I recently needed to take a break from the online world.
I now realize that I experienced something I’m calling “online myopia,” or a warped, short-sighted perception of the online world.
Image: Boreal Eye via Flickr
Having spent the last four years devoted to building a business based on the wonders of the web, I fell victim to a skewed view of the negatives inherent in this same community.
Little by little, over the span of a few weeks, I became disconnected with the truth of my situation and my inherent worth.
Interestingly, the self-worth I sought started in an innocent place: to serve people.
But that positive aim deteriorated in the wake of little thoughts of competition, compulsively seeking feedback online, and a general withdrawal from the real world.
I know this all sounds pretty intense. And in a way, it paints a much darker picture than it really was… but at the same time, it is rather accurate.
One of the interesting symptoms of online myopia is the gradual disregard for many real world experiences in pursuit of online validation.
It became easy to downgrade the great service I was doing in real life, and instead focus on all the online “goals” I had yet to attain. (I use the word goals loosely here because there wasn’t any real aim besides generally feeling like I was “enough” online.)
To those who do not spend most of their days online and supporting themselves in this manner, this might seem downright crazy.
But I have a feeling that those who spend a significant amount of time supporting themselves with online activities year after year, may feel shades of this phenomenon every so often.
In fact, I think this may also be quite similar to the bouts of depression that Facebook can cause extremely frequent users.
However, one of the more convincing fears inherent in web-based business is that any time away from the Internet could mean less connections, clients, and revenue from online sources.
Because of this, taking time off from social media and online communities can be a scary proposition for a small business owner experiencing online myopia.
Though it might be good for our well-being, it’s hard to convince ourselves that we should remove ourselves from what ultimately provides business growth and abundance as well.
Having faced this limiting belief myself last week, I can now say that taking the time to step back and gain better perspective was the best thing I could do for myself and my business.
Sure, I could have tried to loosen the negative paradigm while still being active online.
But the truth is I don’t think that really would have worked.
I truly needed to remove myself from the online world and test the fearful assumption that “all would go to hell” if I stepped away for a few days.
In fact, I immediately felt a sense of relief and focus that I had not felt for several months. I got new ideas, I focused on a whole new evolution of my business, and I regained my own sense of inherent worth.
Surprisingly, I also had a large influx of clients!
I now genuinely believe that when we are at our best, our businesses flourish online or offline. And our actual presence online is not quite as important as level of power or force we exude in our lives.
When we feel we need to force things, things stop coming. When we are in a power-filled place in our lives, good things flow.
Online or offline.
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