When I first started writing, I quivered at the idea of amassing a following.
I had a fear that if I started to gain a following, my ability to truthfully convey my ideas would become compromised.
I felt odd posting my work with my name attached to it. As if me trying to be associated with my work was somehow selling out, for this reason, I initially started writing anonymously.
I even used to believe that the methods I was using to attract new readers to my work were self-centred and driven by my ego.
Because of all this, I was having a difficult time getting my work in front of the eyes of new people.
I recently underwent a mind-shift on this way of thinking, which has me no longer feeling ashamed for trying to gain new followers. I have allowed myself to pursue a following, so long as the intent of that following is not to acquire fame.
The pursuit of fame for no other reason than fame itself is ego-driven, and quite frankly, narcissistic.
The pursuit of fame isn’t the reason why I write. I don’t care about having my Instagram account acquiring millions of followers, and I don’t need to be a New York Times best-selling author to feel validated. Instead, any possible small amount of fame I may receive for my work would be a symptom of my actual desired outcome: gaining more followers.
I desire more followers because, to me, more followers represent more people who I could potentially help. Having more followers means more people who I can provide content and value every day. More followers mean I get to engage in more tough, uncomfortable, and meaningful conversations. More followers mean more people who I can motivate to find their life’s purpose. More followers mean I have more opportunities to share love and light. More followers mean more opportunity for me to be useful.
I desire more followers not for fame and riches, but for usefulness and purpose.
The current mandate I have set for myself is as follows: To help empower others to pursue their life purpose, healing themselves and their environment along the way.
That said, I like to believe I am humble enough to know that at this stage of my life, I cannot operate entirely at a high enough scale to exercise that mandate on each of my current 1,300 followers. Believing that I could currently help every single person who follows me may be a bit too ambitious – for now, at least.
This may lead one to ask: “So Matt… if you can’t help your current followers, why do you desire more?”
My answer would be that the degree in which I can help out a person varies from person to person. Although I would ideally like to be so transformative to each of my readers that each of them aligns themselves precisely with their life purpose to make monumental changes in the world, that degree of help won’t exist with each and every one of them. Instead, each takes a magnitude of value away from my content that is unique to them.
I have followers who merely look at the pictures I post on my Instagram profile and simply like them for the images that they are. Perhaps they like the filter I selected, or they are curious about the destination I visited. If visually-pleasing travel-inspiring pictures are all that is helpful to those followers, then that is okay with me.
I have followers who only interact with me by liking and sharing the quotes that I repost from my blog. Perhaps at that moment, as they were scrolling through their feed, they were in a specific headspace in which the words I wrote really resonated with them. If temporary spurts of motivation are all that is helpful to those followers, then that is okay with me.
I have followers who read my blog posts, listen to my podcast, and follow along with my newsletter. Perhaps these people enjoy short thought-provoking material for their subway bus commute to work. If recurring insightful content is all that is helpful to those followers, then that is okay with me.
Then there is the small 1% of my followers who resonate 100% with my work and values. These followers reach out to me personally, seeking one-on-one coaching with overcoming the obstacles they are facing while pursuing purpose. These are the followers in which I best exercise my mandate.
My point for highlighting the different types of followers I have is that each person is unique and comes to my work for a different level of help. Not all require the amount that I strive for with my mandate, and that is okay because it allows me to allocate more energy to the ones who do, while still providing for them in the way they need in the process.
I do not believe that everyone in the world is someone that I am going to be able to help to any degree…
So then why do I bother trying to reach out to as many people as I can?
Allow me to share a quick story:
Ryan Holmes (@invoker), a successful serial-entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Hootsuite, once gave me a great piece of advice before I went to deliver my first-ever investor’s panel pitch for a startup I was helping get off the ground.
Ryan said that the goal while pitching my startup to a room of 45 investors was not to try to convince all 45 that they needed to put money into my product. Instead, my goal was to be authentic and truthful to show the one or two people in the room who don’t need to be convinced that I am the person they have been looking for.
I ended up leaving that first pitch with no more money than when I went in. However, I did leave the pitch with three new phone numbers of individuals who were excitedly keen to help mentor me in my entrepreneurial journey – this has proved more valuable than a cheque could have been.
I adhere to Ryan’s advice to this day whenever I am broadcasting myself to a large group of people for any means, and my bravenewmatt endeavour is no exception.
I reach out to as many people I can with my Instagram profile and blog, not because I want to convince all of them that I am someone who can help them. Instead, I reach out to as many people as possible with the goal to find those select few who do not need to be convinced – the people who are already in search of someone like me.
I think of myself as being similar to a refrigerator phone salesman. This salesman doesn’t call an extensively long list of phone numbers with the intent of convincing everyone on the other line that they need a brand new refrigerator. He calls every number from that list intending to find the select few people whose’s refrigerators recently broke and are now in the market for new ones.
I have adopted a refrigerator salesman’s mentality when trying to promote my blog.
If you are an aspiring creator, I will hope for you to think about what you offer in the same way.
If you have a gift and your intuition tells you that you need to share it with the world, get out there and share it. It is not selfish, narcissistic, or egotistical to want to have a lot of followers, so long as your intent with the followers is to offer something to them instead of using them for fame.
Don’t strive to be famous; strive to be useful. If fame comes along with it, then so be it.
In closing, I offer the same advice to you that Ryan Holmes provided to me. Don’t try to convince the world that they need your work. Instead, let shine your true colours to the few select people who do not need to be convinced – the ones who are already looking for you. The brighter you shine your light, the sooner you will attract them. Remember to work hard and stay humble the entire time.
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