Tomorrow, October 22nd 2019, marks 5 years since I bit the bullet and registered the HowToGYST domain. 5 years since this crazy adventure kicked off.
So if I may, I’d like to get a little soppy for a few seconds, take a quick look back at the top highlights, and end with some advice if you’ve got a dream you’d like to see realised too.
On the morning of October 22nd 2014, I hadn’t the first clue how to set up a self-hosted website.
I’d had the idea for HowToGYST knocking around in my noggin for quite a while but was held back by various factors, post-natal depression and fear being the big two.
I wanted to talk about productivity and planning but I didn’t want to do it in a stuffy way. Still, I was worried that anything else would mean I wouldn’t be taken seriously.
Most other sites talking about similar topics at the time were geared towards young professional males and focused on an office environment. A lot of the advice didn’t even apply to me in the legal career I built before my daughter came along, nevermind in my new role as stay-at-home mother.
I was desperate to find something to alleviate the lack of identity and control I’d felt since giving birth, and the internet wasn’t giving me much to work with.
Honestly, if I read one more article that advised me to get up at the crack of dawn or start a side hustle, I was going to tear my hair out. I couldn’t even handle my main hustle.
And if I got up any earlier I wouldn’t be going to bed at all.
And don’t get me started on all the vague advice to “believe in yourself” and “be confident” and “get organised”.
I mean yes please, I DO need you to draw me a diagram, because right now I’m barely able to pull a brush through my hair, and I have another human hanging off me during the entire process.
Can someone please just tell me what to do so I can get my sh*t together?!
Once my post-natal depression started to lift a bit and I could finally see the light, I decided to take the first step by simply researching what I’d need to do to set up a website.
And so by the time I went to bed that October 22nd, I’d done the research and, entirely unexpectedly, got the whole thing up and running.
It was the start of a brand new chapter in my life.
I closed the door on post-natal depression (though it did still like to peep through the keyhole occasionally) and I wanted to help other women do the same.
I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had. I didn’t want anyone else to struggle, not knowing who they were or what they should do. I didn’t want them tearing their hair out at the same impractical advice I’d lost a few fistfuls to myself.
When it felt like their whole world was falling apart, I wanted to be able to hold their virtual hand and whisper, “Here, let me help you. This is how to get your sh*t together.”
5 years later, it’s still my driving force.
When I started I had no idea it would grow so big. I had no idea I’d leave my decade-long legal career in favour of creating content. I had no idea I’d go viral for folding clothes.
Isn’t the internet a funny place?
Here, in no particular order, are 10 highlights from 60 months of GYSTing:
But the biggest blessing of all is receiving messages from women all over the world saying I’ve helped them.
Sometimes it’s a blog post with some practical advice they were able to apply successfully to their own lives. Sometimes it’s a social post that made them feel less alone or less overwhelmed. Sometimes it's a video that lit a fire under them and made them get sh*t done.
And the one that never fails to bring tears to my eyes is when I get a comment from another mother to say that, because I shared my story and my struggles, she reached out for help with her own.
She was in a dark place and my content helped her see the light (and exactly how to start moving towards it).
I’m welling up just writing about it.
To my spoonies, my PND/PPD sufferers, my unicorns, my KonMari queens, my simplifying soldiers, my wellness warriors, and to EVERYONE who’s EVER had ANY sort of positive interaction with my content…
I never could have imagined how far we’d come.
And if this is what the first 5 years brought, I can’t even begin to imagine what a whirlwind the next 5 will be.
(Although, between you and me, I’m working on a few ideas. 😉 )
If you have a dream, even just the seed of one, I can’t stress enough how important it is to start. Take the simplest step toward it, even if it’s just doing what I did and sitting down to research.
You might surprise yourself by starting a snowball.
And eliminate the unnecessary. If you’re not being ruthless with your time and energy, crap will creep in. Is that how you want to spend your life? On the “OK” stuff?
If it’s not lifting you up, it’s dragging you down. Ditch it.
Once you know what you want, make it a priority. Schedule it, make space for it, commit to it, pour your heart and soul into it…
If you have a passion, pursue it.
If you don’t have a passion, let curiosity be the path that leads you there.
Those things you’re vaguely interested in or would maybe like to learn a little more about? Google them. Go to the local library and research them. Ask someone about them. Crack open a book or an old encyclopaedia and read up on them. Experiment with them. Watch videos and tutorials on them.
Not every idea will catch, but sometimes you have to light a few sparks to find something that sets your soul on fire.
Thank you for keeping mine burning bright for 5 years.
What’s been your favourite HowToGYST memory? The thing that’s stood out the most for you?
And what would you like to see in the next 5 years?
It might appear in the 10-year anniversary post. 😉
So here’s to 5 years of memories, the next 5 of adventures… and YOU.