“We all have a limited number of fucks to give, pay attention to where and who you gave them to.” ~ Mark Manson, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck
Throughout this series, many of you have shared remarks regarding the ‘voice’ of my writing. To attempt summarization of your words would be wholly unjust to the raw power of their sentiments. It’s as if someone was training you to make compliments…
Jokes aside, I’ve struggled my entire life to speak authentically. I didn’t know how to differentiate my voice from the influence of the world around me — until recently.
Before launching my blog, I committed myself to write for forty-five minutes a day for thirty days — to maintain a journal. It took me a week to realize I was “blogging” or writing to present myself as I wanted others to see me. To counter that habit, I started “streaming” and would often start sessions with “I’m typing in my journal because I said I would… I’m not sure how I feel, but I promised myself I would express myself.” Basically, I had to keep typing — no matter what. By the end of the sessions I would find myself breaking through a mental wall and uncovering thoughts I didn’t know where there. In a sense, I had dug in and found my core voice.
Over time I was able to get to my core, most authentic voice, more quickly.
Humorously enough, there’s an app for this now called Write or Die. If you stop writing it starts deleting — you write or you die. There are different difficulty settings (harder levels delete faster), but the key to finding the core is to keep digging.
Jesse C. shared, “My consistent hurdle is not really knowing what I’m great at.”
It’s a bit like digging a hole on a beach. If you pause your efforts and come back to them tomorrow, yesterday’s progress will be unnoticeable. However by focusing your energy into a “session” you are able to make more meaningful progress.
Daniel A. responded to the Sell Your Story piece with the insight that, “some will respond well to (logic), but other need a more narrative approach.”
You’d be wise to remember his words. When I finally wrote my first article I shared it with a friend, a family member, and then a colleague. I shared it with fourteen people with a diverse mix of experience and connection to me. Every time they responded with overwhelming positivity for what I had written and every time I found a way to refute their praise. Finally, I realized that I needed to share the piece with someone who’s experience in marketing I admired… that who wasn’t particularly fond of me.
Immediately, I knew who. The head of marketing for a global brand whom quite insistently quashed my romantic advances. I nagged her for three days before getting a text response of, “you’re a fucking evil genius.” After the overwhelming positivity of so many others, it was at this point I felt it might be ready to post.
It was a narrative article over two thousand words long that told a single story and kind of taught a weird lesson about Facebook ads — it went viral.
The viral success of my first article was a paradox… or was it?
I broke every rule. I went way over the “blogger recommended” 800 words, I didn’t write sharable bullet points, and didn’t write it for a target audience… it still went viral.
I had always valued the freedom of voice expressed by Ash Ambirge, going so far as to read one of her articles before writing any one of mine… just to get in the mood.
This viral traffic was an awakening to the power of giving selective fucks.
I poked at this feeling for a year before it became an epiphany. I wasn’t creating for anyone other than myself. The more I worked to authentically communicated me, the more I would attract those that are genuinely connected. As the saying goes, “do as you love and you will find those that love as you do.
Marianna E. shared a heartfelt message and within it stated rather emphatically, “I feel like you are a kindred spirit.“ I laughed, cried, and glowed — she’s my people.
Something shared by Kingshuk M. also struck me, but in a different way. He said, “I’m not positioning myself as an expert, more of a social guinea pig, and recording / reporting my findings.” How interesting, I thought, that’s exactly what I’m doing. In fact, just about a year ago I hit a creative wall and told my good friend,
“I don’t want to teach, I want to model — talking about what I’ve done, not what you should be doing.” This focus has continually given me more time and more energy.
Kingshuk M. is also my kind of people, but in a slightly different way.
In reference to yesterday’s email ‘Empty Words Unsaid‘ Boy shared, “This email, and all previous, made me think that you are the pickup artist of social media.”
He went on to recommend ‘The Game‘ a story of how author Neil Strauss penetrated the secret society of pickup artists. I told Boy that not only had I read the book some years ago, but I always loved it’s parallels to the marketing world — it inspired this.
He reminded me of a fantastic interview of Neil Strauss by Tim Ferriss where they discussed the freedom of an authentic voice, something I hadn’t heard in years.
By turning my focus within, I was able to find my authentic voice. By working to speak that voice, I was able to find my kind of people. You people.
If you pretend, you will attract pretenders. If you fake, you will attract fakers.
If you are you… you will attract friends. Focus daily on finding a little more of you.
If you’re reading this (especially this far in) please know that you are appreciated and that you should never be afraid of speaking your voice. The more you push people away, the more you distill the connection you have with those who are left.
When was the last time you found a new piece of you?