I just read a post by Susannah Conway – Can we be honest. It got quite the epic response.
She talks about being real and blogging with authenticity, something that I, along with every other blogger and coach, have gone blue in the face thinking and talking about.
No one knows just what the ‘right balance’ is between transparency and authenticity. We’re all touting “be open, be authentic, be honest” while at the same time, struggling against ourselves.
Everyone (me included) hazards a guess:
- share just enough to show you’ve been there but don’t let them know if you’re there right now, cos that will just make you seem like you don’t have your sh** together
- don’t speak about anything personal, keep it professional
- be who you are and talk about anything you want, your right people will be drawn to you
- be authentic, yet with enough expertise so that you’re seen as someone relatable AND experienced
Well, here’s the thing.
You know it. I know it. They know it.
NO ONE has their sh** together all the time.
You don’t. I don’t. They don’t.
We all choose to show our shiny, happy faces online so we can stay true to our online personas, our brands but we ALL know that we ALL fall, burn, crash, get up again.
This isn’t a bad thing, heck, consistency pretty much rocks the socks off one-offs to built any kind of long term success – be it in business, relationships, blogging, health, or any aspect of life.
But just how much sharing is too much sharing?
Should you blog as an expert or as someone who’s in the trenches? Do you write about things with a positive twist on them as in “this happened and this is what I learned and this is what you can do now”? Or should you be more open about your failures in the now?
Is is too much to talk about what’s happening AS it’s happening?
Susannah: I’m as guilty as anyone of avoiding this space when I’m feeling down — that’s when I have no energy to string words together and would rather be watching Buffy Season Six with a blanket over my knees.
Replace Buffy with Scrubs or How I Met Your Mother reruns (and Nutella), and that could well be me.
One who found herself so totally consumed by recent circumstances that she couldn’t for the life of her focus elsewhere or shake off the tiredness and processing long enough to pen down some of those thoughts and share.
Because to show up would mean talking about something that was going on IN the moment instead of arriving at a conclusion with lessons learned and nicely wrapped up in a pretty little post for you to scan and for her to feel like she’d been authentic, shared AND inspired you to learn, grow or change something. Win-Win.
I’m talking about me.
And getting caught up in appearances. “Doing it right”.
Sometimes, even though you have SO much to say, you can’t find the “right words” and have no energy to find them and so, you don’t.
Me: Even as I type this I’m realising how wrapped I am in HAVING the “right words” to say and how I didn’t want to write until I had a nice little revelation to authentically and skilfully present from my experience.
As bloggers and coaches we often tread the line between transparency and authenticity and it can be hard to decide how much to share. We’re often so busy mining for the nuggets to share in our story instead of being in the moment and being truly vulnerable, that we lose the impact.
I think for me it comes down to – get the eff over myself and share.
Not bleed all over my blog, but share the process as is and not worry about being insightful, educational, evocative or inspirational. Cos somehow, that just tags along.
And so here I am. Talking about what wants to be talked about. With no bows or neatly packaged lessons to learn.
- I’m tired of people (yes, I’m one of them) sharing AFTER they’ve processed.
- I’m tired of hiding out untill I have something of ‘value’ (as defined by me) to share
The couple of times I’ve shared my process while IN it has been hugely powerful in moving me through it faster AND you seeing exactly how it’s done. It doesn’t make me a less powerful leader.
I want to believe that it doesn’t take away any of my credibility or expertise to stand up and say this is who and where I am.
Some days I’m a firework bursting with energy, ideas and confidence, some days I’m a candle burned to the end and it’s all I can do to flicker weakly.
Life is freakin’ messy, yo. Gorgeous, and also messy.
For me, you, our clients.
But that doesn’t make us any less awesome at what we do and who we are.
Instead, I believe it makes us AWESOMER.
Some questions are burning in my mind and I’d love to hear what you think.
- How much do you share online?
- Do you want to share more / less / the same? Why?
- Do you have the balance you seek in your blogging?
- Would it help your clients and readers to see not just the end result but the process too?
- What would that mean for your ego / business / bottomline?
- Do you think it’s better to draw a line?
- What’s that line for you?
- What if you stopped hiding and struggling on your own?
- What if being a leader meant talking, walking and showing the path while you’re still ON it?
- Do you sometimes find yourself “stuck” or “uninspired” when it comes to writing?
- Have you ever gone a few weeks without blogging and ‘shoulded’ / beaten yourself up about it .. y’know “I haven’t blogged in 3 weeks, yikes, I really should be….” but not had the courage or clarity to write about whatever was going on in the moment?
- If you did, would that be scary? Helpful?
I don’t have an answer to all the questions I posed and I suspect there isn’t any one right answer anyways. However, what Susannah and I feel, is something you’ve been feeling too. And together, we can communicate, share, reach out to each other and find our own answers.
Ultimately, it’s about living with authenticity and awareness.
Your online persona and your offline worlds have merged so much, that you simply cannot keep them apart today. One of the biggest challenges facing you then, is putting these pieces together and seeing what your puzzle looks like.