November 10, 2020

Likes and Followers Aren't Career Definers

Conversations for Creatives

Value comes from within, not from a "like"

If you haven't begun to see the shift within my content, I hope this post will give you a bit more insight into the shift in my life and work.

Covid changed me. It changed me professionally and it shattered me personally. Yet, at the same time, Covid also gave me gifts that I'll never be able to replace or place a replacement value on.

Before lockdowns and putting holds on projects I felt myself chasing the all-mighty algorithm. The social media game is set up like this: pay to play [run ads], have a curated feed, post multiple times a day in stories - rinse and repeat daily. This cycle is the most draining, exhausting, and devaluing cycle known to the human race. Far too many people live and breathe by the number of likes, followers, or DM's when in reality all of those things are vanity metrics.

As creatives, artists, writers, and bloggers we have confused likes and followers as sources of value, validation, and worth. We no longer share authentic posts or thoughts - instead, each photograph and written post is contrived, planned, and worst of all created to fit ourselves into a square box. Funny isn't it? We crave uniqueness yet consume platforms that have trained us to be the same.

During my healing process [read the story here] I began to pull back from social media to the point of fully abandoning the platforms. The holistic health coach I had been working with suggested I start to meditate, create new morning habits, and put self-care at the top of my to-do list. Thinking that there aren't enough hours in the day, I documented an entire day from eyes open to eyes shut. A staggering amount of time was wasted on social media platforms under the guise of research, connecting with my "community", or keeping up on the latest news. Not a single ounce of this was adding value to my life. Instead, I was seeking validation for my craft through likes, comments, and followers.

Deciding to abandon social media for a week was my starting point that aligned with a much-needed vacation in a sleepy beach town. The quest for social validation quickly faded and the quest for self-validation took the forefront. My "likes" transitioned from external to internal and the days seemed to last forever. I was walking for blocks on the beach, reading non-fiction books cover to cover in days, journaling, and engaging in meaningful conversation rather than quick replies with witty emojis. And lastly, my mental, emotional, and physical health had improved so much that I couldn't imagine backsliding now.

It is within our human nature to belong. We crave community and tribe, yet the fear of being ousted by others scares more than being like by ourselves. This my friends are where we aren't so smart. Our value and worth is a set point within ourselves. No one else can determine our value; not the haters, not the ones who offer critique or criticism. For those in the creative world and struggle with value, self-worth, and seeking external validation - I challenge you to step away from the sources that you crave validation from and validate yourself. Find projects and hobbies that bring you joy, not for likes or followers, and watch your life expand in ways you never thought possible.

Now you might be thinking this the end of the business and you know, it might be. But I know that deep in my heart and soul showing up and presenting myself and my business to suit that algorithm isn't me living my best life or being true to myself. My faith and trust are knowing that what is meant for me will come to life and what is not right for me will not be revealed.