To become relentless means a lot of different things. I’m once again going to refer to Tim Grover’s book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable. In it, he asks this question: “What would it feel like to just let go of all the external pressure and expectations and just be yourself?1
Just. Be. Yourself.
It’s not easy being yourself in a world that expects you to be on-call 24/7. It takes a great amount of confidence and focus to tune out the noise and everything that is being thrown at us. But have you ever thought that, in trying to keep up with the pressure and expectations, that maybe you’ve lost yourself somewhere along the way? That you’ve forgotten who you are and what you’re trying to do in the world?
Getting Back to Myself
In my last post, I mentioned that I had deleted my social media accounts. I had always had a love-hate relationship (more hate than love) with social media. And as I tried to listen to the advice on what to post and when to post to build my author brand, I realized that I was doing more of that than the actual writing that I loved. Yet even knowing that, I kept doing it because, at some point, something was going to break in my favour, right?
Creating content takes time, and it competed with the other writing I was trying to do around a day job. Something had to give before I threw my hands up in defeat. I was also tired of reading about how many words some writers wrote in a day, or seeing the freakin’ memes people only posted in their feeds. I probably could have audited my followers and who I was following, but to get back to writing—to just be myself—I just deleted social media.
Moving Past the FOMO Fear
For me, I think I stayed on social media as long as I did because of the fear of missing out (FOMO), or missing out on an opportunity. What if I didn’t post and that could have been the post to go viral? It’s silly, I know, but again I was giving into those ‘invisible’ external pressures and expectations. And despite the connections made on social media, the likes, the shares, the comments, it never replaced what was missing: a true sense of connection with others. My followers may have been real, but ninety-nine percent of them I’d never met in-person.
The problem is that we want to look good on social media. Life, in general, is rather messy. Things happen that disappoint us, throw us off our game, but oftentimes that is not what we portray on social media. We want others to see us winning all the time, to show how we’re managing—and surviving—through the storm when, in fact, we’re probably close to crumbling (I was).
Just Be Yourself
It has been more than two weeks since I’ve been off social media, and there’s been a remarkable shift. I feel happier, less frustrated, and am making progress on the projects that matter to me. Because I’ve gained back a lot of time that I’d spent creating and posting content, and mindlessly scrolling. It goes back to something else Grover writes in Relentless: “When you’re listening to a mess of external directions, you’re going to end up trying a million little things, without complete confidence that any of them will work.”2
So, I decided to just be myself. To focus on what I feel called to do without the pressures of social media, without spending time on something that is contrary to my will. And by no means am I saying that I will be off social media forever. But I need to take the time to remind myself of who I am, and live up to the expectations I have set for myself.
1 Grover, T. (2013). Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, New York, Scribner, p. 78–79.
2 —, (2013). Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, New York, Scribner, p. 79.