time, energy, patience, and a little bit of luck along the way.

If you’re pursuing a path less traveled, be prepared to commit. Be prepared for it to last a lifetime. Be prepared to take your best guess most of the time. Be prepared to sit with yourself throughout your seasons of both loving and hating the journey. Of successes and inevitable failures, both of which you will learn from. I’m telling you this because I’ve been through it.

Part of my work involves writing. There are days I don’t write, and there are days I write and I don’t like any of it. I don’t wake up feeling inspired every day. And there are certainly periods of time when I don’t think my work is very good. That is just how all of this works. There are days when you think you’re a genius. Those are balanced out by the days you think you’re a total failure. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. (and no, you’re not a total failure.)

Do not discredit your journey, today or ever. Look at the big picture. Look at how far you have come. And keep going, because the world needs your innovation, your creativity, your words, your love, your ingenuity.

If there has been any key to my success, it’s that I’ve been doing this consistently without giving up. Hard stuff takes discipline. And creativity is, well, hard. So notice what is working, ditch what isn’t, and pursue what is. There is no magic pill, no secret key I possess that you don’t. It’s just hard work and creativity over time. It’s not like the people who you look up to have “made it.” It’s not like they live in a perpetual state of having “made it” after they booked that one gig or had that one photo published in that one place. Everyone is looking for their next mountain to climb.

My friend, we have to bet on ourselves. We have to make joy a habit. We have to let it be easy when and where we can. Sharing truth matters. Bold, real, gritty truth and experience. Connection fuels this world and its movement and you are invited to be a part of that by doing whatever it is that you do.

I come back to a lot of the same themes from time to time–– but I do so because they are important. A creative and adventurous life is often also full of doubt and fear. We can’t let those things get in the way of actually doing or actually creating.

If you feel like you have lost your momentum, it is up to you to find it again. Movement inspires movement. Remind yourself that you have taken many steps before, and many more are required of you. So take another step, and keep going.

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Alley
    October 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Wow oh WOW I needed to hear this today. Every bit of it. So, THANK YOU. And I hope writing this encouraged you as much as it did me.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    October 18, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Ugh. I’ve been feeling so uninspired lately. Thank you for the reminder that it’s about the journey

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 21, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks Melissa. Glad you found it a helpful reminder!

  • Reply
    Talman
    October 18, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    In New Zealand we say Kia Kaha, it’s Maori, and means ‘stay strong’

    Our culture has taught us we need to have it all together. If anything I’ve learnt the people who ‘have it all together’ are often the biggest fakes. I think we all need a reminder to keep it all together sometimes.

    Often when I wonder why things are falling apart it’s because I’m doing awesome big brave things that take courage and require heading down the path less traveled. Of course it’s not going to be easy.

    Kia Kaha.

    Stay strong, for the path ahead is arduous, but the reward at the end of it will make it all worth it.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Talman! Thank you so much for sharing this, I hadn’t heard Kia Kaha before but I love it. Much appreciated.

  • Reply
    Laura
    October 19, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Hey Erin,

    I just want to thank you from all my heart for these wonderful words and your wonderful blog.
    I’ve been silently reading your posts for quite some time now and I am not the busy commenting reader, but today is the day :)

    Your articles are so motivational and so true spoken. It was five years ago (time flies!), when I started writing my first novel. I wrote almost every day, after my “normal” working hours. Until my novel will earn money – someday it will, I know it! – I need my daytime job, because we all know that some money needs to pay rent and food. I kept going for two years, without telling anybody, except the three people I trust the most. I knew, what others would have to say about writing and I decided that I don’t want to hear any of it.
    In 2015 I published my first novel, all by myself (okay, amazon createspace helped with selfpublishing options).

    After I published, people started asking me “Can you live from writing?”
    I answered truly and said “No, I can’t.”
    The most common reaction was “Why you’re doing this at all, if you’re not making tons of money?”
    Well. My answer comes down to everything you wrote: Because I don’t know, where this adventure is taking me, but I want to find out.

