As I’ve gained a small following on Twitter, I’ve become more and more afraid to tweet stuff and be myself. Why? Many reasons, which I'll outline some in this post.
This is what's called a fear setting exercise
. I’ll write about my specific fear about why I don’t tweet, and then write about the reality, and why that fear is actually not valid. Here goes...
Fear: I’m afraid people will ‘out’ me as an impostor. Running a business is imperfect, and if people look close enough, they’ll uncover the truths I’ve stretched, things I’ve said and haven’t fulfilled, and the weak points in my business.
Reality: Overly self-imporant. People aren’t looking that closely at your every move. If they wanted to find it, they would have already.
Fear: I’m afraid I won’t get any likes, and people will unfollow me because they see I don’t get many likes.
Reality: Most things you say won’t get likes. People won’t unfollow you for that, they’ll just keep reading their timeline. More important to be authentic. It’s better to be authentic than get lots of likes.
Fear: I’m afraid to broadcast and overshare.
Reality: Overly self-important. Nobody looks at your timeline like you do. People follow you for a reason. People follow you because you did something cool like build your own business. Even the little things you share have a lot of value.
Fear: I’m afraid haters will attack me, find holes in my business, and exploit them.
Reality: People will just unfollow me. There are always haters, but haters just say mean things, but don’t actually execute on anything.
Fear: I’m afraid people will tell me I’m wrong.
Reality: This happens all the time, and it’s actually a good thing. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, that's the point. As long as you're honest and clear, you can't be wrong, or right. You're just being you.
Fear: I’m afraid to lose followers.
Reality: Followers are not worth much. If you lose them, you’d probably lose them anyway. If you polarize, you’ll gain quality followers which lead to more quality engagement, which will lead to a healthier, more engaged audience in the long run.
Fear: I’m afraid to tweet things unrelated to the topics for which people followed me in the first place.
Reality: People change and evolve. You may lose followers in the short term, but look at people like PewDiePie: he constantly changed and evolved but that’s what made him authentic, and why his success has lasted longer than everyone else’s.
Fear: I’m afraid of IRL friends judging me.
Reality: They don’t follow me on Twitter. And if they do, why would they judge me for being authentic? Maybe they are not good friends.
Fear: I’m afraid that my boss, customers, investors, etc will judge me.
Reality: I’m lucky to be my own boss and can say things without the risk of losing my job. That is more than most people can say. Again though, this goes back to being overly self-important. Nobody is watching my ‘moves’ as much as I think they are.
Fear: I’m afraid of not being able to one-up myself.
Reality: One-upping yourself is impossible. But you can one-up yourself by doing things differently. Like Pieter Levels… He’s launching small fun apps and having a great time. He doesn’t have to create a unicorn startup after his success bootstrapping, he just does different stuff. That’s still leveling up, but just in a different direction. His audience still grows.
Fear: I’m afraid to be judged by ‘smarter’ people. Some people follow me on Twitter that I really look up to. I’m worried they’ll judge me and stop following me.
Reality: Same logic as losing regular followers above. People that I look up to people are no more special than anyone else, and also change just like I do. I probably have a skewed perception of these people anyway. It’s better to build relationships than think about who’s following who.
This has been helpful!