If you’re just joining us for the interview series, please take a moment to read the introductory post here.
Kristen Guest is a mom on a mission to feel a little more blessed (and a little less stressed), to have a little more faith (and a little less fear) and to find a little more meaning (and a little less monotony) in her everyday life as a stay-at-home mom of two. She hopes her blog inspires others to do the same. She blogs at www.mamastay.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
What made you want to start on this venture?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t really consider giving creative writing a try until I stopped working outside of the home and became a stay-at-home mom. Writing quickly turned into an outlet for me. I realized that I am better at expressing myself with pen to paper than I am in person.
As far as going in the direction of starting a blog, being the introvert that I am, the idea absolutely terrified me, as I openly wrote about in my first blog post here. But I’m a firm believer in listening to one’s own intuition, and deep down I felt nudges to start a blog.
Selfishly, I started the blog because I love to write. Unselfishly, I want to use the power of words to inspire and connect others.
How long did it take you to decide to take the first step towards change?
I started consistently writing a little over a year ago. I got serious when I took a class last fall to learn how to build a site, and once I purchased the domain name, there was no turning back.
What were some of the things that hold you back from taking chances or making changes?
Fear can be paralyzing and change is uncomfortable. The struggle is real for me with battling my fears. Starting a blog was scary for me because I was scared to have a voice, scared to be judged by others, and scared of failure. I also knew that if I was going to go through with starting the blog, that I would have to be 100 percent honest in my writing. It’s scary to be vulnerable and show the good, bad and ugly of who you are to the world.
Change requires growth, and growth is painful, but I believe that anything that is ever really worth it in life isn’t easy (for example, raising children!).
What tips do you have for building yourself up when self-doubt and negativity take over?
I think it helps to know that fear is just a normal part of the process when you risk starting something new. We’re only human, and we are going to have bad days. I’ve only been blogging for two months and I’ve already had days when the fear makes me consider quitting. But when we can recognize that fear will come and go, and we don’t fight it, and we don’t beat ourselves up over having it, it can feel freeing to surrender to it and accept it as part of the process. As long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other and we don’t allow fear to hold us back, fear isn’t winning.
I recently watched Will Ferrell’s commencement speech at USC. He mentioned that for him, the fear of failure never goes away. It really struck me that even someone as successful as Will Ferrell isn’t immune to fear. It actually makes sense that it can be even scarier at the top because you have more to lose. Fear is a given.
I also find it helpful to connect with others going through the same struggles. It’s comforting to know that you aren’t alone.
How do you feel about your success at this point?
My ego would have me measure my success by the number of people that read my blog, or by my ultimate goal of one day becoming a published author.
My heart knows that the real measure of success is how I choose to live on a daily basis. Consciously choosing to be a loving, kind person in my daily interactions with others and loving my family and friends as deeply as I can – that to me is the true definition of success. I say this, and yet I fully admit that I fall short and that I constantly battle my own ego. My blog is about using my life (as unglamorous as it is) to learn the lesson of love over and over again, because I believe that’s what we as human beings are all here to do. Part of that is of course learning self-love and accepting your own and others’ inevitable imperfections.
What kinds of things lead to feelings of burn out for you? (For example I often find myself exhausted by promoting and reaching out) How do you deal with that?
I hear you sister about the exhaustion over promoting yourself and networking with others. I took a much-needed break from reaching out this week just to recenter myself and write. I guess that’s how I deal with the burn out. Take a break, remember my love for writing, and remind myself why I started the blog in the first place.
What forms of self-care do you find work best for you?
Self-care is so important for everyone, but particularly for moms that can easily end up on the bottom of the priority list.
I exercise more for my emotional and mental well-being than my physical well-being. I like to go for a run or take yoga. I really believe that working up a sweat releases negative energy.
I’m working on making prayer my number one form of self-care, mainly because I’ve started to notice that when I’m down, it works every time.
When you know the next step to get where you want to be is going to require taking a chance that scares you, how do you prepare yourself to take the leap? Or do you just go for it?
I think this goes back to what I mentioned before. I typically acknowledge my fear, pat it on the back, pray, and take the leap anyways.
What are you afraid of in relation to this venture?
All that I previously mentioned.
What is your favorite positivity practice or quote?
I’m a self-admitted quotes junkie. How can you not love little nuggets of wisdom that resonate with your soul? It’s difficult for me to even narrow it down to one, but I’m going to have to copy Brené Brown (this is also her favorite quote) because it’s just too good:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly… – Theodore Roosevelt