In the mid-90’s I had the opportunity to work on a marketing campaign with a famous rock star. After several long phone calls, I realized he was a personae, not a person. He was flashy, he was a showman, and he was a shrewd businessman, but he was mostly flash. What he showed me and the rest of the world is not the person he really is. To me, he was not the real deal.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because it’s so easy to be dazzled by what isn’t really real.
I love this online world we’re in. I love being part of a community and interacting with so many different people. I love making new friends and even meeting them offline. However, I’m noticing a difference between the way some people are online and who they truly are. These discrepancies have made me very conscious of who I am and how others see me.
Am I the real deal?
I hope so, but maybe you don’t think so.
I think sometimes we spend a lot of time working online get caught up in the wrong things. I know I have. If I’ve learned any lessons recently, it’s not be dazzled by people or numbers, but to focus on results and relationships.
Are you defined by your numbers?
If your top accomplishment is accumulating a lot of friends and followers, all you are is someone with the ability to collect many fans and followers. Numbers can be bought and sold and while popularity isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the online world, it can’t be all you have going for you. It’s what you do with your numbers that counts. Do you expect everyone to share your stuff? Buy your products? Retweet your news? That’s terrific but one sided relationships don’t last.
What do you give your friends and family in return? (Hint: The right answer here isn’t a blog post or something to buy at a discount). When people are buying your books, or seeing you speak, or following you on line, they really just want to spend time with you and learn from you. Take some time out to get to know the people of your community. Ask them questions, shake hands, and get to know folks by name.
The people who support you don’t see themselves as numbers and you shouldn’t either.
Are you defined by your friends?
How cool! You have many famous friends and you make sure everyone knows it.
Every time you have a drink with a famous friend, or talk on the phone with someone who is taggable, or wave across a crowded room you tell the world. Friends are more than famous names., though. They’re the people who have your back, while you have theirs in return. But being on your side through thick and thin doesn’t mean you haul them out only when you have something to sell or promote. Friends are just there to stock your conferences or add content to your ebooks. Eventually people get tired of carrying a heavy weight on their coattails.
Before you call someone a “friend,” make sure you’re truly being one in return. When you treat your friends like friends and not just people who do things for you , you’re the real deal and not just someone with a bunch of famous friends. Don’t collect people, build real relationships.
Are you defined by some vague, unproven claims?
Does your resume or LinkedIn make claims of having Fortune 500 clients or major named brands without actually coming out and listing them by name? Do you forget to mention that these places you worked for fired you after a week or two? Do you make claims of growth and revolutionary thinking without providing facts or numbers? I don’t want the people who hire me to do it because I know people or because I worked for this person or that. I want them to do so because they see me as a person who walks the walk. Your work shouldn’t be defined more by who you worked for than what you did.
Are you the real deal?
When I want to work with someone or befriend someone, I want more than name dropping or some vague details about working with “brands.” Let’s talk about the real you. What are your likes and dislikes? What makes you tick? What do we have in common? How does all the stuff that you talk about relate to me?
Don’t just talk or put on a show. Do.