Permit Yourself to Be You
The statistics are staggering. According to the website Statista, the current number of social media users worldwide sits at over 2.5 billion and will grow to 3 billion by 2021. Facebook leads all social media platforms with 2.2 billion active users (80% of Americans have Facebook accounts), while messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are actively used by 1.3 billion people each.
When in Social Space, do as the Socialspacians do.
But Social Space is not for everyone. Nor should it be. I just wish that someone had told me this a bit sooner.
When I decided a few years back to become an executive coach following years of organizational leadership, I thought that the first thing that I would need to do (even before getting properly certified and developing personal client relationships) would be to build a website, an email list and a social media following. (At the time, I had none of those.) After all, it just seemed that everyone in this space had these things and felt the need to spend much time and resources cultivating their online presence and community.
So, I got to work, but it never really did all that much for me.
Maybe I didn’t really know what I was doing with my web and email design. Perhaps I didn’t spend enough time engaging with others online. Some would say that I did not make myself sufficiently vulnerable or authentic, or show / share enough about my personal life.
They're probably right. But no matter. The online world just doesn’t feel fully comfortable for me.
The reasons for this are manifold:
- As an introvert, I am not always comfortable putting myself out there. Nor do I feel an inner pull to do so regularly.
- I prefer face-to-face discussion with one-to-one or one-to-few rather than large-scale “conversations” with many.
- I like to work deep on things and challenge my mind, with tasks like completing a doctorate, writing a book, delivering results for clients, crafting substantive blog posts, etc. "Small talk" online doesn't fill that void for me.
This is not to knock those who spend more time online than I. Many people, including a number of very good friends, absolutely rock Social Space. They are comfortable there, do great work in sharing their message and interacting, and use it as a platform to drive business.
My business and client base, by contrast, has come almost exclusively from in-person and phone conversation, demonstration, invitation and referral.
You just have to know who you are and what works for you, and then give yourself permission to be you, regardless of what the masses are doing.
For me, what works is the ability to go deep with people, personally and privately, without the whole world watching.
What works best for you?
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