so the funny thing is, very few people know that i blog. when i started blogging my family eventually found out, but i never told my friends. and as of today, as far as i know, none of my friends know about my blogs.
i’ll probably tell them sometime, or they’ll probably figure it out somehow through twitter or somewhere. the funny thing is that i tweet out a link every time i write a new post, but yet my best friend – the only close friend who follows me on twitter – still hasn’t figured it out. or maybe she has and there’s a reason why she hasn’t said anything haha? anyway, i’m pretty sure no one knows.
so why the secrecy among the people i know? i guess it’s not so much secrecy, just a choice not to broadcast my blogging. but why shouldn’t i be proud of what i write, and be happy to share it with people?
the thing is, i am proud of my writing (if i’m allowed to say that). if nothing else, i’m proud of it because it’s something i love to do and i hold dear this little creative outlet i’ve grown for myself.
but in all honesty, i’m terrified to share.
and the deep down issue with all of this is that i’m honest-to-goodness scared about what people might think of me, despite how badly i want to pretend that other people’s opinions don’t matter to me, despite all the motivational messages that are shoved in our faces telling us that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. i know, i know, i know, but try telling that to a brain that has emotions all wrapped in it, plus a life full of conforming to the reputation the world has placed on it. it sounds so petty, but i’m scared, and it’s the truth.
with my healthy living blog, (www.thehealthynotes.blogspot.com) i’m scared that people might think that it’s silly of me to be blogging about living a healthy life when i’m not an “athlete,” or a registered dietitian, or a personal trainer, or a health coach, or anything similar. i’m just one random person out there who sees the value of healthy living and wants to share it with others.
and then there’s this blog. i can’t decide which one i’m more afraid to tell my little world about.
and to level with you, i’m scared that people that know me might read my words on this blog and find me ridiculous.
there, i said it. that, right there, sums it up. i’m afraid of the snickers, of the behind-my-back-comments, of not being taken seriously. “you wrote some stupid flowery thing on lipstick???”
okay, i basically pour out about seven-eighths of my heart into these words. the other eighth i keep to myself, since some special heart-secrets are good for a person, but i’ve put the rest out there, for anyone that cares to take the time to read it. (which, by the way, if you’re reading this, thank you thank you thank you for sparing a moment out of your day to hear me.)
so i give a lot of myself with my writing. and with all the giving, giving, giving, i feel like the defenses i’ve had in place my whole life are going down, one-by-one, post-by-post. it’s left me feeling exhilarated, and alive, and liberated…but also very exposed, in a way i’ve tried to avoid my whole life.
and i just can’t shake this feeling of vulnerability.
to those acquaintances that know me from a distance, even a semi-close distance, i have a reputation, and a facade, and the internal pressure to keep it up. i’m seen as reserved. i’m known for being “smart,” however you want to take that. i’m known for niceness, and i’d venture to say that i’m perceived as being passive.
and i suppose there’s some truth to those statements, but that’s not me in a nutshell – in reality, the perception is very far from the truth that i see inside myself. that reputation – that outward perception – is only lightly touching the surface of me.
and for some reason it scares me to think of taking a step outside of that reputation, which is currently operating as my safety net. “tessa kohler” is liked, and accepted, and i don’t mind that in the slightest. “tessa kohler” has friends. “tessa kohler” isn’t criticized. “tessa kohler” is safe.
but “tessa kohler” also doesn’t write fiery blog posts about chivalry or happiness or other such deep matters in life.
so to take that step, and share what i write, is – to me – the equivalent of stepping out of a plane with a sketchy parachute, where you’re not quite sure if the whole falling-through-the-air-until-you-hit-the-ground thing was a smart idea. to share what i write with those people that already know me as a certain person, who acts a certain, predictable way – that would rock the ground just a little bit and suddenly i wouldn’t be that safe “tessa kohler” anymore.
and sometimes i can’t decide how badly i really want to share this with everyone. sometimes i really love coming here to write, and knowing that i can write whatever i please, because no one who reads this has those preconceived notions that terrify me so much. in those cases, my outward reputation is something i can hide behind, so while i stay safe and predictable in the real world, i’m also safe and free in the writing world that i adore.
but then again, sometimes i want to stand up in front of everyone i know and do some legit heart-and-guts-spilling, like i do here, in hopes that maybe i’ll actually be understood. and on those days, my stable reputation in my own little world doesn’t seem to loom over me as something that’s keeping me from expressing myself.
