How to deal with the online fakery

This has been a week of contrasts: some very high high points and some pretty awful points, too…
Actually, it wasn’t that they were awful, they were just huge, and a massive lesson for me.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m all or nothing. I’m either in or I’m out, there’s rarely any sitting on the fence because I find it too painful and I tend to get splinters in my bum that are difficult to get out. So I generally make a decision and get on with it.
If I’m a friend, I’ll support you as you go through your life, building you up and giving you a pep talk when needed. But if you start coming out with rubbish, I’ll tolerate it for a short while and then I’ll call you on it.
It’s been an interesting experience, being online these past four or five years. I’ve listened to the people/coaches who’ve said “You’ve got some incredible talents and experiences, use them to teach others, show them how to be the best version of themselves, build a tribe, sell your time by coaching them!” I really didn’t enjoy it at all. I don’t have any formal qualifications, I don’t want a tribe of followers and I don’t want to be standing up on the internet preaching how to “live your best life” because god knows that I don’t know how to do that; I’m just trying my best the same as everyone else. In reality, I’m just making this stuff up as I go along, the same as the rest of us. It’s nice to share what’s happening and it’s nice to hear what other people’s experiences are but I’m not going to stand up there and say “this is how you do it” because I haven’t figured that out yet.
Someone suggested that I ought to teach people on the subject of money, how to change the way you think about it and how to get out of the rat race because we’ve done that. “Share your experiences, it’s so inspiring!” It might be inspiring but it doesn’t mean that I can teach other people how to do that stuff or that I want to. The inspirational story part is one of the reasons that I started the podcast: I realised that we’ve all got an amazing story to share. It doesn’t mean we should set up shop and start selling our opinions on how to do things to people.
I know, I know, I have imposter syndrome and I’m probably downplaying myself, but part of that is a reaction to all the people that I know personally who’ve done exactly that: set up shop selling their experiences in something when they have no formal qualifications and very little experience in it.
To be fair, some people are very, very good at what they do, qualifications or not. Most aren’t. I’ve had some great results coaching my friends and making a difference in their lives (thanks for listening, you guys!), but that doesn’t mean I should become a life coach.
To me, this whole thing seems fake, it’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s a pretence that because you’ve done something yourself, you can teach others to do it, or you can set up a company doing just that. If you already struggle a bit with Imposter Syndrome, imagine how it’s going to feel if you’ve built a business based on something you don’t believe yourself half the time or that you know isn’t actually true.
A classic example of the whole fakery on the internet, and particularly social media, is the “International Best Selling Author” claim . Thanks to Amazon, if you figure out a suitable niche category for your book and there’s nobody else in that category, you can sell five books and become an “International Best Selling Author”. The title means nothing these days. Now, some people genuinely can make that claim, my friend, Marie-Anne LeCoeur, is one of them. She’s sold thousands and thousands of books and is a genuine best selling author. Most people aren’t. I’ve been told by a coach to write a book, find a niche category on Amazon that doesn’t have many books in it and put your book in that. Pretty soon, you’ll be an International Number One Best Selling Author, you’ll be able to put the little gold Amazon sticker on your website and it’ll give you so much more credibility. There are whole courses on how to do this. It’s all fake.
It’s one of the reasons why, every now and then, I get off FakeBook and why I’m never on Instagram. Those gorgeous, effortless photos you see of the influencers looking amazing as they lie by the pool or rest their bodies elegantly against a rock on the beach? They’ve probably taken 40 or 50 photos before they got the one they liked and even then, they’ve put the photo through one of the apps to airbrush their skin, whiten their teeth, get rid of the cellulite and trim their waist and thighs. It’s fake.
I like real life. I like people who share themselves, their real selves, not the ones who constantly share that they’re #LivingTheirBestLife or #LoveMyLife or #Beautiful. Do you know that the top 30 hashtags on Instagram are along the lines of #InstaGood, #FollowMe and #Like4Like? I’m not even going to say anything about that.
There’s a lot more to come on what’s happened this week but this is part one. I’m quite sure that some people are waiting with a fair bit of trepidation as to what’s going to come out of my keyboard in the next few days/weeks. I mean, maybe they’re not, but, you know, I can dream if I want to. Let’s just leave it with there’s been a lot of #Fake in my week for now.

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