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Social Media for the Rest of Us

“I’m not worthy”
“My opinion doesn’t matter”
“I’m not like other people”
“I’m just shy”
“Social media exposes too much”
“I don’t look/think/feel like everyone else here”

Any of those things resonate with you?

Social media has a lot of layers. To some people, it’s a big ol’ party. They are out, sharing everything from morning to night.

Instagram their breakfast burrito? Facebook Live their wardrobe? Check their boss on LinkedIn? Chat, comment, check-in, snap…Some people’s lives truly are lived online. Everything is an open book, shared, commented on, liked, and upvoted.

That’s not me.

For a very long time, I used Facebook in “lurking” mode. Reading comments by high school friends. Keeping up with old neighbors from afar. I was quite content to observe and not report.

I suspect that there are a lot of people like me.

But I also suspect that many people long to be part of the bigger social conversation – but don’t feel like they belong. They are not sure. Uncertain. Vulnerable. Maybe even fear that people on social would reject them…if they only knew.

If they only knew that I am not as successful as I appear.
If they figure out that I’m not as smart as they think.
If anyone guesses that I’m different.
I can’t let down my guard because…
I have to fake it because that is what everyone expects.
I am different…but I can’t share that.

Social is often the highlight reel of people’s lives. You see the bright, shiny, pretty, perfect part of their lives. You don’t see the struggle with weight that’s behind the swim suit shot. You miss the uncertainty that’s under the congratulations on a win. You don’t hear the vulnerability in feeling that they are not like everyone else – but that has to stay secret. Not wanting to disagree because of what people might think.

I’m here to tell you that everyone feels this way. Yup. Even the Kardashians of the world feel vulnerable, different, not-great, fake, dumb, unsuccessful, imperfect, fat, skinny, out of control, uncertain, loser….I could go on. But you get the picture.

You are not alone.

So what does all this have to do with business?

Even the “big guys” are not as successful, shiny, and happy as they appear. Even the Tony Robbins of the world are only seen in their highlight reel. You don’t see the behind-the-scenes struggle of running their business.

It is human nature to want to present the best side of ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that. Where it can become toxic is when we start comparing our imperfect reality with the perfect, edited highlight reels of everyone else.

I am telling you to wipe the perfection right out of your head.

It’s okay to be different, only half as successful, a few pounds over your ideal weight, stressed from doing it all, uncertain, imperfect. Because that is the true reality for everyone. That is the behind-the-scenes reality that you don’t see…but it’s there. Own that.

What you have to say is still valuable and worthy – even if you don’t feel that way.

I want you to truly believe that your point of view – imperfect, different, left-field, overweight, indecisive, bad-hair day, exhausted, stressed, uncertain – is valuable. In fact it is more valuable than all the buffed, polished, edited, highlight reels.

Different is the thing that sparks the conversation. That makes it valuable, vulnerable, real, connected.

Be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers and ask for help. There are lots of people waiting with the answers. Be willing to admit that you’re struggling with something personal or in your business. Most people will react with kindness and a (virtual) outstretched hand.

Will there be mean people? Of course. Just like your offline life, there are always going to be people so entrenched in hurting or belittling or making someone feel less because it is their only way to feel important. And just like in your offline life, you have to let your anger and fear go and give them the grace that they are unable to give themselves.

So if you’re online talking up how successful your business is when the reality is that you’re struggling to stay afloat, ask for help, advice, support. There is someone out there who might have that one thing that will make the difference.