This blog might seem a little out of the blue, but it really sums up my feelings about creating YouTube videos, the judgement we subject ourselves to, and how to feel confident anyway. I recently watched a very enlightening video featuring vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown. My friend David shared it with me because he thought it applied to my experiences on YouTube. Brene's words completely resonated with me. I watched the video twice yesterday and woke up at 4:30 this morning with even more clarity about what I do in the online world. (After I went to the bathroom. That was the initial reason for the 4:30 wakeup). I popped open my laptop, and just started typing. This is pre-coffee, so hopefully it makes sense. I'm not trying to be some sort of social media expert... this is just kind of a "what I've learned" type of post. And there's nothing like organizing your thoughts in writing. So I thought I'd share, and hopefully it will be helpful to anyone who has ever "put themself out there".
It's so easy to try to gauge your success by numbers-- views, comments, subscribers, likes, dislikes... if you're getting tons of views, you must be doing something right, right? How often are you really focusing on the things that don't have a number attached? Like the content of what you're saying/doing and the quality of what you're saying/doing. It might seem like common sense, but if you make videos on a routine basis, it can be easy to go on video-making autopilot and overlook these things. And it's just harder to gauge those things that don't have a clear number attached. If you're willing to be honest with yourself, you can figure it out. You don't need a comment to tell you. We're all not only capable, but pretty good at being critics of ourselves. You know about the effort you put in, the originality of your content, the deep down joy- or lack of joy- that you felt when putting it all together.
Why is this so important to think about? Because the content is what is actually impacting those who see what you're doing. The numbers might be for you, but the content and quality is for others and should be looked at closely, regardless of how high your view count is. You can't control how many people had time to turn on YouTube that day, or who was having a bad day and took it out on you in a comment, or who just has a vendetta against your eyebrows. But you can control what YOU do and how you FEEL about what you do.
There will ALWAYS be people out there bringing negativity your way. No amount of "adjustments" will change it. As Brene said in her talk, a consequence of putting yourself out there and being brave is that you will get your ass kicked. I've been doing videos for 6+ years, and for awhile, I tried catering to some of the non-constructive, personal criticisms about me that I found in the comments section. What was the result? Always a new criticism- and a less authentic feeling about myself. A TRUE sense of satisfaction with yourself needs to come from inside. That's what's powerful, and what will really fuel what you do.
If you're willing to take an honest look at how you feel about what you do, I believe you will gain insight into whether you're on the right track or if something needs to change. Nothing translates through a computer screen like real joy and attachment to what you're discussing. How passionate are you? I'm not talking about just "acting excited" - some people are deeply engaged in their topic without seeming to bounce off the walls about it. Joy toward what you do can come across in different ways, but I don't think it can be successfully faked. It needs to come from the inside, not put on. If that's missing- what needs to change to bring it there?
Before you get going on a new creation, ask yourself some questions. Are you excited about it? Are you looking forward to the process of creating it? Are you confident in the things you'll be talking about? If comments, thumbs up/down, or view counts were invisible- how would you feel about what you posted? We let everyone hold us accountable with numerous ways to rate/provide feedback. Don't forget to hold yourself accountable as the one creating the blog, video, or whatever it might be.
None of those questions in the paragraph above asked if you thought what you were doing was perfect. It won't be- you're a real human being! There's a definite beauty in being real and having flaws. Sharing your vulnerability with the world is what allows people to relate to you. Get in a habit of gauging your happiness toward what you publish to the world. If that feeling is there, it will flow through you and it will be undeniable.
Thanks for reading!