I’ve always lagged a bit behind the social media trends. I’ll blame that on a childhood without much technology. We didn’t have a TV until I was in late elementary school and rarely had cable after that. There wasn’t a computer until I was a high school senior and it was essentially a fancy word processor. No Internet. I swear to you I hand wrote letters until I went to college and then had to set up an email in order to attend.
Go figure I’m big on mindfulness, movement, the outdoors, and creative expression. That was all I had growing up!
We always swear we won’t be like our parents. I’m still swearing that. But little by little we find them in ourselves.
I didn’t own a smartphone until everyone else around me was over being my google maps and sports score reporter. I missed every opportunity to be an early Internet sensation due to my late entry onto every single platform. But eventually I got into the swing of things like everyone else.
I enjoyed the social media. At first. I didn’t get sucked into the hole, comparing myself to others until I finally logged off feeling less than. Instead I posted photos. Sometimes. I looked at others’ posts. Sometimes. I commented on things. Sometimes.
I thought I was quite clever and creative on some of my accounts but never got a ton of attention. Which I was perfectly okay with that. I barely thought about it. I certainly didn’t measure my worth based off some likes or followers. I was far too busy living my life.
Then I started working for myself. And everyone and their moms told me over and over how important it was to maintain social media accounts, SEO, and whatever other tech terms were thrown around. So I started more accounts specific to my business.
At first I was down with this. I was already hip to this world. I had fun with it. I was convinced I had this in the bag. Plus I can read and ask questions. I set them up, researched how to make them work to my advantage, and put the knowledge to use.
I spent a lot of time cultivating my online presence but didn’t attract the attention I thought I should. Once I came to terms with my limitations I hired a legit professional but that also didn’t quite panned out the way I’d expected. I couldn’t help myself. Someone with way more knowledge and experience didn’t seem to be much help. I was at a loss.
I began to see likes and followers and comments differently. They were now potential clients or networking opportunities. I felt this pressure to post often, not just whenever inspiration struck like in the past. That pressure also told me that every post had to be epic. Epic because I equated survival with money and money with having clients so now I was fully responsible for making that happen with the help of this Internet magic everyone preached.
Flailing, I read more and more and more until I OD’d on information. The info was often conflicting and much of it didn’t ring true for me. I had no desire to post selfie after selfie hashtagged “livingmybestlife” no matter how cute I looked or was living my best life.
Besides trying to navigate this new world, I also had to provide the service I was selling, which can be exhausting in and of itself at times. As well, there are always other professional, creative, and personal pursuits. Throughout all this, work stopped being fun, which I find highly ironic given that my business is freaking called FUNdaMENTAL Growth.
I was burnt out, thought I was a failure (I mean, how can I not master something that’s literally at my fingertips?), and had way too much of my self and professional worth tied up into what had once been silly, little, fun things for me.
I questioned what I was doing with my life. I questioned the state of society. I saw what seemed like person after person offering less than stellar services and content killing it (Okay, a little ego crept in here.). I say all this in past tense but I’m still there in the present to some extent.
I don’t have much of an end to this story. Yet.
I still don’t know the secrets to social media or online marketing. I don’t think I like it much when it isn’t just for fun. I still have almost zero desire to post to my professional accounts. I network and everyone’s like, “Oh your social media account…” and I experience noticeable physical reactions of anxiety.
At the same I’ve also begun to get a grip on my thought process and behaviors. Realizing that I wasn’t being mindful in this process I began to spend more time in the present moment. I caught myself stuck in my go-to cycle: things don’t quite go my way so I try harder, which only makes things worse. My wisdom told me to interrupt that cycle with some good ol’ doing nothing seemingly related to that which I hate.
I’ve taken some of that time spent frustrated on social media to reestablish a consistent yoga and meditation practice that I enjoy far more than being on a computer.
Through this and being more mindful overall, I’ve realized I lost touch with my intuition. I don’t enjoy spending a whole lot of time on social media. Or learning about it. So why was I forcing myself?
If I don’t feel inspired to do it I shouldn’t be doing it. No one enjoys forced, inauthentic media content or interactions.
If that means my accounts stay quiet for days (weeks, months) at a time so be it. If I don’t feel like reading about it I’m not going to. If that means figuring out a different way to network and put myself out there so be it. If it means allowing the space for the secrets of the social media universe to wash over me or hiring an intern who was born knowing these secrets that works too.
Really, there is no magic social media formula and there has to be some dumb luck involved in everything. Plus who’s ever established a truly high quality empire in only a couple years?
The people I want to model myself after aren’t the overnight Internet sensations (Who now that I think about it do often seem to be offering forced, inauthentic media content.).
The people I admire achieve outward success while also remaining true to themselves and their values. These same people are always learning, growing, and struggling the same as me, you, and everybody else. Why did I expect anything different for myself?
This is a work in progress but since I’ve stepped off my hamster wheel things have improved. At least as far as my attitude. I love to shove that square peg as far into the round hole as I can when I don’t know what else to do. Instead I should be twisting myself into some semblance of a pretzel and breathing. The ever elusive concept of letting go. Yet it’s the only thing that ever really works. And I don’t want something as silly as some social media to actually kill me.