“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
– Steven Furtick
I need to call myself out…
Two months ago, I shipped off for Colorado for a big ski trip with some friends from NYC. We packed seven of us into a Chevy Tahoe. our boards and skis barely fitting into the roof rack, and our luggage filling up the back window. We were about two and a half hours away from Crested Butte and the sun started to come down over the mountains beautifully…naturally, I reached for my phone and snapped a photo so I could plug it into Instagram, something that has become a pseudo-ritual for me.
Let me know if the following scenario resonates with you…
0 minutes – Post photo….
5 minutes later….Check back on new likes (2 likes)
15 minutes later…Check back on new likes or comments (nothing)
1hr later…Check back in on new likes. (1 comment, w new like)
2hrs later… Check back in on new likes (few more likes)
As often happens on long car trips, you get left alone with your thoughts and I couldn’t get over how uneasy I felt about this unconscious tick to keep checking back into Instagram to see what people though of my new photo. I began to think about how this was not an isolated instance and how it often happens when I post across all social media channels (FB, twitter, the blog) and started to think about what it meant.
My friend Matt was driving and I shared my uneasiness with him. He told me that he personally struggled with the same sense of comparing his own content to that of others and purposefully dropped all his followers on Instagram so that he wouldn’t be concerned with the amount of likes or comments on his posts.
Social media was created as a medium to share information, ideas and opinions with our peers and the world – over time it has also developed into our personal highlight reels, a place to showcase the latest and greatest of what’s happening with us. It is natural, I think, this desire to put forth an image and information that people like. And I think it is also important to think about how this subconscious influences our creative process.
Over the remainder of the car trip, we began to realize that your action on social media could be summed up in two major categories, SHARING or VALIDATING. You should always seek the former.
Sharing is just that, putting forth, information, ideas and images because you think they are awesome and deserve to be shared. The motivator is INTERNAL.
Validating is the process of putting information into the world for the sake of proving something, to yourself or others. The motivator is EXTERNAL.
That story I told you about earlier, of me constantly checking back on my photos to see who’s liking them is indicative of some personal insecurities of my own voice and finding VALIDATION via other peoples likes, comments or whatever form of digital high-five I happen to be receiving.
You can use your social media activity as a lens to evaluate confidence in your own voice and the personal motivators that you are relying on when creating content.
Do you resonate with the story I told earlier? Do you ever find yourself checking back on your posts frequently for no real reason? Do you ever find yourself comparing your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel?
Next time you feel the urge to check on your likes or comments….relax, take a second and simply ask yourself… why?
It is important to understand where our motivations for creating and sharing are coming from. Focus on finding confidence and appreciation for your own voice from within and not via external validation.
You’ll be happier for it in the long run and spend a lot less time with your head buried in a phone.