I had an interesting time yesterday, discussing social media profiles with 16 -20 year olds. I’m struck by how naturally inspiring they are. They describe themselves by the way they want to live their lives.
What happens, as we get older, feel we have a reputation to uphold, we need to prove and justify and we transmit what we believe will make us credible. Exit the real you ……
We may look and say the adolescents’ view would be a bit clichéd for someone older and maybe it is, but surely it’s better to share a bit of who we are than just what we do.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying young people don’t care what others think. Of course they do, and there was plenty of angst about whether they would achieve, whether they were good enough, whether people would approve just as you might expect. At the same time though there was a sense of optimism and expectation in the way they show up on social media.
You see, we all need confidantes, trusted friends, mentors and we all need to explore and move through challenges and anxieties. What we don’t need is to keep telling ourselves we have something to prove. No one needs to justify their existence to clients, to friends or family and most of all to ourselves.
If you can learn to value yourself, understand what your special value to others is and how you contribute to the world then the job is half done.
Identifying What You Value
- Write, draw, record (whatever medium you like best) all the things you value about yourself.
- Give yourself time and space – it’s not always an easy exercise if you’ve not used to finding the good stuff.
- Acknowledge any negative thoughts, recognize they have a purpose (may be it is to keep you safe, protected or unchallenged, you know at some level what their purpose is) and let them go. Draw your focus back to the things you value
- When you can think of no more ask yourself very specifically “what else do I value”
- Keep writing until you have satisfied yourself you have everything out
What Is Your Special Value To Others
- Write, draw, record (whatever medium you like best) all the things you believe others value in you
- Prioritise your list, what are your top 3?
- Now the scary bit – ask people! Ask your friends, your family and your work colleagues what they most value and what do you contribute in their relationship with you
- Find the themes in this information, in there will be the value you bring to others
- Identify how this compares to your top 3
Distill your answers from above and decide how you want to contribute to the world.
All that is left is finding the courage to stand up and shine. Your social media profiles may be a place to start, do they really reflect you and the value you bring, is it really what you want to share?
I’m off now to revisit my profiles ….
Do tell us what you think in the comments section below.