OK, hands up time.
(Not in this way, but heck, it immediately sprung to mind because my musical taste errs on the side of fromage…)
(You’re singing it, aren’t you… hey, I’m not judging, I POSTED it..!)
ANYWAY, now THAT’S out of my system, let the serious stuff flow.
How often do you censor yourself because you’re scared/wary/downright shitting your pants about what other people think?
I see this A LOT – mainly with with websites, because that’s what I look at every day.
From the content to the design and everything in between.
We’re told, “websites need x, y and z” – sign up forms, full-width layouts, corporate branding to attract corporate clients, bios written in third person schmooze-shit. We need this plugin or that feature or those social icons.
But, really, do you?
Spoiler alert: No. No you don’t need any of it.
I’m not suggesting that they don’t work for your site, but websites are not a one-size-fits-all approach, especially as you start to develop your brand. You should always, without fail, absolutely look at each item on your site and ask:
Does it help my ideal visitors understand me and what I do?
Does it help my ideal visitors feel like *I* understand them?
Does it reflect the level I’m playing at?
Does it help the flow of my site?
And, does it help me keep my site secure and safe from dickhead hackers?
If it doesn’t, GET FER-REAKIN’ RID OF IT.
Really, if you’ve ever said to yourself:
“I’ll make it blue. Everyone likes blue, right?” then you’re playing small. There is a big difference between being liked (by the right people) and being inoffensive and indifferent (and ignored).
“Oooh, no, I can’t swear/say what I REALLY want to on my page – what would people think?” then you’re playing small. And I know swearing isn’t everyone’s bag, but if you’re stifling your language and your message because one random, non-ideal person might turn their nose up at it? You’ll be in Limitsville, Limitfornia for a long time.
“I have to have social icons/this plugin here because my coach/friend/gran told me so” then you’re playing small. Your site, your rules – and hey, they might well be right if your goal is to have more people sharing content with the world, but that doesn’t mean you should do it.
Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.
But, worse still, is the sad secret that you uncover when reading these sites; it’s that the website you’re reading is written or curated or designed or managed by someone who gives too many shits about what the WRONG people think. They’ve turned off their right to believe in themselves and they’ve tuned out their need to listen to their perfect peeps, and instead, they’ve followed what they think everyone else wants. (And yeah, often not just with their website… Am I making you feel nervous yet?)
Hashtag sucky sucky feely no likey
But, not giving a two shits about what other people think isn’t the same as doing as you please, no matter what the consequences. It doesn’t give you free reign to tell everyone to go fuck themselves. Nope, I just mean that you start giving shits about YOURSELF FIRST. You are in control of your website, your business, your life. You maintain the responsibility of your reactions and thoughts. YOU are WORTHY of your own time, energy and respect FIRST.
Will some people not like it (and yeah, I mean friends, family, people you admire and respect here as well)? Yes. THEY AREN’T YOUR PEOPLE.
Will some people unsubscribe from your list? Unlike your Facebook page? Unfollow you on Twitter? Yes. THEY AREN’T YOUR PEOPLE.
Will some people even go and badmouth you? Bitch about you? Email you to tell you how they don’t like your new direction? Yes. THEY AREN’T YOUR PEOPLE. (I want to write this WAY MORE BIGLY… Totally a word…)
But y’know what? There will be a small heartbeat of really fucking awesome people who you’ll start to connect with. Who will ADORE what you’re doing. Who will support you. And they will grow. And you will feel free.
Free to shove that corporate blue background up its crappy corporate blue website arse.
Free to talk about controversial shiz using language that resonates.
Free to build a website, business, blog or even life based on your own damn rules and values. Which is basically what it’s all about, amiright?!
Oh, the things you’ll do when you stop giving two shits about what other people think.