I think most of us have at least a few people that we find inspiring. Based on this we end up thinking that we like a person when in reality we just like what they do.
Listening to the songs a person sings or watching the tvs and movies that they star in is not the same as knowing them. You can’t get to know a person based on them performing and pretending to be someone else.
This is why people end up having a rude awakening when they discover traits that they don’t like in an actor, singer, influencer or presenter.
You end up feeling disappointed as if your relationships to these people are personal when they actually have no idea who you are.
When you’re going through something uncomfortable, difficult or challenging it can be easy to forget that other people are experinecing something similar.
Millions if not billions of people have gotten nervous before a job interview, been heartbroken or struggled with anxiety.
It’s not specific to you or personal to you, it just happens to be happening in your life at the moment.
But it’s happening to everybody else too.
There’s a cocktail bar that offers you a free cocktail in exchange for a few personal details when you sign up to the mailing list.
Your name, email and date of birth.
I think it’s interesting that we’re willing to trade this information for a drink.
That drink might cost around $13 which is of course much more than it’s actually worth and if the glass is full of ice, it’s worth even less.
But for the bar it’s clear that giving out a free drink is worth it in exchange for your name, email and date of birth. Once you give them your information, whilst you get a free drink in return they now have permission to send you stuff and it might be stuff you don’t actually want.
More importantly, the free drink can only be redeemed by visiting the bar. So now you have to visit and when you do it’s more likely than not that you’ll also end up paying for drinks once you get you’re free one.
Getting feedback can be terrifying.
Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.
I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.
And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.
But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.
And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.
But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.
The viewer or the consumer does not have to care about what went on behind the scenes. They are there for the art not the person and I think that in some cases that’s the way it should be.
In other cases, like on social media, the consumer is often there for the person just as much as if not more than they’re there for the art (or whatever creative thing that the person does).
This is why people with highly dedicated fans/followers will be supported no matter what they do.
I think that because of social media there are now blurred lines between what is business and what is personal.
But it is important to know that just because you’re visible online and people may know what you do it doesn’t mean that they care. Some people are there for the work, not for you and that is perfectly alright.
So, if you offer a product or service and the customer is not satisfied they might voice how they feel. If it is not considered good enough the customer doesn’t necessarily care that you did your best and that you will be better next time. They care that they bought someone thing they are not happy with.
And so your job is not to find customers that care about you personally but to instead to show up, create great work and deliver.
There will always be things that you need to do but don’t necessarily enjoy.
Often it’s these kinds of things that are good in the long run but in the moment, in the short run you’d rather not bother.
If it’s in a work environment you’ll most likely get it done because you have have to. However, when it comes to your own personal work or projects you might not have a monthly wage to motivate you to get things done.
And so you have to remind yourself of the benefits it will bring in the future.
But also remind yourself that if you don’t do it you’re more than likely to regret it later on when you’re unable to reap the rewards.
When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?
A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’
I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.
For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.
Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’
Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.
A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.
And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.
In the age of social media it’s easy to overshare. You can go from sharing behind the scenes of your business, hobby or creative work to showing people what you ate for breakfast, how you ruined your manicure and asking for suggestions for your new hair colour.
For some people, it works, they like sharing themselves with people in that way. But for others it would be considered too much.
It’s can be challenging to judge whether you need to push yourself to share more online or if sharing more is the wrong thing for you.
If you find yourself caught up in uncertainty over what to share online, consider why you want to share those details.
Does it add to the work you create, does it add value, is it something you’re comfortable doing or is it just more ‘stuff’ to scroll through?
A question I’m learning to ask myself without judgement?
It’s easy to judge yourself and in doing so you’re not likely to answer the question in a way that is helpful.
You’ll be likely to find yourself caught up in a woe is me story-line. Your answer will be something like: ‘Well, I’m trying and it’s just not working out the way I want and I wish it could be better but maybe I’m just not good enough…’.
That sort of mentality isn’t helpful and it won’t result in growth, development or progress.
When it comes to improving on something you can’t attach emotions to your critique because it isn’t personal.
When asking the question Can I do better? it isn’t even really about a yes or no answer because one could argue that you can always do better. Instead it’s about whether you are happy to put out the thing you’ve created or the work that you’ve done.
Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.
With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.
Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.
As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.
But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.
These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.
I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.
For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.
Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.
It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.