I spend more time then I would care to admit on Instagram.
I scroll and scroll and when I see a post that has hundreds of “likes” I have been known to click through to look at the person behind the post. And sometimes my mouth drops open. And I think, how?
How do they have so many followers?
Not because I have a problem with who they are or what they post, I double tapped that picture too. But because I so desperately crave, influence. I want my life to leave a positive mark on this world, but the magic algorithm has me stumped and googling “how do I get followers on Instagram” isn’t helping.
I can often feel like I messed up on my journey of influence. I was ahead of the game back in 2009 with a blog, youtube channel and adopted every social media as it first came out. But life took turns I wasn’t expecting and in order to process and heal I took a very real hiatus from social media. One of the first things I learned as I tried to get back into the game is that Instagram rewards those who they deem popular enough to be influential (10,000 followers or more). My insta response was hopelessness and regret. I also felt like I was back in high school. All the self talk of “not good enough” and “unworthy” and “you will never be able to share your unique story with the world” (I am a bit dramatic) started to play on the merry go round of my mind.
If I am honest, and I am being honest in case you didn’t gather that, I used to think that I would arrive at some plateau where I would be good enough to be considered someone to be listened to. Sometimes it can seem like we are all on social media shouting our truths with nice pictures aching for likes and shares and there is a little fairy with pink wings and a magic wand choosing to grant some of us the wish of going viral where others are not chosen for this particular favor.
Here is the truth that I want us all to grasp. We are all influencers. Instagram granting you “swipe up” status doesn’t make you an influencer. Have 300 likes doesn’t make you an influencer. Being featured on the news doesn’t necessarily equal influence either. Each of us has influence, and we each have the choice every day in how we are or are not going to use that influence.
I think influence is like a seed that we plant and water and prune. The more we plant and water and prune our seeds of influence, the more our influence will grow. Also, we all need to acknowledge that influence does not only happen online. Influence can happen any time we are in a space with other people. Your kids school, the mini van, the dinner table, the grocery story, in the office, at a business lunch, out to eat with your girlfriends, working in a coffee shop – you get the picture.
Friends, whether you have 300 followers or 10,000. Whether you go viral or not. You have influence and as long as you have decided to allow your unique story to be used to serve someone else, your influence will leave a positive impact on this world.
Be Who You Are, Where You Are And Influence Your World.
Take the wand back from the magic fairy, stop comparing and own your influence.