It’s Personal but don’t take it Personally
Whether you’re looking for people to engage with you to build your reputation and get promoted, to find a potential date, to sign up to your cause or to enroll clients or customers, getting the attention of those who are on the same wavelength involves showing you’re a real person. You need to reveal your personal passions and quirks, tell your story, express how you feel and highlight what’s different about you.
Without this personal expression, your word will blend into the fog of all the other messages 'out there' and those you're looking to engage will not recognise that your message is relevant to them. They will not be attracted to you.
For many, this goes against all the learning of their childhood and teen years where fitting in was the name of the game. Even if this was matching the ideas of your friends rather than family, conforming seemed of great importance.
Most of us gradually find that fitting in isn’t all its cracked up to be and actually the approval of others isn’t essential to our survival. As we reveal more of ourselves and our vulnerability, our relationships deepen and we discover others who share or complement our preferences.
The internet and social media can take that feeling of exposure, we have when we express ourselves fully, to the next level. Many talk about their fear of putting themselves ‘out there’ and imagine a whole load of possible horrors that might happen if they do.
When expressing ourselves fully, we speak from our heart, from a deeper pace of knowing, we share what is important to us without overly censoring. Our engagement in that expression means we are not tuned into, or taking notice of, judgmental thinking or 'what if' imaginings.
Sooner or later, we notice those thoughts and all their accompanying feelings again. We forget why we felt drawn to share which was essentially to connect with like minded people. We critically review our performance and we take personally the actual or predicted reactions of those who are not like minded. Expressing our unique perspective is not a good strategy for universal popularity.
We need to know that...
- The chances of all that we imagine might happen as a result of our communication are pretty slim, human beings are not as expert in predicting the future as they think.
- If bad stuff does happen, we’ll cope, it might not be pleasant for a while but we know better than to take to heart the words of a stranger. Their reactions say very little about us.
- We can not really judge what will be positive or negative in the long term. A critical comment may spark a really fruitful conversation.
- If we are expressing our unique selves fully, and therefore giving ourselves the best chance of connecting with others who share our views, any reaction is a mark of success.
- Communication is a constant learning process, we might use inappropriate words or be unclear and its only by getting feedback and refining our message that we can increase our expertise.
- We tend to be overly critical of ourselves and mistakes that seem huge to us often are not even noticed by our audience.
- It is only by getting our communication 'out there' that we are able to see all this for ourselves. Thinking about it is often much worse than taking the action.