If you get easily intimidated by other people’s success, reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. But while you may endure platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is “not your mate”. It’s easy to tweet “being alive is a blessing” until you realize someone just copped a couple million dollars in funding; and he’s alive too.
Are you grateful for your 2:1 from University of Ibadan? Some 19-year old dude just got a fully funded scholarship to Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Edinburgh, MIT, name any school light-years ahead of your dusty Ibadan. You finally made some sales from your online tailoring shop? An underdog just sold her company to Spanx. You made a thousand? That nigga made ten-thousand. Then this homie made a hundred-thousand. This dawg earned a million. That dawg pocketed ten million. Where are you at again? A thousand? Sit down bro, lol. Your progress will always appear slow compared to someone else. That platform is really not for the faint at heart.
“Well, that kinda appears to be how it started out. And it’s still what it is. You step in and you find a hundred revolvers zeroed in on that little achievement your mama said she’s proud of.”
So, you hate what you cannot conquer. That’s natural. If you therefore cannot open your LinkedIn speech with “I am glad to announce that-;” and you cannot add “Microsoft”, “Fully-Funded” or “Harvard,” surrender and head back to WhatsApp statuses..
But should it be so? No. If you are intimidated, the problem is not them, and it is definitely not the Board of Directors of LinkedIn. It’s you. If I just got employed at Tesla, I definitely would want to make some noise. I’m marketing myself to a wider network of professionals. Everyone desires a little fame too. Test that theory; if it were you who got the job, wouldn’t you compose a touching essay of your endless nights applying and getting turned down by several recruiters until Elon Musk took a chance on you? Hell, you’d probably suit up for a photoshoot. Fine, Oyemaja, why don’t you post it on Twitter then? Why LinkedIn? Reid Hoffman was pretty clear about the point of LinkedIn. It’s a professional platform.
How to manage intimidation
Understand that no matter how honest your heart is, you would at some point have this tiny little tinge of envy at another person’s achievement. You would probably wish you were the one at Tesla. Brother, you just have to accept that it is normal. We are humans and we have this innate desire to be great. When you see someone making those great strides and you are not, it’s natural to have that slight pang of jealousy.
When to hit the brakes.
When does this natural instinct become intimidation? When does it become a problem? The litmus test is easy – not typing one of the shortest sentences in the English language, “Congratulations”. Once you find it hard to congratulate people on their successes, then read this article at least thrice. Sure, we know people might tell a man congratulations and at the same time wish he dropped dead. That category too should read this article thrice. Anyways, here’s what we got.
You're not equal!
Get that people are not equal. Humans are different. Jimmy got into Tesla as a software engineer. You studied History and Archival Studies. You love history. What are you hating on for? Different skills, different goals. A person might have a skill that easily accelerates him to success. It might be a skill needed desperately by companies in an emerging field. For instance, the craze now is Virtual Reality and the ensuing need for highly skilled coders. A man who’s into programming may, in a year, find his way to a trillion-dollar company. But you are not into all that. You just wanna sell perfume oil. Those are totally different angles and you do not need to feel intimidated.
If you were handed the job right now, you would turn it down. Why? Because you don’t code and you don’t like coding. But what’s one thing that you would at least have in common with that programmer? You both desire to be extremely successful at what you’re doing. How do you know this? If he earns ten million naira per month coding, and you make ten million naira per month selling deodorant, you would not be so worried. Your hearts are at different places. Tesla’s not the problem. He is not the problem. You just wanna be a successful perfume guy and that’s a valid dream.
What do you see?
Social media only shows you what its users have chosen to show you. These are weird times. I could spot a flashy Lamborghini in the highbrow areas of Lagos, watch around for the owner and quickly take a fine ass picture with it. Might even add a cryptic caption like “Doings”. I do not own the Lamborghini (I pray I do), but you would never know that. So John, why’s your blood pressure rising?
As far as jobs are concerned, that person who just got the Tesla or Facebook job might actually be going through hell at work. His environment might be toxic; his boss might be steadily reading him the Riot Act for little mistakes; he might be getting only 3 hours of sleep trying to catch up with this To-Do list. Is he gonna post about all that? No.
What to post when there's nothing to post
You feel a little embarrassed to announce on LinkedIn that you sold three handmade gowns because one cocky fella just won a global hackathon? That’s the reason you should post it. Yes, the hackathon will get a thousand likes while it might take you a week to hustle 30. Make up your mind, first, on what’s more important to you. If you are desperate for fame, you probably have not earned it yet by selling just 3 dresses. But it you are trying to steal a few customers on LinkedIn, you should not be too worried about how many people see that as worthy of being on a CV.
Be more concerned that people are going to see those gowns and want to buy some. It is true that more likes mean more reach and more potential customers. But, the attitude and motive is the difference. Do you want the likes because you love the numbers or do you want the likes because you need some more customers? If it’s the latter, your frustration will be valid if you have just 10 likes and 3 comments. If it’s just for the sake of likes, then you’re torturing yourself for nothing.
How to post
You have heard the saying that “packaging is everything.” Social media displays what users what their audience to see. You can make people see what you want them to see too. This means that you can put up a display of elegance for your brand. Package your business. Make it look really neat. Invest in very good pictures if you can. Invest in classy graphic designs. Sell your products and make some noise about your brand. Post often and write powerful captions. Again, the attitude is sales and income.
Being pretentious and dishonest about who you are, what you do or how much your business makes is what’s discouraged. Making your business look damn fine is allowed. This will give you some confidence to make posts on LinkedIn regularly. It’s something you’d be proud of. You’d be able to make a simple post like “We sold 2 pieces of this gown this month for 10,000 Naira. They were shipped to Benue State via DHL. It’s appearing to be our best seller at Kien Clothings. We made it from wool with detachable arms for hot countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroun, blah blah.”…..and, you’d feel pretty good about it.