It’s January, the time of year for resolutions. One of mine that is renewed annually is to show up consistently on social media to build my brand.
Ugh. Just writing “build my brand” makes me wince. Admitting to using social media transactionally feels like a confession of bad faith. Social networks are for mutual support, not sales, right?
And yet my life coaching practice is part of who I am. I love being a coach, love my clients. I honestly feel like the luckiest girl in the world to get to do this work. I’m proud of it. Why would I hide that?
The upshot of careening between these two poles of repulsion and attraction is that I do not “show up consistently” on social media: I rarely post anything personal to Facebook, post coaching-related content only after hours of composing, and I still have no idea how to use Instagram.
When I find myself in a thicket like this, unable to move this way or that without hitting a barrier, I turn to The Work of Byron Katie .
The Work allows me to put a name on those barriers I keep hitting – to identify the exact thoughts that are causing my pain – and investigate them. Are they even true? How do they affect me? What would be different if I did not believe them? What if the opposite were true instead?
I begin by asking myself what I’m afraid of, and the thoughts tumble out: I’m not doing enough. I need to work harder and faster. I’m going to disappoint people. They’re going to see I’m inconsistent. I’ll lose momentum. I must be consistent to build my business.
I explore each of these, like a doctor palpating an injury to see where the break is. I’m looking for the source of the pain.
In short order I discover my pain radiates from the thought, “I’m inconsistent.” Now I can go deep into The Work.
Have you ever had that thought about yourself? If so, find a painful instance of it, and do The Work alongside me now.
I’m inconsistent. Is it true? Yes. (My ego is holding on here, and I’m tense).
Can I absolutely know, or can I be certain, that it’s true? No. (Peace rises, pushes aside the ego, and my body relaxes).
How do I react, what happens, when I believe it? I feel congested. Heavy. Tense. Stuck. Acutely self-conscious. I compare myself to others and feel ashamed. I imagine people shaking their heads at me.
Who would I be without the thought? Free. (My body relaxes). I’d go where the juice is without dragging the baggage of judgment behind me. I’d see that it’s normal to experience a limit to what can be done in a day or a week, so there’s no moral failure there. I notice my coaching practice is doing well – whatever I’m doing or not doing on social media is clearly just fine. There must be other factors besides social media that contribute to my success.
Turn the thought around to its opposite. Explore as many opposites as you can by finding specific, believable evidence that the turnaround is just as true if not truer than the original, painful thought.
I’m not inconsistent. I reliably maintain a lot: marriage, motherhood, friendships, coaching, home.
I’m consistent. I’ve maintained a morning practice of stretching, journaling, and meditation for years; loving relationships for decades; a healthy home for decades. I do The Work when I notice that I’m suffering, but only every single time!
(The tide has turned now. It feels like The Work is doing me, and I’m along for the ride.)
I’m improving. My coaching gets better and better. I am now a certified Master Coach! I have incorporated group work into my practice, and it’s going beautifully. I’m living in greater integrity, speaking up more and no longer shying from challenging conversations.
My thinking is inconsistent. Haha! My thinking is inconsistent with reality – it’s stuck in the past or in some dark alternate reality where nothing is ever good enough. Inconsistency is the nature of thinking – thoughts are random; I am consistent, the thread underneath the thinking.
Finally, my favorite, the yahoo turnaround, where you embrace the original painful thought as a friend: I’m inconsistent, yahoo! I’m human, not a machine! I respond creatively to the present moment. Life goes on, shifting and changing, and go with it!
This last turnaround lights a path out of the thicket that prompted today’s Work in the first place: the belief that I must be consistent on social media to be successful in business. No! To be successful in business, I must be authentic – go where the life is, follow what lights me up! That’s what draws people to my practice.
With this awareness, the heaviness of social media drains away. It becomes a tool, not the master, and I find myself joyfully writing this post. . .
To share on social media.