There are people waiting to support what you haven’t been brave enough to put into the world.
There are people waiting to applaud your song, with an unfinished chorus.
There are people waiting to subscribe to your YouTube videos that you won’t make because you think your camera isn’t good enough.
There are husbands waiting to have a much needed conversation with their wife that they want to work to improve their marriage after they read your post about your marriage struggles.
There are children waiting to spend more time with their dad because of your encouragement to start coaching their team.
There are wives waiting to hear about their husband’s struggle with self-worth and confidence because you gave the husband the words to express himself.
There are people waiting to enjoy their job because they started to see their work as valuable even though they aren’t self-employed.
There are people who bought yet another online course promising riches waiting for your reminder that it takes time, and failure, and testing, and refining, and then some more time before success arrives. And sometimes it never comes.
There are people who bought the Full Focus Planner waiting for you to tell them you have to just start using the damn thing if you ever want to figure out how to get the most out of it.
There are people who want to simplify their life waiting for you to tell them which app to use, and which iPhone shortcuts you know about that they don’t.
There are people waiting to start something who need your example of imperfection to remind them “If that guy can do it I can do it.”
There are people tired of trying tactics waiting to read words that are vulnerable and honest that remind them without meaning and purpose tactics are empty motions that lead us to more emptiness.
There are people who are waiting to hear you say, “I don’t know what is coming but I know I can’t get there unless I move forward.”
If you’re heading into a battlefield you want a leader who is strong and confident. If your team is taking the field you want a coach who is confident she has a winning game plan. There are some situations where a leader who shows weaknesses is a bad idea.
And then there are the other 98% of situations where admitting weaknesses is a good idea.
If someone can’t admit they have weaknesses they’re not worth listening to.
Pastors and politicians are the two groups I think of who fall in this trap the most.
Pastor and politicians fall into the trap of trying to appear perfect. It’s a trap for them and us and traps should always be avoided.
Politicians won’t show weaknesses because they want to be reelected. Pastors don’t want to show weakness because they feel a need to perpetuate the myth that pastors are super human or they’re prideful enough to believe that they are actually super human.
I can’t listen to people who won’t or can’t admit their weaknesses. I won’t work for someone who can’t admit to weaknesses. I won’t sit under the teaching of someone who can’t admit their weaknesses.
Why Follow The Weak?
We’re all weak, and we can learn from each other’s weaknesses. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are led by people who understand the struggle of alcoholism. They understand the struggle and they are more helpful and compassionate and effective because of it.
Following someone who readily admits weaknesses means they’re aware of them and are willing to disclose them publicly, which means they’re also inviting accountability.
This is someone I’ll listen to.
So, sorry if you’ve got all of your crap together and you’ve got nothing but smiles all the time. I’m not buying it.
Optimism? I’ve got plenty of it. Confidence? I’m not lacking. Joy? I’ve got enough for me and some left over to share.
But life is hard sometimes and I want to follow people who know and admit that reality for themselves.
The weight of perfection
Turns out being perfect is a lot of work because no one’s perfect so you have to lie about some parts of your life.
I don’t follow liars and neither should you. So let’s get real and follow people who are honest about the struggle.
We’re all more likely to overcome a struggle when we admit we’re in the middle of one.
YouTube can be a horrible place. People can be cruel and harsh to creators.
That’s why I was struck today when I noticed a video I was watching had 7,500 likes and less than 60 👎. (Now it’s up to 10K likes with still less than 100 👎’s.)
JackSucksAtLife is an average guy living an average life, except he lives it in front of people, millions of people.
If YouTube is such a harsh place it seems an unlikely place for a scrawny Englishman with crooked teeth and a cracking voice. For the record I too have crooked teeth and a cracking voice but without the cool English accent.
Jack has a 99.993% like to unlike percentage because he’s just like you and I, and maybe a little worse. He’s awkward at times. He’s never intimidating, and almost always self-effacing.
So why do so many people support his new car purchase? Why are his comments overwhelmingly positive? How does he make a living being himself?
Jack has mastered something great creators all master.
Jack is unique.
He is himself. No one can duplicate Jack. No one will ever “out-Jack” Jack.
There are tactics for growing your platform but beneath all of them is a fundamental truth.
Being original, and we are all originals, is the best way to avoid competition.
Jack’s competition isn’t someone else. Your competition isn’t someone else.
Jack’s competition is his ability to be true to his own uniqueness. Your competition is your ability to be true to your uniqueness.
What are you competing with? Who are you competing with? Maybe you’re fighting the wrong fight. The fight is with yourself.
Ship it. Imperfect, stuttering, poorly assembled, not on brand, full of fear, it’ll never be that bad again, version 1.0 at best and .01 at worst.
The most important part of starting is the moment when what’s been inside of you meets the world around you.
Everything else is a distraction.
The team structure.
There’s preparation and there’s execution. By all means, prepare.
By all means, execute.
Unlock the doors for your “soft opening”.
List items for sale on whatever platform you’re selling on.
The most important thing when you’re starting is for your ideas to live outside of you. Do that, then do it again, and again, and again. Then you’ll stop admiring your heroes so much and become your own hero.