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My first serious boyfriend was one of those macho types. We worked together. For both of us, it was our first job out of school. The first time we saw each other, the chemistry was palpable.
Trouble was, whenever we wound up working on something together, he waxed on about how many women he was dating, how popular he was at university and how fast he was on the running track.
He Became My Worst Nightmare.
I began avoiding him in the hallways. When he finally cornered me to ask me out, I fabricated a lame excuse – so that he would know it was a lame excuse – and back off.
That’s when something utterly unexpected happened. Once I was off his hit list, he became a totally different person. The next time we partnered on a project, he was witty, fun and yet deep.
We realised we had quite a few things in common, from art and literature to family drama and career goals.
Later, when I asked him out and we had our first date, he shared that braggadocio was a mask he had learned to hide behind.
It had worked wonderfully in the past to create a voluminous series of meaningless connections. He thought he had to be one thing to win me over, when all he really had to do was be real.
Once he relaxed into being himself, he was amazing.
And I Suspect It Will Be The Same For You.
When you write your next LinkedIn article, I mean. In 2019, 1 million professionals published content on LinkedIn.
When Bill Gates said 20 years ago that content was king, it’s likely he was envisioning this precise moment in time.
So, in 2020, the question becomes not so much a case of “should you put your voice out there” (you should) but “how do you write something that rises above the already overwhelming cacophony of chatter”?
(Related: How To Build An Authentic Personal Brand).
How Do You Rise Above The Noise?
The answer to this one is simple, yet not easy.
You rise above the noise by not adding to it. You rise above the noise by saying something meaningful, unique and real. Not by saying what you think people want to hear.
“Experts” all over the Internet are pushing insincere self-promotion over authenticity.
If anyone tells you that crafting a slick headline matters more than expressing a valid, passionate point of view, run in the other direction.
I promise you will not enjoy this approach to content creation, and will soon abandon it. Also, it will likely result in you adding to the cacophony versus rising above it. And there’s already plenty of noise online.
So, if you plan to do that, my advice is, don’t waste your time. Your voice will get lost in the maze of mediocrity.
(Related: How To Find Meaning In Your Work).
What, Then, To Do?
If you’re struggling to create content for your LinkedIn Profile, take it as a sign from the universe to look deeper.
Could it be:
- You stopped caring about what you do years ago?
- Time for a change, either in perspective or in careers?
Oh, I still care, I hear you say, but I’m just not wildly passionate like I used to be. Sure, I love my finance job, but when I finish work I’d rather be with my kids.
Or maybe you’d rather nurse your stress at the pub. Fair enough. But if that’s you, listen up.
You live in an age where building your personal brand is part of your job – whether you like it or not. Think of it as the online version of all those functions, networking events, dinners and (errgh) after-dinner drinks you’ve attended throughout your career.
You know your job doesn’t stop when you close your laptop. And neither should the energy and attention you apply to your profession.
Is Your Personal Brand Lacking?
Stop making excuses and give content creation a go. Pick something you’re fired up about and spend 3 hours writing a post for your LinkedIn profile.
Consider it an investment in your future.
Seth Godin said recently at a talk in New York that today, unlike any other time in our known history, we all have the power to be a media company of one:
He’s right in that our ability to reach people on our own is unprecedented.
But don’t let the sheer magnitude of the potential scare you off. Stay focused on your goal, which is to cultivate the craft of standing out versus blending in.
I leave you with Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“Conversation is an art in which a human has all humankind for competitors.”