How Are You Distorting the Facts to Create Your Own Story?
I'm halfway through this book Be Excellent At Anything, and already, it has profoundly changed my life in more ways than I can count. My 2017 intentions of ease & expand were inspired by the notion presented in the introduction that we as humans are meant to pulse between moments of exerting energy and rest. And something I read last night still has me spinning my wheels.
A fact is something that can be objectively verified by any person. It is irrefutable... A story, by contrast, is something we create to make sense of the facts. We do so because human beings are meaning-making animals. We seek to understand. The problem is that we often tell our stories so fast that we mistake them for the facts and then treat our stories as if they're irrefutably true. Also, because bad is stronger than good, we often instinctively tell negative stories.
How many times have you not heard back from a client after sending a proposal, and you are certain that they are not going to sign? Then you start getting angry at how rude it is that they couldn't even bother to write you back. And you start to dislike this person because of how inconsiderate they have been. Then when they finally reach back out, they apologize profusely for the delayed response; they've had a personal emergency, or were on a serious deadline for a project of their own. Whatever the reason is, there is typically always a reason why, and then you feel badly afterwards for assuming this person was a true monster.
How much time do you spend worried about why that one awesome photo on Instagram didn't get as many likes as you typically receive? Do you get upset when you see your follower count stagnates? Does it sting every time someone unsubscribes from your email list? The fact is, yes, you received less likes, lost some followers and subscribers, but the story you make up ranges from, "I'll never post another photo of avocado toast again" to "What I have to say is no longer valuable".
We are all guilty of creating these elaborate stories that make us feel like what we're doing isn't good enough, or that people don't like us, or that we won't succeed in our business.
But here are some other facts to take into consideration:
- We are overloaded with information. The average American consumes 74 gigabytes of information each day! That's an average of 15.5 hours of consuming data every single day.
- The average person needs to be reminded 7 times before they remember to make a purchase.
- You are good enough. You are valued. The world needs to hear what you have to say.
That being said, I encourage you to look at your marketing strategy with the expectation that everyone is overloaded. Be respectful of that, and only share content that is valuable to your ideal customer in a manner that seeks to serve & connect with them, ultimately establishing you as the expert in your field. In a practical sense, this means it's OK if you don't post every day - you're human. It also means, don't take it personally when one post doesn't perform as well as the others from the past week. Keep it in mind, and see if a pattern emerges. If similar posts continuously get less engagement, then you have enough facts to make a decision from there.
We often forget to remind our audience how they can hire us. We get new followers every day, so if you haven't introduced yourself in a while to explain what you do, you're missing out on opportunities to generate new leads. Ensure that you are consistently sharing what you do, and how to hire you with your audience.
Finally, even though we are inundated with information, there is nobody out there who has what you have to offer and is sharing it in exactly your unique way. Keep pushing forward. Keep thinking of your ideal customer. Continue providing them with excellent customer service and sharing your incredible gifts of knowledge. Building your foundation may take time, but you're taking the time to ensure it is built to last.
The next time you start to make up a negative story based on a few one-sided facts, think about the facts on the other side of the story. What other information can you gather to help you paint a more clear picture?
What other techniques do you have to help you from going down that negative mental spiral? And if you're having a hard time deciphering all the facts for yourself, let's touch base during Virtual Office Hours or for a 1-on-1 Strategy Session!