If Your Message Feels Unpolished
I can’t share my story because it’s not edgy enough. It’s not relatable or powerful or polished with the perfect quotes at the perfect time.
My toddler came home from a birthday party last weekend with all the stories. I knew who was there, what they were wearing, what presents the birthday girl got and had an incredibly detailed description of the handlebar she jumped on to zip line across the gym; of exactly how it felt to land in the foam ball pit.
We all have stories to tell. Stories of what inspire us, make us laugh, or bring us joy. Stories that others can relate to or be encouraged by. All of our stories no matter who we are can make a difference in someone else’s life. What keeps us from sharing them like we did when we were kids?
Why do we get so wrapped up in how our message will be perceived that we’re too paralyzed to speak?
What I’ve Learned From Building My Blog
This past year has involved building this website, learning how to write a blog in a non-verbal vomit kind of way, and polishing and putting my talks into PowerPoint. It has involved learning to use Illustrator to make header images and quote shares and how to code to box testimonials and place colors where I want on the site.
Putting a face to my message was exhausting.
After the site was up, I’ve tried to learn social media sharing of my blog links. On Twitter, the pictures didn’t display with the links which led to many, and I’m talking many, delete and reshares. On Instagram, I tried to separate comments with the line separators that always seem to end up looking like……. and to figure out how to # the world to have more people than my besties looking at it.
Sharing my message felt artificial.
I’ve also been learning how to dialogue with speaking organizations about content and fees, how to promote talks and follow-up to get feedback, how to record or film so that I can have copies to share for other gigs.
I mean, dang. Rolling out this blog and speaking ministry has felt incredibly unpolished at times.
Attempting To Polish
I made the mistake of comparing where I was at, comparing my approach, with well-established bloggers and speakers. While we should get tips and inspiration from other storytellers, this comparison game made me feel like I had to learn all the things yesterday to catch up.
I talked to friends that had been through the blog or speaking startup phase for tips. I felt stressed to share daily posts, comment regularly, and always have something profound or meaningful with every picture to stay relevant and at the top of news feeds. I listened to podcasts on how to share your story, build your platform, etc. in an efficient and organic way.
I found though, that the more advice I got, the more doubt, stress, and insecurity I had which made me reconsider why I am doing this.
I started this ministry, this website to help and encourage others, not to keep up with the blogging Joneses.
After losing my phone at FOCUS SLS18 this year, a place that would’ve been gold to socially network at by sharing quotes, pictures, and live behind-the-scene videos, I had a real gut check on this self-imposed race to catch up. After a real come to Jesus, smartphone free week, I remembered that my ministry is not a machine.
If our message is feeling mechanical or inauthentic then we need to make amendments or be open to cutting it altogether.
I still felt great peace about sharing the message, about the site and the blog. I still felt called to share. I just needed to learn to put my flair on it.
My husband and I did a segment for The 700 club on prayer this week. Our pastor, Fr. Matya, and Brad reflected on how they felt covered the month following the accident and I shared how it encouraged me as I continued therapy in Atlanta and Tennessee. To prepare for the segment I reviewed Caring Bridge comments a bit in a post, but left most of it to where the conversation led.
They came over to our house in the morning and, while I did my best to curl my hair and do makeup, I forgot to remove my hair ties from my wrist or a headache imposed Diet Coke from my feet. Oops.
When I looked at this picture my husband took, I just laughed. I’m learning this year to do all I can to prep the week’s post during naps and Brad’s trips, but then embrace the caffeine-fueled, peanut butter and jelly stained, delete and reshare blog posts chapter that I’m in. Because that is a part of my story.
A Reformed Approach
The other week my blog had two typos the day it posted that family and friends pointed out. The morning it got auto-shared by WordPress it posted the wrong picture to Facebook so I had to delete and reshare directly from the site. Despite these errors, it was by far my most popular blog.
That blog just reaffirmed what I’ve been feeling this year. Your message doesn’t have to be perfectly polished to share it.
Whatever your story, message or platform is, it’s far more relatable, more human, more likable if it’s not perfect.
Wherever we’re sitting today – whether it’s at work, in a minivan, online, or hanging with friends – we are there for a reason. We have influence. Each and every one of us. We don’t have to clamor to keep up or copy and paste our message. We can make the most of where we are, typos and all.
I’m trying to embrace a new approach called figuring it out as you go. No one’s life is stagnant. We had a new kid so let’s figure out what life looks like now. We moved jobs, homes, or states so let’s adjust and find what our new normal is. Sharing our message should be no different.
I set a new goal of learning one thing a week – BlogLovin is up this week – rather than feeling stressed that I don’t know all the things.
I felt convicted this year just to lay the measurements down. Lay the follower, like, and share count down. Lay down the perfectly timed share and retweets to coincide with when most viewers are on. Lay it all down.
The value of your story is not measured by social media metrics. Sharing your story authentically and encouraging others trump shares and retweets any day of the week.
Why do you think it’s hard to share your story? How do you put your own flair on your message and be OK with figuring it out as you go?