When things feel uncomfortable, it is probably the best time to share.
When you make things your own way and learn as you go along, it supports your own instinct, not someone else’s ideology of a perfect world that we should be living in because they said it on LinkedIn.
If it is not worth writing or recording, then it is not worth sharing.
This article picks up on getting people to unite behind something they can associate with, rather than leading with a flag pole made out of marshmallows.
Picking Up Where Things Left Off
In an article I wrote last week, I highlighted the problems I was having in making things simple, you can read it here. It was a way of acknowledging that what I was saying made sense to those, ‘in the know,’ but are people really interested in ‘channels,’ ‘media,’ ‘storytelling,’ ‘content marketing?’
It was difficult when I shared the fact that hardly anyone knew what to say when I asked them, ‘do you know what I do?
It was difficult to write down where I acknowledged that I confused what I do, with how I do it.
It was difficult to write that the thing I stood behind, was really something very difficult for others to understand. It was an acknowledgement to start making the hard things simple.
I recognise that when you boil everything down it is about creating loyalty. When someone comes to your website, your blog, your event, even your social media page, you want them to come back again. It just helps that the connections made are stronger when there is a narrative that someone can align with.
With the responses I had received from this article, it made me realise that by being open and honest, it enabled a conversation beyond what someone had read. Isn’t this the best form of measurement, when there is a conversation that happens beyond what is published? From a text, to a phone call, to an email, it all meant a lot.
The reason this happened is that I put a broken piece of me out there for others to look at (or read).
It made me realise that the things that feel uncomfortable are the things you should go with.
The World Reflected Back At You
When you look around every social space we participate within a world where comfort is reflected back at us. The client wins, the success stories, the pristine looking video in the feed, the positive feedback, are all played in front of us. You have to make your own way, while everyone else behaves as though a quote saying, ‘live, laugh, love’ is seen as acceptable.
In a recent article by Martin Wiegel, Head of Planing for Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, titled, ‘Why Success Stories Are Just Propaganda,’ he highlighted, “Painting false realities, creating the illusion that success is far easier than it actually is, and laying claim to universal wisdom, they enslave us in the fictions, fantasies and ideologies of others. Comforting though it might be, they stop us thinking for ourselves.”
The ability to think for ourselves and then share is what puts us on a desolate, empty road, while the motorway next door is full of everyone else heading to the A’doitlikethis’32. We are all happy to part with personal information (66% of British shoppers are more than happy to share their personal data online), but insular when it coms to opening up.
However, this is where vulnerability can be seen as a good thing and for you to use it in your advantage. When I mean vulnerable, I mean sharing something where the wheel isn’t moving in your space, where you approached everything in one way but realise it has to be another, even to seeing something you wish you didn’t want to see. None of this is fatal, just a way to share with a small audience (you’re not standing in front of the 10m viewers who watched Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend).
It is all about mastering the smallest of things and sharing what you are afraid of. For instance, I am afraid of running out of momentum for writing each week, I am afraid that whatever I make public (from events to an article), no one is interested. On the other hand, you can break it down into a simple element, the will to find a way to connect with another person.
The Dishonesty Played Out In Front Of You
We have seen many lies and dishonesty played out in front of us this year.
By taking a deep breath and sharing becomes the thing that makes you different, while others are prepared to take the glory in whatever shape that isn’t true. Waterstones lied to everyone earlier this year, by creating fake authenticity with shops that had the look of independent bookshops to feel like a trusted local shop. They were in fact a huge brand disguised as something local. In September, Australian cookbook author Belle Gibson was fined over $400,000. She falsely claimed that she beat cancer through healthy eating (she never had cancer).
From these examples, it looks like finding our own way, going with our own intuition and sharing what makes us feel uneasy as the ways to achieve genuine loyalty from others.
What About You?
The world isn’t expecting us to tell everyone how good we are, this role has been left to advertising. However, to many people and businesses, the social channels represent just that, free advertising.
For generations, whenever it comes to businesses distributing a message, everything has to be positive. Advertising has been a way to tell others everything that you are not, in order to create a positive reaction.
Taking what I learnt from writing last week and for you take on board the fact that it is ok when everything doesn’t match up to a Richard Branson quote, all comes down to what my friend Manny Montanaro highlighted, ‘‘I always liked my writers, artists and musicians to create from a place of genuine emotion.’
To cause a reaction and accelerate a behaviour in someone else ie. approach, request, converse, interact, is to approach when you open up and your world and message become vast. By vast I mean:
VOICE – you have something that no one can take away from the stamp you made
AUTHENTICITY – you provide something that doesn’t deviate and what people come to expect from you
SOUL – it doesn’t matter if the way that you look at the world is broken, it is better to do something with heart, rather than what has already been said. Do we really need another article on how to write a blog?
TRUTHFUL – it may not be 100% factual, but it comes from a place of honesty that others can relate to
Here are some ways for you to take onboard a content approach that backs up this VAST approach while others are happy to regurgitate what has already been said.
1 Take a deep breath and go with the things that make you feel a bit unsteady. The important thing is that it has to align with what you do, so it has relevance within your area of expertise.
2 You can’t moan about something without providing some form of light at the end. Rather than taking to a channel to use as a soapbox with relentless, ‘I believe,’ be a bit more reflective about something related to what you do and the industry you are part of.
3 There has to be a pain point, where something isn’t right that becomes the central focus to what you are sharing with others. It is the flower that can’t grow because of the weeds that are surrounding it. There has to be a proposal or a way to cut the weeds back.
4 Come from an approach where you probably have more questions to ask, than definitive answers. If you are on a journey, it is better to document the road you are currently travelling on, rather than duplicate someone else’s experience.
5 As we all come from a place of reflection, it is also important to have others come on board where the hook is so they can say, ‘I can relate to that.’ This isn’t about connecting with anyone and everyone, but those where a relationship is deepened and there is a sense of mutual respect. You can’t do this when you look for acceptance from anyone and everyone.
Back to the article I mentioned earlier on why success stories are just propaganda, I really liked these words, “Accept the truth that you are alone. There are no heroes or gods who can tell us what to do. There is nobody who’s figured it all, who can save us the hard work and the risk. We are alone. And liberated.”
Lets Round Up
You can’t change the structure of what has already been put into the big wide world, but you can figure out what is broken and what needs to be done in order for things to change to a different course.
It is far too easy to play it safe, everytime. We live in a world where it is easier to say ‘I believe’ (have a read of this article to put this into a structure of fact, experience, opinion), rather than present in the shape of words, audio and visual, the reality, the things that are uneasy and the things that are painful.
The outcome is everything coming together that is centred on: connection; conversation; reach and relevance. To get there is making the hard look simple.
When you find the things inside you, that aligns with what you do, where you tease it out and at first it feels hard and awkward, it can move on from being reflective to one where conversations are expanded. It is tough, but no one ever wanted it to be easy, that’s why you can leave that to others who want to cut corners and share how well they have done.