Living (socially) Authentically

So as I write this, I am sitting on a plane heading back to Dallas from Sin City.  My company’s annual user conference is complete and it is time to head home.  Just me and about 200 other coworkers and clients on a late American Airlines flight.

As I look back on 6 years of attending this particular conference, I realized that I have both a higher volume of relationships with clients as well as deeper relationships than ever before.  Now, building relationships is actually something I struggle with and have written about before.  I am great when there is a purpose to a conversation or in front of groups of all sizes but when it comes to really developing a relationship, I suffer from a lack of self-confidence/self-worth that can become paralyzing.  (Want to read more on that?  Here is how I cope).

This year felt different though.  I didn’t have that nagging feeling of worry of having to facilitate small talk.  People I have barely met/know were approaching me with comments like:

“Hey RoadWarrior”

“Oh you’re Andrew Bowen!!  You’re the new hotness!!” (seriously, that happened)

“Your posts inspire me”

“Don’t judge my food choices”

“You and your wife are sickening, in a good way”

And my personal favorite……..

“I love your wife!”

So if you were one of the many who shared your opinion with me,

THANK YOU!!!!

It means the world to me to know that the crazy that is me is speaking to people.  I even appreciate the trolls out there that do nothing on social media except consume.  In fact, I think your comments meant the most to me.  Consume away, it is why I post (but the occasional like, comment or share doesn’t hurt either 😉 )

The comments did get me thinking though……

“Why is it that what Joy and I do on/through social media is able to touch so many?”

The answer came to me through a conversation I had at the pool party last night that went something like this:

Co-worker 1:  I think your Facebook feed is my favorite thing on Facebook.  It’s hilarious.

ME:  Really?  How so?

Co-worker 1:  Well, I know you!  So I love that here you are, this straight laced, smart, asset optimization guy at work but on Facebook you put out this alternate persona with the videos, workouts, crazy pants and all that.  I think it is hilarious that you have this alternate persona on social media.

Co-worker 2:  Seriously?  You think the Facebook Andrew is the persona?   That is totally him.  Actually, they both are.

Age gracefully- Nah!!

And that really is it in a nutshell.  What Joy and I both post and share really is us.  We don’t sugar coat it and I think the authenticity is what people resonate with.  And with me being a ‘friend whore’ – not only are coworkers seeing my posts but so are several clients and their friends  (and their friends and their friends, etc…)

  • We really do prioritize our health (4 major medical scares in 4 years will do that to you)
  • We really do want to help others do the same
  • We really do love sweat dates
  • I do really try and make sure her life is as easy as I can before I travel
  • We do really struggle with living a life where I am on the road 60% (ok – 80%) of the time
  • I really do struggle at social interaction until I am comfortable with those I am interacting with…..Joy? Not so much
  • Our kids do really think we are insane

I think the most beneficial aspect for me in dealing with the social anxiety is that when we are recording, or doing FB live, or posting, I am in my absolute comfort zone.  I am with my best friend and not worried about whether the content of my conversation is engaging or if I bring any likable characteristics to the conversation.  I am simply hanging with Joy and in that I am completely comfortable.  It is authentically me.  I just then put it out for the world to see.

Fortunately for me, it seems to be resonating with all of you.  So again, thank you.  So what do you take away from all of this?

Live authentically – even on social media.  People want to know you not the ‘persona’ of what you wish you were.

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