The instant the site went live I began to doubt it. Up until that point I thought it was a great idea, and more importantly something that would serve a functional purpose for the residents of Hernando County by giving them a central location for information about the community. Now I wasn’t so sure. What if people didn’t like it? Didn’t use it? Didn’t care about it? The fear of rejection can be paralyzing! Those first few weeks every new Facebook “like” was reassuring and my husband and I celebrated when we hit 100 followers (to date the site has 11,057). As it grew the next couple of months I felt energized…then I stumbled on similar site…and then another…and another. They were all franchise-type sites with a uniform look, fancy graphics, news feeds, etc. Again I thought that SpringHillNow.com WAS a bad idea. How could I compete with a big company? And worse…more then one? The fear of failure can be destructive!
It was at this point that I received some great advice: “You can’t worry about what others are doing. Just do your best and turn it into whatever you want it to be.” I refocused and the site continued to grow. I began to receive emails saying that the site was great, that it was what our area needed, and that it was useful. I ran into people who were following it and they were friendly and encouraging. Each of these experiences gave me a boost of confidence and a burst of energy to push harder. Businesses started noticing and asking how they could be involved in supporting it…but with the good comes the bad and when I got my first nasty email about how the site sucked I was crushed! If one person felt that way then many more probably did too. How embarrassing?!? Nobody wants to suck. When I received criticisms about what was “wrong” with the site I took it personally and became frustrated. I was doing my best and for free for that matter….but with the good far outweighing the bad I remained confident that moving forward was good for the community.
Today, with nearly 11,000 people following the site on Facebook and local businesses supporting it I know that others see the value in it for the community. Having experienced the unexpected emotional ups and downs I’ve learned a lot about myself and about others. I’ve learned that words are powerful. They can make a situation better or worse. They can build up or they can break down. They can devastate or transform lives. I now deeply understand that we should each chose our words wisely, regardless of who we are speaking to. I’ve learned that your best may not be good enough for some but its all you can do so it has to be good enough for you. I’ve learned to have thick skin and to appreciate kind people. I’ve learned that fear is only for holding us back and that pushing past it isn’t so hard after all.
I want each person who uses this website to know that I try hard to make it a resource for the community. In it’s infancy I’ve made some mistakes and I’ve done some things right. It’s run by an imperfect human, but one with good intentions. Thanks for sticking with me! It is because of the positive people I’ve encountered that SpringHillNow.com is still here and growing. I appreciate everyone who engages with the site, shares opinions (and yes even the criticisms as long as they are constructive), tells friends about it, and supports the businesses who keep it up and running. You rock!