Do you ever feel like social media has taken over your life? I don't mean to be dramatic, but if you're even reading this blog, it's most likely because you saw it posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (thank you for coming over ☺).
Even if you're not simultaneously using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn, odds are you're using at least one of them. And whatever your reason - connection with friends, promoting your business, keeping up with current events or your favorites shows/sports - we all get something from it. I love feeling connected to my faraway friends and seeing how my peers and colleagues are killing it in life, love and business. But with all the up side to social media, there are also those moments when you read a post or comment and your stomach sinks. You're happily going along, seeing your niece's first day of school pictures and then it happens - someone wearing their grumpy pants and letting everyone know it. Hopefully this doesn't happen often for you, but just in case, here are a few suggestions to make it occur even less.
1. Choose What You See.
I was working with a client the other day, giving her some of my favorite resources for coffee alternatives and stress-relief, as she's improving her daily energy. I told her that I see inspiring new health information all the time on Facebook and Instagram and if she starts looking, she'll notice it, too. What's so amazing is you get to choose what you see. It's your choice! My Facebook newsfeed, the friends that I see daily, the inspiration, health updates, motivation - all of it - is by my design. Go out and search for what you want. There is a page for everything you can think of from your favorite brand of shoes to exercise tips. You get to choose what your feeds look like. If you're tired of complaints, negative political commentary or the constant selfies (see point 3), choose to follow only those people and sites that nurture your soul.
2. Share Less, Not More.
Before you post, ask yourself: Is this a sharing moment? We're all guilty of over sharing at some point, some more than others. We even share pictures of our food! We have children growing up entitled, thinking that people need to know what's going on during every moment of their day. I have a good friend who only shares pictures of her kids when they've earned something, hit a milestone or reached a goal. Her rule is that if she wouldn't want to share the picture with her kids in 10 years, or it's not helping someone else learn, then it's not a Facebook sharing moment. This helps keep her Facebook habits in check as well as supporting her children. It's a great thing for all of us to think about before we post. When I feel inclined to post something personal, I stop and think about what I'm trying to create or feel. Attention, love, significance? Maybe I just need to move through the situation and do something else. Write a blog post. Call a friend. Exercise. Give value to someone else. Move into a purpose so it's not just about my drama for the day. There's always a great sense of connection through social media-but there's a time to ask yourself-is this a long-term, fulfilling and deep connection? It's absolutely okay to feel sad, angry or annoyed. It's in those times it's important to connect with yourself, feel into what's really going on, or have a conversation and confront the situation head on. Facebook is great for instant feedback or an immediate cheering squad when you need one. But before you post it, think about what you want and how it's serving you and the people who will see it.
3. Stop Taking Selfies!
When you take selfies you're basically having a conversation with yourself. You're not present. Think about it: you're capturing yourself in a moment that you're not really participating in fully. If what's happening is so worthy of capturing maybe put the phone away and really be in it. I have a girlfriend who constantly takes selfies when we're out together and then she'll post ALL of them on Facebook...and we're talking a lot of selfies. One night, I told her to tap the shoulder of the guy next to us and ask him to pick one - just one - for her to post. She laughed and said that's so embarrassing I'd never show him my picture. Then why do you feel the need to share it online? I get it, sometimes it's fun to share what you're up to, or a new favorite restaurant you want to share with people, but choose your moments. It's predictable to go online and know the people who always share their whereabouts. Now, I do love taking pictures and sharing magic moments, but sometimes I'll text it or share it with the friends who will really enjoy it.
4. Be Who You Are.
Sometimes when we think we're sharing genuinely on social media, we're really living only on the surface and hiding from the truth of what we want. What you want most likely will take effort, but I guarantee you it's worth it. The way that seems simple and easy in the short-term, usually takes a lot more effort in the long-run because it delays our start time and becomes increasingly more painful. For example, I have a guy friend who desperately wants to be in a relationship. He's a really great guy and has so much to offer, but lately his choice of posts, don't really support who I know he is and what he wants in life. Liking lots of different women's statuses, showing scattered energy and posting pictures of women in lingerie don't show women who also want a relationship you're serious and trustworthy. Sure, you could look at it like he's celebrating the amazing beauty of women. His message may be deep down that all women can feel sexy and that he's a likeable guy who honors, appreciates and cherishes the feminine. All good stuff, right? But based on his captions, without knowing him at a heart level, you wouldn't know that his intention is to lift women up and it will deter the right woman. How is what he's posting today going to help him attract the kind of woman he wants tomorrow? What could you post and share that is congruent with your nature and in line with what you want? If you want more clients, maybe stop posting that it's so hard to close people and you're so glad the day is almost over at 4pm. If you want to lose weight, stop posting the pictures of your pasta last night and complaining asking for sympathy. My point is to become aware and conscious of what you are co-creating. This is why coaching is so important. We need people to see what we can't see and help point us in the right direction. For a lot of people, their incongruent actions are a huge blindspot. Look past where you are today and be inspired about what you want to create in the future and we're here to help you if you want one-on-one support or access to my online course.
You always have a choice about what you bring in and put out into the world.
Whether it's face-to-face with friends, family and colleagues or just on social media. Create your own adventure, live authentically and work with a coach to support you on your journey. And when in doubt, turn your phone, laptop or tablet off, take a deep breath and go outside to connect and play!