I have a client who’s primary goal is to untether her voice. I say YES, YES, YES! She has an incredible wealth of knowledge and I love learning from her. She hasn’t been comfortable sharing her voice widely in the past—she’s critical of her own writing and she’s worried about doing things “just right.” However, she’s fun, adventurous, talented, intuitive, grounded, and has a thriving business that she wants to expand. So she decided to start a lifestyle Instagram account that shares both her knowledge and her business. A perfect way, in my opinion, to expand her reach and work towards her larger goal of sharing her voice and knowledge.
I’m sooooo excited about this new account. And, during our last session together, it became clear that she’s been stalling. It’s time to start posting and now she’s obsessing about the details.
“How long should the caption be?
Should I have a theme for each week?
Is this going to be boring?
Should I poll my clients to see what they are most interested in?”
I love this person and I admire her talent and knowledge.
And, yet I was…
It was time for me to get real with her. I smiled to keep it gentle and opted to tell a story.
“Have you seen all of the seasons of Schitt’s Creek yet?”
In case you didn’t know, Schitt’s Creek is a staple in my home. It’s the story of an uber-rich family who loses all of their wealth and must move to live in the only asset the IRS allows them to retain—the tiny, rural town of Schitt’s Creek. Johnny (video store tycoon) and Moira Rose (former daytime soap star) are parents to adult children—the highly anxious, dark, artistic David; and the carefree, breezy, party-girl, Alexis.
“Have you seen the episode where David has to re-take his driving test?”
“No.” This client is so patient with me. Surely, she’s wondering where I’m going with this when we’re supposed to be talking about her Instagram account during our hour-long session together.
“It’s worth watching. Alexis drives David to the DMV to take the test. He’s freaking out. He’s so worried about failing. Alexis is super chill and trying to talk him down. He’s panicking. Worrying about failing and humiliating himself, letting down his family, and disappointing the instructor. He’s sweating, agitated, barely breathing. It all comes to a head after they switch seats in the DMV parking lot.
David gets miffed and says, ‘Yes they do.’
Alexis is like, ‘Uh, No. They don’t.’
I say to my client, “…right now, you’re David and your Instagram account is the driving test. You’re freaking out about the details that nobody will notice. David’s panic attack could make him fail that test. Worrying about these details about posting is preventing you from taking the first step towards your bigger goal of untethering your voice. Alexis knows what she’s talking about. Nobody cares about these details as much as you do. And most people won’t notice them.”
This may not sound like sage business or marketing advice—“The consultant I hired just told me that nobody cares,” but that’s only part of what I’m saying. That “nobody cares” part is to help calm your mind and provide a little perspective. Nobody cares about those little details as much as you do, what matters is your big goal.
OVER-caring about the little things can cause paralysis. OVER-caring about the little things is preventing my client from getting closer to her larger goal. David’s world will not come to an end if he fails his driving test. And Alexis knows that he’ll be more likely to pass the test if he realizes that fact before the instructor gets in the car. My client’s audience is not going to notice if she doesn’t have a theme or unfollow her account if her captions are long or short. But, I know that if she stays where she is—OVER-caring—then she’ll never start posting. I’m not going to spoil the episode for you, but Alexis is a wise woman.
Check yourself when you start to feel like David—when the anxiety rises and you get fixated on the little details. Are you holding yourself back with your worry? Is your bigger goal taking a backseat because you’ve driven off into the weeds?
I’m not suggesting you put out sloppy or rushed work. There’s a difference between paying attention to the details and obsessing about them to the point of inaction. It can take practice and sometimes a helping hand to see that difference.
This message may not be for everyone, but for us Davids, it can be helpful to play out the worst case scenario and answer it with a little bit Alexis…
What if my post is “too” long or “too” short? Oh well.
What if I don’t have a theme for each week? Honestly, no one will notice.
What if I have a boring post now and then? That’s SO not the end of the world, David.
What if I post about what I’m interested in vs. doing a poll to find out what others want to hear from me? What you want matters and it’ll likely be way more fun to post about what you want. And…if you’re having fun, you’ll keep doing it! Post what you want and then take the time to do a poll later.
David is trying to stay safe, but sometimes we need to listen to Alexis. Throw caution to the wind now and then, step on the gas and tell yourself…