How many times have you started to write a post / blog / update on social media and deleted it for fear of what others might think? Or edited the words so it felt a bit more like the person you want other people to think you are.
I’m guessing for many reading this post today – a lot.
I used to be that person, and in part it was because I had come from a corporate background working in the legal sector, which is a particularly traditional industry and in part because I lacked confidence in being my true self. When I launched my own business in 2014, it took me a while to realise that I had been filtering myself for years.
I had subconsciously always been worried about how people might perceive me or how my personality might affect my professional reputation. I hid many aspects of my not-so-wonderful start in life for fear of judgement, including the fact I had 2 children before the age of twenty.
Every article, message, post and update was carefully crafted to maintain the image that I was conditioned to believe was appropriate.
You can throw “appropriate” out the freaking window.
“Appropriate” doesn’t mean it’s doing your customers justice and it certainly wasn’t right for me and the kind of person I wanted to be in my business.
I can recall the day that I decided that I was no longer prepared to hide anymore as I moved away from using an agency name to hide behind in my business – my customers didn’t want an agency, they loved working with me.
I wanted more people to see the real “me” – unfiltered, unapologetic, strong and totally imperfect.
I decided to share my story on my first website and to that point it was the scariest thing I had ever done in my business. I remember drafting it, writing it, leaving it for a few days, rewriting it, changing my mind and then finally hitting publish.
I cried. And I cried some more, and that continued over the next few days. (big hurdle to overcome)
What a release it was sharing my story with my business world. It felt monumental, and freeing. A few messages from social media followers started to come through to my page from people who had read it saying they felt my story had inspired them.
They opened up about how they hated the current online space because it was full of fakers and staged perfection. Whilst I was no way near as “successful” as these other people they followed, I’d created a moment that inspired them, more than anyone I perceived to be more fit for that task.
I cried some more as I realised that sharing the real me and all my (often uncomfortable) truths had the power to help others.
That one moment of realisation changed my entire approach to how I show up in my business every day.
It means I can deliver true value to my audience even if it means saying what they don’t want to hear.
I stand up for what I believe in even if it means putting myself in the firing line with other “industry experts”.
I say what other people are afraid to say.
The energy I save not filtering myself means I can effortlessly build my brand and help others. For want of a better word – build an “authentic” brand.
It’s enabled me to build a connection so strong with my audience that we feel more like family – #savvyfamily I LOVE YOU!!!!
I definitely still have moments when I think “Should I say this?!” but I never edit myself now. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me because I said something they didn’t like or agree with, I care that someone felt (inspired / motivated / moved) by something I DARED to say.
I promise you when you stop filtering yourself this whole online visibility malarky becomes a whole lot easier.
So what’s the cure?
- Don’t edit yourself the next time you want to share something powerful yet personal.
- Share your story, even the bad bits – they are the parts that will inspire the most
- Edit your tone, but don’t edit the meaning – there’s a big difference between delivering a strong message and being an arrogant twat.
- You can always delete the post if you’re not feeling THAT brave – hit send anyway.
- Remember that people buy from people they like, and if you’re not a complete douchebag in real life then share that real you with your audience.