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The Most Liberating and Brave Thing You Can Say to Your Content's Critics
The world is a noisy place, and that extends to the professional world.
People keep telling you, “you have to create content,” “you should start a blog,” “become active on LinkedIn and share your content there.”
Whether you’ve been in an industry and profession for 15 years or 2, it’s still scary to write a blog post and share it out on LinkedIn or Twitter. Creating a short video of your thoughts, perspective, or experience you’d like to share is scary.
We always hear this imaginary critic in our minds who tells us we’re a fraud. “They” tell us not to publish it because someone will challenge us. We envision the nastiest of comments being posted about what we’ve written, destroying our professional reputation, singling us out for the world to see.
You may also think, “what unique perspective do I have to share that hasn’t already been said?”
You’re right. What you say or write about may have already been said by someone else – in a different way. That’s the key- a different way.
You see the world through the lens of your experience. Experience and a life no one else has lived but you.
Your Experience is Different From Mine
I’ll use myself as an example. I’m 45 years old. I’ve been out of college and in the ‘real world’ getting my ass kicked and humbled for over 22 years.
Over those 22 years, I’ve done environmental NEPA compliance. I’ve had sales roles. I’ve been an agency recruiter and a corporate recruiter. I’ve started businesses. For the past six years, I’ve been solely focused on marketing and am the Director of Marketing for a B2B company based in Denver.
There probably aren’t a lot of people who have done all of those things, mostly because once you get stuck in one, you’re stuck. If you end up in sales, good luck getting out. The same is true for recruitment.
I’ve escaped both in pursuit of my passion, which is marketing.
This experience alone provides a different perspective that others writing about similar topics may not have.
Now, let’s get even more granular. I grew up in Indiana, went to Indiana University in Bloomington. That’s a unique experience that shaped who I am and how I think.
Since graduating in 1998, I’ve lived in Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, and now Spokane, WA. All very different places, all have contributed to the way I see the world.
I’m using myself as an example because it’s what I know, but you have a similar story that is unique to you.
Writing Based on Research? It Will Still Be Unique
Even if you research a topic and pull together what you’ve found into a blog post or article, the way you share and disseminate that information will be unique. It will be done through the lens of your life’s experience, although it may be subtle.
Over time, you’ll be able to throw in examples from your life and professional experience. You’ll have stories to tell that no one else can tell because they only happened to you in the way that they did.
Being Generous and Vulnerable Helps You Learn and Grow
Another beautiful thing about getting our thoughts and perspectives out into the world- it helps us grow and learn.
The people who know more than you, their comments and feedback (if done respectfully and professionally) are priceless.
You only know what you know, and when you generously share it, you’ll educate those who know less than you. You’ll also learn from those who know more than you or have different perspectives that expand your own.
I used to be afraid to share my knowledge and perspectives with other professionals for all of the reasons I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
There Will Always Be Critics
The imaginary critic’s voice was loud.
What I’ve realized is that there will always be critics. There will always be insecure people. Those who try to make themselves look better by making you look bad. Unfortunately, there are just nasty, unhappy people in the world, and all we can do is feel sorry for their misery in life and move on.
When you share something that helps someone else, that teaches someone else, that outweighs the comments of 100 critics. But the reality is, the critics are few and far between. They just seem loud.
I’ve also realized that what I write and share is not for everyone. It can’t be. It’s usually not for the critics.
The most liberating thing you can say to these people is, “thank you for the feedback, but this wasn’t for you.”
And move on. Keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep being generous and vulnerable. The world needs your perspective, your stories, and your unique life experience.