I know exactly the day it all went wrong.
It was the day I started this website.
Whether we like it or not we brand ourselves everyday. When I use the word brand, some of you think of Nike or Starbucks. Others of you might read the word brand and get all high and mighty, “Come on Benji! You haven’t turned into one of those guys, have you?” Yes, actually, I have become one of those guys. The more I realize that I am settling for less than God’s best in my life, the more I realize how many brands are tagged to my back. Brand is a fancy marketing word.
Another way to put it: labels.
The day I started this website was the day I traded in the true brand on my life and started striving for another label. For almost four years I blogged regularly on Myspace. (Yeah, I know! Can you believe that website is still in existence?) After a year off from blogging when I was the deepest in my own addictions and struggles I re-emerged as a broken but honest person. I started a website www.downwritehonest.com and I began pouring my heart out. Something amazing happened. People started showing up and I started to build a tribe, a platform if you will.
Then it happened. The dismally small success I had experienced in the blogging world went to my head. Coupled with the idea that I was surrounded by great leaders everyday, I thought I could become the next great Christian writer. All I had to do was transition from an honest and broken person to an expert in a field. I traded a dynamic personal brand: honesty, for a self-promoting label: www. benji.zimmer.mn. It went from being all about transparency to being all about me.
A funny thing happened the day I made the transition to this new website.
Nobody showed up.
In the matter of a few weeks the tribe and platform I had worked a couple years at building had all fallen because I wanted to promote myself, rather than promoting honesty.
Pride always comes before the fall.
The truth is that I allowed my own pride to get me off course and writing for the wrong reasons. Over the last few days I have come to recognize that writing isn’t about me, and it really isn’t all about you either, but it is a combination of both. Writing is a gift that should be given away freely to others. Readers should be encouraged, inspired, entertained and maybe even challenged by your writing. When I switched to this website, I stopped giving and I started taking.
I realize now, that it doesn’t have to be this way.
I don’t know what this looks like, I still have to navigate the ins and outs of what kind of transition plan should happen. One thing I do know is that Benji.Zimmer.mn will become more of an “about” page than a place for me to write.
This might not be my last post on this website while I fix the layout of DownWriteHonest.com but this is me doing a u-turn and heading back to what matters more than me: honesty.
My hearts desire is to live an honest and transparent life that helps others do the same.
It is time for me to get back to doing just that.