Service oriented and purpose driven entrepreneurs often run into the issue of “being in the public eye.” We just want to change the world, leave our mark, and make the difference we know we were born to make. We don’t necessarily care about recognition and praise and awards. Sometimes, sure. But mostly, we care about doing the work and making the changes we want to make.
So there’s something that feels yucky about social media and sharing so much about ourselves online… like it’s narcissistic and detracts from the work and serving other people. I get it, I do.
You might not think I really get it because I share so much. Because I post selfies and share things from the darkest corners of my soul, the deepest wounds in my heart, and the most raw and vulnerable spaces of my life. Sometimes I share pictures of my cats and — gasp! — even my food.
Here’s a thing you need to know about me first:
I exist in this life in service of very specific work.
I’m as purpose-driven as they come, and I’m incredibly devoted to being of service in the ways I feel called to lead and teach and support others. I know why I’m here, and that’s made all the difference for me over the years in so many ways.
When you’re truly aligned with your purpose and the work you’re here to do, it’s easy to devote yourself fully to it. Being of service to that work is a total mind, body, heart, and soul commitment. It’s unlike anything else.
So when it comes to things like social media and putting yourself out there, it’s more about being of service to the work than about serving your ego.
The fact is, we crave real, human connection.
We’re tired of being marketed to and interfacing with corporate feeling companies. We want depth, story telling, and truth. We want to feel like we belong and that there’s someone else who’s been where we are. We want to know we’re not alone. And yes, we even want to see what other people eat, because we want to know that there are real people on the other side of the screen.
It’s true. I’ve had clients tell me before, “I love seeing pictures of your cats and what you’re eating, it lets me know you’re a real person doing real things.”
Sharing ourselves online is a part of the work.
Of course it depends on you, your business, and your audience, but for most of us it’s a part of connecting and relationship building. It’s how we begin building our communities and creating lasting bonds with the people who believe in what we’re doing or need what we’re offering.
Tell your stories.
Stories are how we connect, not well written marketing copy or sales pages. Real stories from our life experiences, or from the people we’ve worked with in the past. Stories are how we relate and find common ground. It’s how we go from strangers to kindred spirits and new friends. It’s how we see ourselves in one another and feel safe in opening up ourselves. We all have stories… some are juicier and crazier than others, some are simple and straightforward, and some will make you belly laugh harder than you ever have before. All of these are perfect and awesome. Start sharing some of your stories with the people in your sphere.
Share a little bit of your world.
You don’t have to share everything, and you get to decide what parts and pieces make sense to put out into the world. But start sharing a little bit more than you have been. Don’t pretend to be perfect or only focus on business and marketing messaging. People want to know YOU and that you’re a real person, so give them a little something every now and then. Show them the adventures of your summer or the laziness of your Saturday morning. Show them the foods you love and the friends who get your time. Peel back the curtains and let them see your home or office. It’s one of the simplest ways to start connecting.
Be a real person.
This one’s easy… because you’re already a real person with interests and guilty pleasures and hobbies. With family and friends, and fun adventures in your free time. A person who maybe reads books or has an obsession with succulents. Whatever it is that makes you unique, be willing to let others see that. And whatever it is that makes you human (the missteps and oopsies of your days), share that too. We try too hard to appear perfect, and all that does is create a sense of separation between us and our audience. When we’re willing to admit we’re human and make mistakes, it’s far easier to connect with those around us.
It’s not about you, it’s about the work. And sometimes that means you need to be front and center and willing to share a little bit of yourself.
How will you start sharing more today?