My dear friend and author of, Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership, Jennifer Casa-Todd, posted this on Instagram today and it made me ponder how I portray myself on social media.
Do my friends, family, and professional learning network see the REAL me when they look at my social media feed? Or, is it always the best version of myself, the "filtered" me? My husband, Russell Richmond, and I had this conversation just this past week. On our recent get away to Sisters, Oregon he read me this quote from the book, A Craftsman’s Legacy: Why Working With Our Hands Gives Us Meaning by Eric Gorges, “We’re editing our lives to present the best version of ourselves, filtering it in a way that it shines abnormally bright and removes all the flaws. Our online selves create the illusion that we don’t have any of those; because others don’t show theirs, we are engaged in an arms race of impossible standards.” It is easy to scroll through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and only see the polished versions of others. The snapchat filtered pics, the final versions of our creations, and the most shining moments of our day. But, how often do we show our first attempts, our fails & flaws, and insecurities? I am totally guilty of this! In fact, I love the smooth glowing complexion that Snapchat gives me. :-)
It’s easy to fixate on the bright shining moments and incredible creations being shared by others and think, “Wow, they are brilliant! They have it all together! They are crushing life!” The trouble is we aren’t seeing the entire picture. We aren’t seeing the tears, the struggles, the self doubt, or the critics that may be trying to tear them down. We don't see the long hours that lead to their creation. I’m not saying that we all need to share all of our vulnerable and unfiltered moments. However, I do believe we need to think about whether the "real" us is being portrayed to the world and capture some of the unfiltered and "in progress" in addition to the final product. We also need to catch ourselves when we start going down that negative spiral of comparison and remember the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is a good chance that the very people who have posted their ideas and magical moments are racing against the same impossible standards that you and I are. In fact, you don’t know how vulnerable it may have been for them to share their ideas and thoughts in the first place.
Let me tell you I have lots of “less than magical” moments. I experience days where I am flooded with insecurity and imposter syndrome. Often I post a tweet, blog, or created resource and wonder if people will think it’s lame, “old news”, or disagree with what I have to say. I go days where I feel paralyzed and think I have zero creative ideas to contribute to the world. There are times I pursue giant opportunities and they don't work out and I experience defeat. I have to push past the feelings of self doubt that cascade over me and continue to be vulnerable and take risks, because I know how much I’ve grown because of each one I've taken. I have to tell myself that even if what I share resonates with only one person, it will have been worth it. Even if I fail, it doesn't mean it's not a good idea. It just may not be the right time or opportunity.
I have shared the video below, "Obvious to you. Amazing to Others" many times and very likely may have included it in a previous blog post. I love it because it’s so true. What’s obvious to you, may just be amazing to others. I encourage and challenge you to share your successes and fails, applaud others who share and encourage them to continue, and don’t ever let comparison steal your joy.
You each have a special magic that’s all your own.
Embrace it and share it with the world!
We need you.
We need each other.
Thank you, Jennifer Casa Todd for challenging my thinking today and always helping me to be better digital leader and the best version of me. I highly recommend her incredible book, Social LEADia: Moving Students from Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership. Her book inspires and challenges us to help our students leverage social media in positive and powerful ways and to help them be digital leaders today!
Also, I want to acknowledge my good friend, Tara Martin, and her amazing book Be Real: Educate from the Heart. This inspiring read will help you tap into the power of being true to yourself and equip you with the courage to "cannonball" into the adventures of life. Thank you, Tara, for encouraging me to share my REALness with the world!
Student Engagement & PD Specialist in Southern Oregon, Canva Learning Consultant, Canva Education Creator, and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.