Right after a client shares with me how she’s felt around social media lately (like everyone else is doing SO well — what’s wrong with her approach?) comes a question like, “Is the coach space too crowded?”
Before social media existed, we had to imagine was it was like for others to be so perfect. It wasn’t nearly as easy as it is now to just scroll through Instagram thinking, “boy… she goes on a lot of vacations. And her puppy is adorable! She has those white countertops I want. And her husband’s always so nice to her. Their relationship is perfect. Her business is probably even perfect! She never struggles like I do.”
When I was a kid, I imagined what it was like to be popular and how much better their lives must have been. They probably didn’t have any problems, family drama, or times when they felt awkward. And not only did these cool girls not have problems, but they *for sure* played soccer.
Spoiler alert: I was not one of the cool girls.
I was new to the school district, thought my Looney Toons shirt was the COOLEST (it kind of was), loved sports, and was awkwardly young (and always behind socially) because I got pushed a grade ahead.
But that didn’t stop me from *wanting* to be like the cool girls, even if they didn’t know who I was.
So I had my dad sign me up for some intense, 5-day soccer camp for kids who wanted to become little Mia Hamms — so I could finally catch up to all the cool girls.
I hated it. Not just a little bit. Like a lot a bit. Apparently I sat out in the hall and cried until lunch everyday, which was the only part of the whole thing I got excited about (<— anyone who knows me, knows this says everything about me).
I can’t help but look around online and see so many of us trying to play soccer. So when I hear people asking, “is the coaching space just too crowded to do well anymore?” “How can I stand out from the coach crowd?” I think to myself, “YES… if you’re just trying to be like everyone else. If you’re authentically and vulnerably YOU, then no. Because there’s only one you. But are you sharing you, or are you watering yourself down to sound like everyone else or what’s popular?”
Every day you’re building your business, you have to ask yourself, “do I even like soccer?” OK, maybe not soccer – but if the idea of using Instagram follow/unfollow bots makes you queasy, don’t do it. If you don’t love twitter, don’t use it. If you hate blogging, then channel your content energy somewhere else.
Don’t force yourself to attend a soccer camp only to sit in the hall and cry everyday when you could’ve gone to a cooking class or read a book instead just because you want to be like everyone else.
The world doesn’t need everyone to be the same. That would be awful, boring, and sad.
Life’s too short to sit out in the hall crying because you’re trying to be one of the cool girls. And as long as you’re trying to be one of the cool girls, the world is missing out on getting to know who you really are and who you’re here to serve.
Do you, girl. The world needs YOU.
In case you need some inspiration, here are a few ways to be more authentically you online:
- Did you used to struggle with what you help people break through now? Write your posts like you’re talking to you from back then.
- Narrow your content focus to 2-3 major topics that you are truly passionate about and focus on those, not whatever everyone else is talking about.
- Get vulnerable. Share your struggles — past or present — to help others going through the same thing.
- Write like you’re writing to your ideal client. The clearer you are with who ‘she’ is, the more natural your language will become.
- Clearly define your business vibe and values. Ask yourself if something feels in line with those before posting or sharing online.
Before we part, here’s a little sketch I drew when I was at that torturous soccer camp:
(Ps. ? is my original artwork circa 1992 – sketching out what I thought a cool girl looked like. Apparently she was blonde and had big lips ?)