Holy smokes! I’ve gone and gotten myself addicted to Instagram. To me, it’s a shocker. To those who happily dedicate their time to social media, this is surely no surprise. Look around. Tons of people are addicted to social media. There’s the lightweight scrolling too much social media addiction, the ignoring other people in conversation because of social media addiction, and the outright spending an hour or more every day on social media addiction.
Is social media the sugar of the online space? We crave it, take a hit, feel satisfied, and need it again shortly after. I’m sure a case has already been made for this.
Last month I unexpectedly found myself checking my brand-new Instagram page multiple times throughout the day. I too, had succumbed to the sparkly glisten of heart emojis and new followers online.
Here’s my sordid tale…
In my personal life, I don’t use social media. I don’t like it. It feels invasive and threatening and honestly like a mindless waste of time. I don’t like the exposure it offers, as I don’t want to connect with people in a way that hundreds of other people can witness. We should email or text to say hello and make an actual phone call when a dear one has had an accident, has died, or there’s a flash sale on your favorite bra. These public platforms have never felt emotionally and energetically safe. So I’ve happily stayed away.
Two caveats to my distrust:
- I appreciate that you can rediscover old friendships through the medium and connect with people you otherwise couldn’t find or be in touch with easily
- Pinterest doesn’t count. Pinterest is awesome. It’s helped me makeover our home, build our patio, and learn how to wear a sweater over a dress
While I personally have little use or interest in Instagram or its rivals, when it comes to building my business, it’s another story.
As a new business owner who wants to do things virtually, not locally, I know this:
- I have to do everything myself until I get some serious bucks coming in to hire someone to handle the things I don’t like (SEO, marketing, updating boring techy stuff).
- If I want to help people, they have to know I’m here. Which means focusing on visibility (not my fav).
I’ve rapidly stretched my comfort zone when it comes to “getting out there” in regard to building Make It Joy:
Picture of myself on the website: check
Another picture of myself so people know I have more than one picture: check
Networking groups and collaborations: check
Social media: Do I have to??? Whine…
My beloved Pinterest aside, when it comes to social media, I’ve now joined Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram because I’ve been told I should.
And THAT’S how we know we’re off to a sorry start.
“The useful should” vs. “the destructive should”
Researching, and educating yourself is an essential part of owning a business (and life!). Becoming intelligent about the things you are ignorant of and learning how to count on yourself is not only a point of survival but of pride (the good kind).
Learning new skills is important in any endeavor.
So yes, there are things that you should do.
But there’s a big difference between actually needing to do things and feeling like you should do things.
It’s similar to the childhood wisdom of when you like someone vs. when you “like like” someone.
Just ask any thirteen-year-old. There’s a huge distinction.
When you do things because you’re afraid you’ll miss out or fall behind, that’s when you’re on the wrong side of should.
In fact, I find it a perfect recipe for anxiety and dissatisfaction.
Any time you walk in another person’s shoulds or style, you’re out of touch with you. And that’s when you lose your magic.
When you’re not in tune with yourself and with who you are uniquely and are wonderfully made to be, your magic is off.
A few other words are interchangeable here depending on your background: your anointing, your zone of genius, your gifting, your alignment.
When you’re out of your God-given anointing, and you’ve drifted from yourself and who and how you are intended to be, you’re awash, treading water.
Stay on the shore that is YOU. You are who you are and how you are for a reason.
How do you know when you’re out of your own bounds?
It can be tricky to discern what you actually should do and what you feel like you should do when you’re starting your own business (and trying at anything, really). But the signs you’ve drifted are pretty easy to spot IF you slow down, listen, and pay attention.
For me, I joined in on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram all to “get out there.”
Telling other people about my business – a useful should
Learning how to do that – a useful should
Those things feel appropriate. I’m excited about my business, and I want you to know I’m an option. I can help. Here I am.
But with social media, I don’t have the same feelings of clean and simple “good.” So whether it’s a useful should or there are layers of inauthenticity or fear, needs a finer look. At the very least, I know I need an adjustment to stay in harmony with myself.
The way I feel inside indicates that something is amiss.
