I always hesitate to write about personal matters because I get emails and texts from friends and family worrying. But then I encounter people who say how much it helped them to know there is someone else out there who’s gone through what they’re now going through. So, we should dive in for those who are going through the whirlwind.
In 2015, The Atlantic ran a multipage profile of me declaring me the most influential conservative in America. The assessment was not true, but I also think it is safe to say it has been all downhill from there in some respects.
At the end of 2015, I left the website I was then operating, RedState, to form a new site called The Resurgent. I could better integrate this site into my radio show, which I had hoped to take into syndication. I was filling in on nationally syndicated radio shows, I had a TV contract, and I was making lots of money — and then not so much.
My radio show did not make it into syndication, though I expect that is coming soon. My TV contract disappeared, as did several rather amazing offers that presented themselves and then faded away. My income has declined significantly over the last three years. Much of this was because I decided I would not support President Donald Trump in 2016. Standing up for principles has a cost. I still think it was as much the right thing to do then as it is to say now that I will support him in 2020, given his accomplishments and the alternatives.
Oddly enough, having my television contract with Fox News go away was very liberating. While at Fox under contract and not supporting the president, I almost never made it on air. Being freed, I have been on television more in the past year than in my last year under contract with Fox. Now, ironically, declaring my support for the president in 2020 has largely rendered me useless to non-Fox programs where a Republican who refuses to vote for the president is a hot commodity.
I do sometimes have to question whether I am doing what I should be doing. I question my relevance. Doubt creeps in. Does what I say matter to other people? Does a lack of retweets mean no one is paying attention? I start to question my career goals. I want to syndicate my radio show. But have I reached my peak? Must I come to terms with the status quo as the most I will ever do?
I still want a television show and wonder if I need to give up on that. I want a cooking show that is basically “Larry King Live” in a kitchen — bringing in people who may or may not agree with me on politics to talk about life instead. I want to find ways to connect and inspire people to break bread with others. But is it a dumb idea? Should I abandon it? I am beginning to think there are some things I am just going to have to leave behind. Perhaps my TV days are over. Perhaps I have nothing left to offer.
It is that sense of leaving things behind that weighs on me at 43. But then, I must remind myself that my career is an accident. I was never supposed to be on radio or television or even to run a political website or have a syndicated column. They were all little providential blessings I never planned for or expected. So, instead, perhaps I should let God keep delighting me. Who knows what He has planned.
Doubt magnifies itself when we see others on social media who seem to be accomplishing more. It is not healthy. None of us should measure ourselves based on the opinions of others or on our number of follows, likes or retweets. We should not covet the curated lives of Instagram. We should not seek relevancy through self-promotion on social media surrounded by trolls. But we often slip and do just that. Instead, we should find joy, meaning and relevance in our families, in our children and in being.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.