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Henry Fonda, one of the most famous actors in American history, had every reason to be confident in front of an audience – but he vomited before every performance.
Despite his accolades and fame, he suffered from stage fright throughout his career.
According to Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, there are two lessons here: First, fear doesn't go away with success, awards, or age. Second: "The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the fight must be waged anew every day."
I have struggled with imposter syndrome for years. I've spent countless nights researching, writing, and editing blog posts. Most of them have never seen the light of day. Clicking "Publish" would mean facing my fear of criticism and embarrassment about the validity of my ideas.
In 2020 I made a promise to myself: Click "Publish" once a day and apparently I wasn't the only one wondering where this was going.
In a recent Invoice2go survey of 2,500 people, including 500 small business owners, on the top ten hobbies that respondents thought could be used in future careers, "writing" (42%) topped the list.
I chose LinkedIn as my medium. It seemed like the softest landing spot, filled with people in my industry who are open to sharing insights. I have dedicated myself to my everyday life with the aim of experimenting, making connections and gaining a little more self-confidence. I found a lot more.
This is a report of what I learned and gained from posting on Linkedin once a year for a year.
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1. Grow my trunk
When you share your ideas publicly, you will attract others who think similarly.
I've made friends with founders, CEOs, and CMOs that I admire – people I would never have come into contact with otherwise. I reconnected with old friends and co-workers. I reconnected with a former mentor, Om Malik, whose conversations culminated in an otherwise terrible quarantine. I found that when I posted my thoughts, I started a conversation.
2. Incoming business
When you share your ideas publicly, you have a method in place to attract and select potential customers.
People of the same age often report that my posts are always at the top of their feed. Because I post so often, I'm always up to date. This is the advantage of being up-to-date. On several occasions when brands searched for agencies, the same people referred us. We got several parking spaces that we would otherwise never have been invited to.
Given the challenge of writing something different every day, I had to keep up to date with the trends in my industry. I discovered insights that I would not otherwise have come across.
Sometimes that meant browsing blogs, scrolling through Twitter, browsing the app stores, and scouring the latest data. I was always on the lookout for the next great insight to share with my growing audience.
As a by-product of my daily hunt, I was more current than ever in my industry. I was able to spot trends and anomalies quickly.
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The best time to get in touch with someone is before they're blown up. When they start out and get right under the radar, you can really get to know someone.
In my daily search for new knowledge, I have connected with a variety of founders and emerging platforms. Bonin Bough, Triller's Chief Growth Officer, has read some of my posts. Together, our teams developed a pro bono campaign with Curtis Roach to promote safe greetings after COVID-19. When New York students returned to the classroom, Triller and Mekanism developed the "Safety Shake".
On many occasions, my project has connected me with people building businesses that need investors and advisors. I never saw myself as an angel investor, but it happened and I love it. To get my interests public, I've invested in half a dozen companies that I really believe in.
A healthy sense of doubt keeps us from doing a lot of stupid things. In reality, no one is as focused on your shortcomings as you are. I'm not claiming to be the next GaryVee, but I don't throw up backstage anymore either.
I started with very little engagement and about four "likes" per post. During the year my fan base grew to over 6,000 followers. This wouldn't be much on any other platform, but LinkedIn is a great place to build a strong, tight-knit community that pays off in the face of opportunities.
Audience or not, publishing my work has taught me how to overcome apprehension. At the end of the year, I found that my fear had not protected me, but held me back. I still post on LinkedIn every day.
There is more to learn and that in and of itself is the greatest reward.
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