When I first started out online, it was a blank space. There wasn’t a lot going on honestly. Nothing worth writing home about.
People finding their way, giving up, deciding to give it that ‘one more go’ before the inevitably throwing the towel in the ring. There were others however, who stuck around, willing to give it a go. Treating their online space like a business early on, treating followers as customers- always right.
I was the latter.
I was what I thought I had to be. Polite. Professionally. Politically correct.
Never rocking the boat, ‘The customer is always right’, ‘Give them what they want’… and any other analogy that has been drilled into anyone in the service industry or with a business of their own.
Now let start by saying I care about people. I worked in an aged care facility for years during Uni. I cared for the elderly, the sick, the dying. I care deeply, and feel deeply as well. I know you care about people too. That’s why you do what you do.
The care shows up in my work. In a myriad of ways. It shows in how I share, what I say, how I empower and what I do on a daily basis. The care shows up in your work too.
But what happens when someone out there, someone you’ve never met, suddenly decides that you’re not the person they thought you were?
And let’s take a look at that again. ‘The person they THOUGHT you were’
This person doesn’t know you. Never spoken to you. Never emailed, called, texted. Never bought a product, commented on a post….
Except to say ‘I’m unfollowing you’
‘You’re too commercial now’
You may or may not have had this happen yet. If you haven’t- you will at some stage.
When you fail to live up to impossibly high standards that someone else- that same someone you’ve never met and never will- has of you, all of the sudden, you’re the worst person in the world.
You’re thrown off the pedestal they placed you on, and left laying in the rubble, trying to stand on their broken dreams of you that lay like rubble all around.
The way they built you up in their mind is different to how you actually are; and ultimately, that’s them projecting a version of you they want you to be.
It’s not right, or wrong. It just is. It’s human nature.
I don’t idolise.
I look up to Oprah (who doesn’t!?) for the savvy business woman and leader she is. But she ain’t on a pedestal.
I know she shits. She burps. She farts. She probably swears like a fucking trooper. She makes mistakes.
I’m not saying I’m Oprah, of course – but I’m using her as an example of everything and everyone.
I do all of that too. Yeah. All of it.
We all do.
And that in essence, makes us equal, the same, one.
“Everyone should be respected as an individual. No one should be idolised” said Einstein.
So what do you do when this happens? How do you handle it?
The first part is to understand why your followers and customers may not align with you anymore.
You’re evolving. Your customer mayor may not. They won’t always come on the ride with you. They won’t always understand where you’re headed.
Sometimes they get on the train at one stop, thinking they’re headed in the same destination as you…and when they find out you’re headed somewhere different, they get off.
And that’s ok.
You destination is yours, and yours alone. If anyone is lucky enough to come along for the ride, that’s great!
However, change is inevitable. Like the seasons, people, situations, things…come and go.
So if you see those comments, have a decline in followers after posting something you’re passionate about or want to share, or are just feeling into a different audience than you once were- breathe.
It’ll all be ok.
They’re leaving to make space for the right people. The ones who’re aligned with you. The ones who want to take the whole train ride, right to the final station.
That’s where the party is.