When Matt first asked me what I wanted to do with my life, back in 2011, and I said I wanted to be a writer, he was shocked. My love of writing wasn’t something I’d ever shared with him before, even though we were engaged at the time. It took me a while to work out why I’d never shared my love of writing with Matt, or anyone else. When I finally did work it out, I realised it was because I didn’t think I could be a writer. I didn’t think I’d be good enough, that anyone would read my stuff and that if they did, they’d hate it. At the core of it, I guess I just didn’t think I deserved it and I pushed away something I loved out of fear.
Little Grey Box has helped me overcome that fear in many ways and so have you guys, the wonderful people who read what I write and give me your encouragement and support. I have also learned to overcome those fears and self-doubts by really, truly listening to my heart and doing everything it tells me to do; from starting Vlogging to eating chocolate ice cream for breakfast (occasionally).
Learning so much I thought I had the whole self-value thing nailed down. I was all, “Yea girl, you’ve got this locked down. You know to follow your heart now and give your desires priority in your life. Take five.” But over the last few weeks I’ve really been learning a lot and overcoming even MORE of my fears and it’s pretty damn great, you guys.
Because I love Little Grey Box so much and get so much happiness out of it, I’ve really been undervaluing its worth as a business and my value as a writer. Little Grey Box feels like my little space on the internet and sometimes I totally forget that it really is a small business and that it has a lot of value to the wonderful people who read it and the amazing brands and companies I get to work with.
Over the past few months, I’ve connected with some really amazing travel bloggers and we’ve created a space where we share our thoughts and feelings, business stuff and ask each other questions, supporting one another whole-heartedly. It’s very cool and talking to these amazing women and learning about how they run their businesses I’ve realised just how much I’ve been undervaluing myself.
These women are my inspiration and I look at their blogs with so much admiration, it never occurred to me that I could be on the same level as them. After speaking with some of them really openly and honestly, I realised our blogs were quite similar (from the perspective of brands and companies). It was a real shock to me because, in my mind, Little Grey Box is still a baby and I have all these dreams and hopes for it, but I never quite took the time to stop and appreciate just where it was at.
I met up with the amazing Jaharn of Mister Weekender, an absolute blogging icon of mine, and she gave me a real kick in the butt! She helped me appreciate the value of how much hard work these women and I put into our blogs and just how valuable what we do is. Because I love it so much, I’d almost felt guilty about it at times. Like it didn’t deserve to be thought of as valuable, because it brought me so much joy. It’s almost like I felt I didn’t deserve to be tired at times or feel overwhelmed, because it’s my dream job.
I think also that there’s a bit of a societal thing too where bloggers may be perceived as not having a ‘real job’, which added to my undervaluing. The gorgeous photos seen on Instagram portray perfect vacations, but what people don’t see is the 17 hour day behind the images. No complaints whatsoever, I love my job and am so grateful for it, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Being an amazing job doesn’t mean you don’t still get tired, work hard or sometimes feel rundown. It also doesn’t mean that what you do isn’t valuable or important.
Everything we do has value and it’s up to us to take a stand and demand it be recognised. For a while there I was saying yes to every work offer that has come my way, even when the pay hasn’t been appropriate for the amount of work required. That’s my fault, I shouldn’t have said yes and undervalued myself.
A few weeks ago I made a decision, from my heart, to only say yes to work that aligns with the true value of what I do. Since then, I’ve said no to a lot of things and I’ve been so afraid to do so. I’ve been afraid that I won’t earn any money from my blog, I’m terrified that nobody will want to work with me and I’m really, really scared that I’ll share my rates with a business and they’ll laugh in my face, telling me that there is NO WAY I’m worth the money required for the work.
So far, nobody has laughed in my face. I have had some instances where I haven’t gone on to work with a business because my rates have been out of their budget. But, most importantly, I’ve had businesses who have wanted to work with me and I have felt amazing ever since I took a stand for myself and made the decision to place value on my business and how hard I work to create videos and written content.
It’s so easy for each of us to look at what we do and diminish its worth. I’ve been doing it for the last 3 years. That came from within myself, I determined my worth and I set it low because I thought happiness trumped value. I said yes to work offers that I shouldn’t have and I let myself feel like I was letting myself down for years when I really didn’t need to. Just because you enjoy doing something, doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly important… if anything, it means it is MORE important.
Don’t EVER let your fears and doubts guide how you feel. They’ll always lead you in a direction you don’t want to go. But if you do, that’s okay, it’s always fixable. All the fears and doubts we have are born from our mind, not from our hearts. They’re logical and they’re a defence mechanism, but that does not mean they are right.
Always follow your gut instinct. Know, deep down, that you are worthy. You are wonderful and insanely perfect, capable of achieving anything you want to achieve if you let yourself do so. Just trust yourself to make the right decisions and know your true value.
Watch our 12 months in 60 seconds video!
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.