    So I keep going. I started writing the second novel right after releasing the first one. I’m still writing it and hope to publish it early next year. The story and the characters have been part of my life for five years now and most people can’t even begin to imagine how lucky I feel about this. To be creating.

    So, thank you, Erin.
    We are those people, who will keep going. Step by step, all the way.

    • Reply
      Chantel
      October 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Wow, Laura. Your story is also inspiring. I wish you the best (and money success) on your journey.

      • Reply
        Laura
        October 19, 2017 at 11:43 pm

        Thank you, Chantel. I never thought or dared to imagine that, I could inspire anyone. It’s not that people say nice things like this very often. Maybe I got something in my eye right now. I wish you all the best, whatever your journey is <3

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      October 21, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Laura! Thank you so much for reading, and now, for commenting! First, massive congratulations on your first novel. Putting something of that size is far more challenging than many understand it to be–– it represents something much greater than just the final product. I love that you are staying connected to the purpose, to the grand adventure of curiosity. Know that just by sharing this you have motivated someone (me!) and that I’ll be walking that path alongside you. xo

      • Reply
        Laura
        October 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm

        Thank you so much for the congratulations! I am happy and proud that I’ve made it this far – and I know that I can go further still. It’s the persistence which is more worth than any book (or anything produced) in the end. If I can do it, you can do it, too! I wish you all the adventures and awesomeness along the way. xo

  • Reply
    Tiffiny
    October 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I’m cry.
    Love you.
    <3

  • Reply
    Chantel
    October 19, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you for continuing to be honest and open about things that should and need to be said. You inspire me not just as an artist but also as a person.

  • Reply
    matthew
    October 22, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Its so neat to read your writing and how you keep it real and tell your mind. I really admire how you are so honest in it to and share the dark sides of being your own boss. I feel we will all go through the “rollercoaster” all entrepreneurs go though to achieve our dreams. There’s times were we get depressed, and lose faith in what we are doing, but really you have to keep going.

    Always focus on your end goal. You will get there if you just keep going!

    Love all of this! Erin you rock! Would be soo fun to meet you in person some day!

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      November 4, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks Matthew – yes we all know the rollercoaster well don’t we!! Haha

  • Reply
    Michael
    October 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Erin, there’s something underlying here and with most of your posts. The message seems to be “take it on, it’s possible.” I’m not a typical reader of writing like yours but I’m not typical. I long ago realized the hills, no mountains, women had to climb in their life. The obstacles, the discrimination, the sexism. Personal stories in the news lately have prompted this message, if I may, Erin you standout in ways you probably don’t know. Strength is shared. When you reach out and encourage all is possible in someone’s life. I know from personal experience it is easy to become isolated, cutoff from support. A voice to counter that can be life altering. I encourage, support and applaud what you are trying to do. It takes caring and feeling to be a positive force today. You do it well !

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      November 4, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you Michael! I really appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to learn–– I hope the young men in your life look up to you for this, I’m sure they do!

  • Reply
    Heidi
    November 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Your words and encouragement have been a great source of energy for the past year I’ve been reading your blog. The world is lucky to have someone like you to spread the word! Much love.

    • Erin Sullivan
      Reply
      Erin Sullivan
      November 4, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      That is great to hear, Heidi! My pleasure. Thank you :)

  • Reply
    Push Forward Through Anxiety With Goal Setting and Fitness
    November 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    […] that is not everyday life. I was inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Erin Outdoors and her post Keep Going today. I too wanted to be here to say if you are reading this and connecting, to keep pushing […]

  • Reply
    Chrissy
    November 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    This was great to read today. I just returned to “real life” after a three month dream gig in Yosemite and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and “lost” trying to figure out what’s next for me. My take away from this is that I just need to keep moving in the direction of my dreams and put in the hard work and it’s going to work out.

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