Just Jennifer: One Thing Leads to Another

For a long time, I hated Alexa. Despised her.

Alexa is not a woman. She’s not even a pseudonym for another woman. She’s a ranking system that provides commercial web traffic data. In laymen’s terms, Alexa tells you (and the world) if your website sucks or not.

Websites like Google and Facebook are the cool kids on the Internet. They rank #1 and #2, prospectively. They are the most popular. The rest of us? Well, we’re riff raff.

Every day, I would check my Alexa ranking and cringe. It seemed no matter what I did, I could not make that number move in my favor. Like the number on the scale, that number taunted me. I was back in middle school waiting to get picked for volleyball, and cruelly reminded that I was not one of the cool kids.

Then one day I realized that the number meant everything—and nothing.

For years, I loved Celebrity Parents Magazine, as if it were my own child. I went to sleep thinking about it, only to wake up jazzed to write a new celebrity cover story or tweak the design. Seeing that number made me love it less. A lot less. And I was determined to love it again with every ounce of my being.

So, I focused less on the number and more on how I felt. I nurtured Celebrity Parents, writing stories that I felt were relevant for the readership. I stepped out from behind the wizard’s curtain and started my Just Jennifer column, which was my way of sharing my own parenting foibles with the world. I made it honest; I made it raw sometimes, but I always made it real.

And almost instantly, Alexa fell in love with me.

My ranking skyrocketed. At first, I couldn’t figure out why. I was doing everything the same…but I wasn’t. I was creating content that I loved, and was fueled by the emails I would get from people who loved the stories I was writing, or had related to my own experiences. It became its own reward, far beyond getting a Pink Lady jacket.

In turn, I learned a valuable lesson. You have to try with all your might. You have to go 1000% percent above and beyond what you think you can humanly do—and then let go. Never be married to the result. Your success comes in the trying, in the falling, in the failing, and most importantly, in the rising. It comes in the forms of lessons learned, of hardships won.

I learned to implicitly trust the journey, even when I couldn’t see the end. Hard work always pays off, even when you feel that it won’t yield anything. But, it will. Because, you see, one thing leads to another. Always.


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