I don’t actually want to be polarising

The best way to get engagement is to make strong, polarising, even outrageous statements. 

You’ll get more likes. More views. More haters too, but then that counts as engagement cos you can respond to them and then more people see it and that’s the point, isn’t it? More people, more comments, more visibility?

Maybe. Maybe for some.

I was thinking about it this weekend and I’m not sure I want to be so polarising.

Energy has always been precious to me (including physical, emotional, mental energy) – for many years I had very little, and I slowly began to see the impact of choosing what gives me energy and letting go of things which took too much energy away. Things or people or places or books or whatever. Like having an energy budget, the same way you’d have a financial budget. “Going to that party is going to cost me too much, and I need to save some for this other event I really want to attend.” or “Taking that phone call will deplete my energy to a point I’m not ready for, so I’ll choose not to answer right now.”

And when it comes to polarising statements or positions, you have to have the physical, emotional, and mental energy to handle the disagreement. The other points of view. The discussions, the “yea but what about…” statements, the “no you’re wrong and here’s why”.

Some people find that sort of thing energising and motivating.

Some people have a higher level of energy to deal with it.

Some people don’t want to, at all, but are driven by a burning motivation which is deeper. (Like someone calling out abuse, which isn’t pleasant, but what they’re doing will protect others and literally save lives. They’re taking a hit to their own energy to protect that of others.)

Whenever I’m writing, I tend to be very aware of those who are reading it and what they might be thinking. This can be a good quality (think of your audience); and it can also prevent me from making too-drastic statements. If I’m about to say “choosing an exclusive industry niche is the fastest and most efficient way to high profits quickly”, I start thinking of those who don’t want or need an exclusive industry niche, or tried it and it didn’t work for them, or got results but it took longer…and I find myself adapting to fit the “what ifs” of my polarising statement.

I used to think this was a negative thing. Like I had to learn to grow a hard shell and stop worrying about what others think and just SAY WHAT I NEED TO SAY.

But I’ve also been thinking about being the best and the most true of who I actually am, and I’m not really about saying “here’s what I think and who cares what you think”. I’m not really about polarising statements, and being right no matter what, and arguments between the two poles. I do a whole lot better when I share a perspective I’m thinking of, and someone else says “well what about this” and I say “oh that’s different, share more”, and they do and I do and we both learn something.

I have all the respect in the world for those who make polarising statements. Things like, Amazon is a greedy capitalist system and everyone needs to use something else. Global warming is a thing and anyone who thinks differently is fooling themselves. Coffee is the only early morning drink and anything else is a cheap imitation.

Those are all polarising statements. None of them reflect my opinion entirely – even the coffee one, which up to a few months ago I would have agreed with, and then I got covid and didn’t actually want coffee for a few weeks and now I’m like oh, hm, here’s what life is like without having to have that early morning caffeine hit and it’s new and different. (I’m still hoping I’ll want coffee again one day, because I miss the pattern and the routine and the happy morning feeling. But I’ve got a less polarising view right now.)

If you want or need or like to make polarising statements, go for it. You will send people to the opposite poles and most likely get lots of engagement and comments and connection and notoriety. And maybe for you that’s what’s most comfortable, most you, most real.

I too am getting a lot more comfortable with who I am:

The right way is the long way.

Curiosity means holding an open mind.

Everyone is creative but not everyone realises it.

These are views I hold which could be stated to polarise, if I turned it round. “Taking the shortcut is shortsighted and will cost you in the long run.” “Telling people what is right doesn’t work.” “Stop saying you’re not creative.”

But those feel more harsh, more negative, more drastic. The polarising version can be about being right, and being known to be right by checking the score of how many agree. Or about being proud of yourself for standing up for what you believe is important.

The approach I’m taking – and realising is the one I’ve always been more comfortable taking – is more about sharing what I’m learning, and listening to replies and comments (and agreements and disagreements and differing perspectives).

It’s less about being rightand more about being heard. 

Both sides being heard. Then if someone changes their mind (me or the other person), it’s because we’ve considered it and we see it from a different perspective.

It’s slower. It’s gentler. It definitely takes longer. It’s more my style.

What’s yours? Got any polarising views you’d like to share?

 

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ON THE GRAM

I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