I launched Mind-Blowing Happiness LLC (formerly HoneyButterflyz LLC) nearly two years ago. Although I owned a fitness center franchise in the past, this is the first time that I’ve founded my own company based on my personal vision. Over the past year and a half, I have learned so much about the businesses of bookselling, life coaching, public speaking and what it means to have a platform. Having a platform is critical for business owners, influencers, thought leaders and just about anyone who wants to have an impact.
At the beginning of 2020, I realized that my writing is deeply connected to my desire to have a voice and shift the narrative on topics I care about. I want to help others by teaching, inspiring, empowering and motivating. It’s impossible to do those things in isolation.
I grew up in large corporations. I started working full-time when I was seventeen and have worked for some of the most well-known brands in the world including Revlon, American Express, Verizon, Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. In the corporate model, your platform is as large as your job title. In many ways, social media has democratized the platform.
According to Nielsen, on May 25, 2011, the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show had 16.4M viewers.
Cardi B currently has 88M Instagram followers.
Michelle Obama has over 20.5 followers on Twitter.
My favorite 20-year-old TikTok sensation, Mona Swain, has 1.5M followers.
The fascinating YouTube therapist, DoctorRamani, has 566k subscribers.
The ability to instantly speak to hundreds of thousands of supporters without anyone else’s editing, approval or permission is game-changing.
Not everyone will have a huge platform. Not everyone wants one. It requires both desire and dedication.
Last week, I blogged about Imposter Syndrome, the phenomenon of heightened self-doubt that disproportionately affects successful women. This week, I wonder about the relationship between Imposter Syndrome and the fear of social media, also known as visiobibliophobia, characterized by fear you’re missing out or fear you’re too exposed. Both seem to correlate with feelings of self-doubt. As a woman who was raised to be polite and “not too loud,” I understand why women may want to hide from the busy, loud and often intrusive spaces on social media where we can be both seen and ignored.
These spaces scream for boundaries.
For the record, I am not friends with some of my family members on Facebook. As much as I love to connect with like-minded people, I take my personal boundaries seriously. In other words, I don’t have time for anyone’s shit.
Social media may push you to create boundaries that you’d rather not define. If you’re inclined to compare your life to other people’s, it will bring that to the forefront. If you worry what others think of you, thoughts about who did or didn’t “like” your posts might be maddening. If you feel insecure or jealous, photos of other people’s weddings, vacations or job promotions might rub you the wrong way. An unhealthy relationship with social media can increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
Social media is an overlay world for our real world. Issues with social interaction that crop up in our day-to-day lives can be magnified. Here are my social media tips and in-real-life (IRL) Happiness Hacks to help you enjoy all the worlds you live in:
- Post what you want and forget about it. You might want to give some thought to the purpose of your account. Do you want to connect with friends, promote your business or find work-out buddies? It might be all of that and more. Once you know the purpose of your account, enjoy posting and interacting, but don’t keep score. (IRL Happiness Hack – Do the best you can and don’t get too attached to outcomes. That’s Step #8 in 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: Embrace Surrender.)
- If a post really bothers you, delete it. If you post something, you can edit it later if it needs to be corrected. You can also delete it completely on a whim. You’re in control! (IRL Happiness Hack – If you make a mistake, apologize if necessary, do your best to correct your action and move on.)
- Unfriend people who troll, bully or harass you, even if they are friends or family members. We teach people how to treat us. Tolerating offensive behavior will only lead to more of the same. Talk it out, give second chances, but if people can’t respect your digital space, let them go. Facebook has advanced features now so you don’t have to come right out and “unfriend.” You can “unfollow” or make your posts invisible to specific people. (IRL Happiness Hack – Pay attention to your group of friends and do occasional house cleaning. Make sure the people in your circle are the ones you really want there.)
- Join groups that interest, engage and inspire you and leave groups that don’t. You don’t need to have an explanation or a parting monologue before you leave a group. Just exit and move on to the next adventure! (IRL Happiness Hack is exactly the same. Leave the team, job, club, etc. if it doesn’t interest, engage and inspire you. It might be more difficult than just clicking a button, but living an authentic and inspired life is worth the effort.)
- Use personalized DMs if you really want to talk to people. Most people don’t pay attention to group messaging, posts or spam. If there’s someone you really want to talk to, you’ll need to slide in that DM with a personalized note. (IRL Happiness Hack is the same. If you want to communicate with someone in a meaningful way and build relationships, you will need to speak live over Zoom or in-person.)
- Don’t take it personally if people don’t respond to you. Whether it’s a post, event invitation, advertisement or DM, it’s not that serious. People are busy and social media algorithms are mysterious. Take note and try different approaches, but don’t internalize a personal assault against you that doesn’t actually exist. (IRL Happiness Hack – Not everyone will like you and you can’t control what other people think of you. Most of the time, people are too busy thinking about themselves to even think about you. So, let that shit go, for real.)
- Know your privacy features and don’t post secrets. No matter what settings you use, don’t assume your social media posts are ever unshareable. Even if you only have ten friends on Facebook, one of them can take your post and blast it throughout the digital world. If you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing your post on a highway billboard, you probably shouldn’t post it. (IRL Happiness Hack – speak from your heart and be kind as much as possible. That way, if someone shares something you said it’s no cause for concern.)
- If you don’t find what you want, create it. Most social media is free, and the possibilities are limitless. If you want to create a group for short women who like pink pants, college students who hate Facebook, guitar lovers who live in Harlem, or anything else, go for it! If it doesn’t work, shut it down and move on. (IRL Happiness Hack – Try new things and be creative. If something you try doesn’t work out, you’ll have a lesson to learn and a story to tell.)
Whether you are a social media influencer, a dabbler or hanging on the sidelines, if you want to have a big voice, you need a platform. Oprah found hers in the ‘80s on television. With the advent of technology, you can go far with nothing more than a smartphone and a big idea infused with passion and purpose.
If you’ve never thought about the things that interest you the most, I hope you take a few moments to do so today.
- What are you most excited about?
- What would you share if you had the biggest platform in the world?
- Is visiobibliophobia keeping you from reaching your goals?
- What else might be getting in your way?
I hope you slay anything standing between you and your dreams.
I wish you passion, purpose and the realization of your fullest potential!
P.S. The photo is a great quote about setting boundaries. If you find yourself struggling to say “no” to the things you don’t want and “yes” to the things you do, I encourage you to join me for my Black Vegan Life™ Day Retreat on Sunday, May 30. We will relax, rejuvenate and say “yes” to self-care and reflection.