Hello.... Is this thing on?
These days every entrepreneur is encouraged to step into a position of Influence in order to promote their businesses.
Self-promotion can be challenging for many. We have to sort out who we are, what we do, how to share, have defined product or service offerings, AND not come across as pushy or salesy (my personal pet peeve).
We are encouraged to start a blog, create videos, send out newsletters, and 'give advice' at every turn - like somehow this will make us stand apart from our 'competitors', because we're 'helping'.
But are we really? Helping?
Tara McMullen from cocommercial.co said this about 'advice culture':
"Advice culture doesn't connect us. It's organizes us into tiers of usefulness. Advice culture doesn't help us to listen. It teaches us to obey."
So what's the answer?
Authenticity & Transparency
Nobody likes a 'Know-It-All" - even if they ARE successful.
So what's our best course of action? Our ability to be authentic is what makes us human and 'reachable'. As in, "if she did it, then I could probably do it too! I wonder what her process is/was? How does she think? I'll follow along to find out more... "
And so you gain a new "follower".
Most people know that the key to connecting with others isn't so much about talking AT people, attempting to demonstrate our shiny smarts at every turn, or showing the world just how we've got it all figured out, so we go in the opposite direction - we show everyone just how human we really are!
But how much transparency is too much? Our ability to remain authentic and truthful with those we connect with is paramount, but to what end? Is there a line to be drawn?
I think the word we're looking for here is BALANCE.
I was at a conference back in November where I met the smart and savvy Denise Alison, (AH-Mazing Social Media Strategist!) from Stratigro, whom wisely had this about sharing on social media,
"Share your scars, not your wounds."
Let that sink in just a moment.
Through our desire to be authentic, and social media sharing which allows us to turn the camera on LIVE in our own homes, the temptation to SHARE EVERYTHING with EVERYONE as a way of being authentic and transparent can actually hurt your message.
Think back. Have you ever landed on an image or video of someone IN their moment of pain?
I have. And I felt for them, deeply. And going forward, I just couldn't trust their messages of "Look at me and my awesome life! I've got it all figured out!" after that, no matter how flowery their words were about their new found mastery of peace and tranquility, because I SAW their wounds. Like 18 hours ago.
It's one thing to state that you're going through something difficult right now and allowing people to journey with you. It's quite a different message when you're trying to position yourself as an expert in all things transformative when you're in crisis one day, then sharing how you've risen above it all, the next.
So What's An Entrepreneur To Do?
Demonstrate that you're worth "following", because you've been down the path people want to go. Demonstrate that it's a little bloody and messy sometimes, but that others WILL survive, and in fact, can THRIVE if they just keep getting back up.
AND amongst all of the "expert advice" we should be sharing with others, there still needs to be that truth of humanity - that people don't just wake up perfect, and wealthy. That it takes something to get there. A lot of wounds, probably.
The Golden Nugget people are looking for is the EXPERIENCE you took away from your wound - not that actual bleeding mess that lays before you. Nobody wants to see that. For reals.
Our job is to demonstrate that we've had wounds and messes, have learned how to clean them up, move forward and become successful, and that we can show others how. Those are the battle scars worth showing.
People want to know the business leaders they're following certainly DO have SOMETHING figured out - something worthy of sharing that helps us feel less ridiculous as we stumble forward on our entrepreneurial journey.
Add in a good dose of humility and authenticity too, and I think that's a winning combo.
Send me a message about a scar you learned from! Those are always the juiciest stories!