Overall, I’ve felt:
Bold, brave, icky, unsure, in over my head, like a little voice shouting into the wind…”helloooo!”
I’ve felt excited to see some new followers and discover new people to collaborate with, and occasionally glad to share something through a post.
I just feel nervous about all of it.
Now, nerves and feelings of vulnerability aren’t a clue to whether something is a useful should or a destructive thing you feel like you should do.
But it’s certainly a sign to stop and take a deeper look at the source of those nerves.
Are you nervous because you’re unsure of the outcome, you’re doing something you’ve never done before, you question your confidence, or are stretching your comfort zone? That’s okay.
Are you nervous because you have an unexplained feeling of uneasiness, you’re unclear on your motivations, are trying to catch up with others. That’s not okay.
For me, on social media, it’s a little bit of both.
I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram because I feel like I need (usefully should) be. I would like to have ways people can find me and find my website. That makes sense to me and I’m okay having a low-key place on those platforms.
My activity on those sites is largely a result of fear. I feel like I’m supposed to post, update, interact, and comment on there a few times a week. I feel clammy and uncertain when it’s time to post something again, and I head to Canva to reluctantly prepare the goods.
And that all gives me stress.
Stress = change some stuff
I have one exception that comes to mind here. I recently wrote an unscheduled post on Instagram about a difficult morning and how there was no joy in it. I felt inspired to write it, it took five minutes, and I posted it because I genuinely wanted to share it with others and offer something I felt was insightful and encouraging. It was no stress, and it came from a place of willingly, gladly pouring out. READ that post here.
Now that’s something I can get behind.
With regard to Instagram, I’ve found it to encompass all of the “should stress” AND inspiration galore! It’s a visually appealing space with travel photos, baked breads, and beauty all over the place.
And the people! Did you know about all those people on there? I’ve had the best time learning about new people and pondering collaborations with other business owners. Podcast guest hunting has been such a fun black hole.
In one month’s time, I went from googling “How do you do Instagram stuff?” to becoming a full-blown Instagram addict. Spending three or more hours a day wondering, “Did I get a new message? Did I get a heart thing or that bubble box thingy? Do I need to go heartin’ and bubble boxin’ on other people’s posts? That’s something I should do, right?”
I’ve taken to it like a rat to cocaine.
And boy, do I feel scattered!
I miss the feeling of being grounded, still, quiet, slow, and moving through my day as if it were all for me to choose.
What I want to feel is:
Connected to God
For better or worse, social media is here in all of its addictive glory.
For the better we have connecting with others, an opportunity to learn, and an opportunity to share.
For worse it fosters feelings of grappling, striving, climbing, and pressure, and is a stealth source of time and energy evaporation.
But this is my life and my business and it’s up to me how I manage both.
My adjustments are as follows:
- Create some serious boundaries with my time and attention to social media (This has been a very easy fix of choosing to spend only 15 minutes a day on there and removing the app from sight, so I have to manually type in my account on the search bar. I haven’t given more than ten minutes any day to social media in over two weeks since I recognized I’d gotten out of balance).
- Do the useful shoulds for my business (and life).
- Only post something if I genuinely want to share it, not when I feel like I’m supposed to.
- Be watchful of clues alerting me when I’ve gone out of tune.
- Choose to put my time into Instagram or the other guys when I feel full already and am in a place of giving, not looking to have something poured into me. (This feels different for everyone, but my tell is in my chest. If my chest feels tight and fluttery with minuscule panic, I’m anxious to get, not to give.)
- Always, always, always, follow my peace.
I know there are more aggressive ways to go about building a business.
I’d rather do what feels like me.
I’d rather believe in what I’m doing.
I’d rather do what I feel encouraged in my spirit to do and trust that God (who started this whole venture with me in the first place) will connect me who whomever I need to be connected with.
So, I’ll do those useful shoulds and give this business what it needs. And let that be that. No destructive shoulds, and when I catch them inevitably showing up, I’ll remind myself to trust God, not fear people.
And choose to rest in my anointing, not strive to keep up and do what I’m afraid I should do.