I remember the day that I actively shared my first blog post. I had written five just for me – not showing anyone else – and had decided that I wanted to put myself and my thoughts out into the big wide world of Facebook and Twitter for my friends to see.
I was so nervous to be sharing my writing because I was being so candid online about my struggles as well as my victories, my conflicting thoughts as well as that which I’m truly passionate about. But I knew it was important for me to take this step and share my thoughts with others; it was important for me to start to speak up in this world. I suppose it came from the desire that I have put into action as a coach – a desire to speak up and be heard and a desire to now support others to speak up and be heard themselves.
And I’ve been surprised ever since by the support I’ve received – countless people who have read my posts and, in doing so, encouraged me and my writing.
It’s become so natural to share my words with friends that I don’t even think twice now about posting them online to you, dear friend – whether it’s about my struggles with comfort eating, tearing my hair out in frustration about my people pleasing habits, my worries about how I will be as a parent and whether I’ll be bored out of my skull as a mother… So thank you for the time you’ve spent reading my words because it’s such an encouragement to know that they matter to you.
But despite settling into the world of sharing my inner thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been feeling the call for a while now to post onto LinkedIn. I’ve been aware of the growing chasm between my personal life and my ‘professional’ online persona – two worlds yet to merge. I want to have no difference in how I show up in my personal life and at work. Still, I felt nervous about posting onto LinkedIn, partially because of the seesaw of conflict within me.
What if people read what I’m putting out there and think less of me? If they do think less of me, do I really care? Are they people whose opinion matters (or should matter) to me?
What if future employers read my words and decide that I’m not the right person to offer a job to? Would I really want to work for a company like that? And what if a future employer reads my words and reaches out to me because they decide I’m exactly the right person to offer a job to?
What if people see my coaching profile on LinkedIn and, as a result of the articles I share, choose not to work with me? My highest value – the thing that is the most important to me in life – is authenticity. How can I put myself out there as an authentic coach but only present my picture perfect persona?
And so regardless of my misgivings and anxiety, I started to post articles on LinkedIn…started to merge my work and personal life. I first shared things selectively – musings that had some relevance with the professional realm as much as they were to do with my personal life but, pretty soon after that, I just decided to let go and share everything – to see how things evolved…and I was blown away by the result.
Some people contacted me with thanks for what I had shared, others expressed interest in working with me as a coach and there were some who chose to click through to my website to read more about what I have to say. Like when I started to share myself on Facebook, I felt humbled, encouraged and so grateful for the connections that started to emerge.
So what have I learnt from this experience? A hell of a lot! And many lessons I hope will stay with me for the long run…
- No-one will be liked universally by everyone but sharing of myself with honesty and authenticity is the one true way to find my band of people in this world.
- I should give people more credit – all I have received from posting my thoughts to my professional network is acceptance and encouragement.
- We all desire real, honest connection (whether in or outside of work) and sharing of myself in this way is how I can create a world where people feel able to show up just as they are.
So I’ll keep on writing, keep on posting and keep on merging my professional and personal worlds.