and yeah, i’ll probably end up sharing this completely unknown side of me someday. it probably won’t stay a secret forever. a friend will finally look at my tweets, or maybe i’ll drop a hint in a conversation, and people will figure it out eventually.
but for now, this is my place to be the real, legit, unrefined tessa, as cheesy and idealistic as that sounds. conquering those fears of altering the perception and the reputation is my mental and emotional work in progress at the moment. i’ve come to the realization that the more i write, the closer i draw to accomplishing that goal, so you can bet that’s what i’m going to keep doing.
here, i’m writing my heart, and my life. here i’m writing my true story.
here, i’m writing my reputation.
this post was inspired by the wordpress daily prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/daily-prompt-you/
27 thoughts on “confessions on reputations and being scared”
I hear you, we all have a fear of ourselves based on what other people may think. When we write a blog we are exposing a little bit more of our self but as long as we are being true to our-self than that’s all that matters :)
yes! that is very true! i need to remember that more and just go ahead and put myself out there. thank you for reading and commenting! :)
I know what you feel! I am afraid too sometimes… What would other think of me if I am being too honest in my blog. However, I decided that those who judge me and questioned my honest and my thought are evidently don’t know me that well the first place right? I have come to a realization that true friends will stick around no matter what :-)
that’s a really good point! i like looking at it that way! it’s the true friends who matter the most in the end, anyway. thank you for the thoughts, and thanks for reading! :)
I normally hate to put any of my own stuff in comments, as I feel like I’m hijacking a conversation with self-promotion, but in this case, I empathise with this and have written, too, about how fundamentally resistant I am to sharing my opinions, feelings and thoughts:
oh i love it! well-said! thank you for sharing! i pretty much second everything you wrote. also, thank you for reading my post and commenting! :)
Your blog is filled with such wonderful, refreshing posts of thoughtfulness and light and positivity! :) Your optimism when it comes to life and literature are just so uplifting. It’s really lovely.
aw thank you! i’m so glad you enjoy it! i really appreciate all of your thoughtful comments on my posts – i’ve had a lovely time reading through them today. you seem to have a very interesting and refreshing take on life, and i’ve had the pleasant experience of having my mind opened to different ideas i haven’t considered before, thanks to you. and thank you again for reading and taking the time to give your sincere feedback. i appreciate it so much! :)
I can understand hesitating to let those close to you know about your blogs. I debated for a while about it. When i finally let people know I was writing it was mostly met with wide indifference. I think some checked it out once, just to make sure I wasn’t writing about them.
oh that’s good to hear! that makes me feel better about letting people know about my blogging, whenever it happens. although i suppose indifference isn’t the absolutely most positive response, it’s better than negativity, and i’m certainly fine with indifference. thank you for taking the time to read and share your experience!
Loved your insights and thoughts. I also have not told any friends or family of my blog but mostly I just don’t think I am ready to hear their opinions on something else I do, since blogging is for me. I look forward to reading more about your true story.
i feel that same way, that blogging is for me. it’s my thing, and i’m kind of enjoying not hearing the opinions of those that know me, since i feel like their opinions are somewhat clouded by how they think i should be acting, based on how they perceive me in real life. thank you for taking the time to read and comment – i really appreciate your thoughts!
I’ve done this too! Nobody knows that I blog (and I don’t put it on any social media at this point). Part of it is in just started writing it and I don’t know what it will become. But there is also something easier about sharing your thoughts with strangers than with people who see you in the ‘real’ world. On my blog I feel like I can have whatever opinion I want and I can express myself freely.
i know what you mean! yes, somehow it is so much easier to share your thoughts with strangers. it somehow feels so much safer, especially when those thoughts are maybe out-of-the-ordinary. it’s largely that love of freedom of expression that has kept me from sharing my blogging. thank you for taking the time to read and comment – i really appreciate hearing your thoughts!
This particular post has me wanting to comment. I have not been blessed with a high opinion of myself. I struggle with it still and I know how it feels to live your life to be liked or at least not disliked. I am learning that as I truly accept myself for who a
I am, one of two things happen. Either people like me because I am authentic or they don’t like me and I don’t care. A huge burden is lifted when you stop living life to please others (or at least what you think will please others). Someone once told me that there is someone out there that probably really doesn’t like you. I was shocked and appalled at first. But when I started accepting that reality, I was able to live a more free and proactive life. This life is a journey where we learn a little at a time and build on each experience. Glad you put yourself out there.
Thank you so much for your thoughts! Just living freely, without regrets, and without thinking so much about what everyone else in the world thinks is something I definitely struggle with. What you said about accepting the reality that there’s someone out there that doesn’t like you really struck me, and made me think, so thank you! And thank you for taking the time to read and comment – I really appreciate it!
Yes! Finally something about pinellas county schools.
LinkedIn has a great feature that connects with
your existing email accounts and allows you to invite anyone you have interacted with to your network.
This means that you might reach people you interacted with once or
twice, or people that you haven’t spoken with in a
while. This is a powerful tool, but are you using it effectively in your marketing?
LinkedIn as a Data Collector
Look at all the ways you can collect data from people.
The easiest metric to track for most is their email addresses, so ask people
and promote their use. Create mailers or offer contests via
email registration. Remember, each email you collect is another potential LinkedIn profile waiting to be connected to.
Also, you might convince someone to join LinkedIn when they
receive an invite from you, which means more customers to interact with.
Easy Ways to Connect on LinkedIn
So, what are some easy ways to connect with users and get them to want to network with you?
Many companies have started suing LinkedIn as a corporate blog to promote brand
awareness. These blogs might not even have anything to do with the
products being sold, but they might tie in with corporate culture or offer up some
helpful knowledge or technique. This is called generating substance, and if you want people to see a value
in your postings, you need to provide that substance, otherwise they simply won’t care.
The nice thing about this is you don’t
have to be a multi-faceted business guru to provide content.
Maybe you promote an interesting link of the day, or maybe you repost
a news story about something company-related (please give credit if you do this.).
It could even be a humorous blurb or story, or even a business-appropriate joke to keep your network’s attention. The only constant
is that the postings stay constant. If you start it, then maintain it to help build that brand awareness.
Remember, people won’t actively look for you if they
don’t know you exist.
One great way that some companies have started building a
loyalty network is through promoting their employees.
Some companies will offer a spotlight on their employees, showing off the projects they have done or discussing their high points.
This not only helps to ensure your employees feel valued,
but it also helps to paint your company as more human, which is something you want when trying to get people to connect with you.
Pitfalls and Things to Avoid With LinkedIn
Most of what has been discussed here has been the positives of using LinkedIn for your promotions, but there are
some pitfalls you may want to avoid. Again, not all marketing works
for all niches and some can be turned off more easily than others.
For starters, when advertising with a graphic, consider the context that your audience will view it in. LinkedIn is business to business networking.
Is your picture one that would be considered safe for a business networking platform?
Yes, attractive, nearly-naked people tend to get clicks,
but are those the kind of ads people at major corporations are going to be
more than likely be turned off due to lack of professionalism?
Consider your content in your pictures before
posting and make sure your graphics are a good match to
your audience and marketing message.
Second, watch your language. While on the surface,
this could be taken as do not swear, on a deeper level, you have to consider what a company will filter for and what they will allow.
Some words tend to trigger web filters pretty easily, so be careful about your verbiage.
Also, look at the message your words send. Are you
trying to be edgy, dynamic, endearing? Do your words
properly convey the message you want people to see?
Sometimes people get so wrapped up in sending out a strong message that they fail to consider
if it is the right one.
Third, don’t verbally tie yourself to a region or company if you can help it.
While you may want to highlight a company on a
landing page or maybe you are geared towards a certain region of the world,
you don’t want to inadvertently exclude potential customers because they think your ads
don’t immediately apply to them. Remember, you can focus your ads in terms of companies and locations ahead of time,
so listing out that info in the actual ad might prove redundant.
Fourth, don’t slack on your content. It can be easy to start with a
big push, but the number one thing that kills an audience’s interest
is inconsistency. Don’t slouch on your posts. Make sure you
dedicate a certain period of time each day to providing some form of content.
If you can’t or think you might have problems with this, hire someone to do
it for you or spend a day or two generating multiple posts so that you can just plug and play.
However you do it, just be sure to keep doing it.
You are setting an expectation of service as accompany when you post, and to do so inconsistently will send a bad message abour what
your company considers professional.
Fifth, be careful on rebranding. Some smaller companies take the philosophy of experimentation a bit too far
and keep trying to reinvent themselves every month or quarter,
but the truth of it is that many companies form bonds over
the long term with clients, and just because you announce a name change or
a new logo, that doesn’t mean that your clientele is
paying attention. To build your brand, you need consistency, so stick to a logo or name and try to
avoid being so edgy that you can’t make up your mind about your name.
Remember, you’re a business, not a rock star.
LinkedIn Final Thoughts
LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for reaching people in the business world.