“Our goal is to live the one life we’ve been given to its greatest potential — whether anybody praises you for it or not.”
A version of this quote has been ringing in my head, ever since I found out that a well-loved professor from our Insitute (where I studied) passed away due to COVID 19 last year.
As I scrolled through the endless list of testimonials, posts and prayer meetings on social media, what struck me about him was his unassuming goodness and his quietude. The depth, volume, and range of the good work that he did throughout his life were done in silence and behind the scenes. Everything he did was a form of service with absolute dedication to his craft.
In early May 2021, I launched my podcast. But do you know the one main reason that I was compelled to launch it? I have been gently thinking about moving away from appearing on video, unless absolutely necessary. In my personal opinion (and especially for women), video tends to distract from the message that we need to convey.
That’s the other reason I can never get comfortable with doing reels, even though every Instagram marketing coach will recommend it as a way to get more visibility and reach.
But — and here’s the real question — what if I am happy with the reach I am getting right now? What if I don’t want more accolades, more visibility, more followers?
Instead, what if we consciously focus on serving our community, our readers, our subscribers and our audience — wherever they find/follow us — with the highest form of gratitude? Think about it. You’d never have to worry about the algorithm, the concept of follower growth or the idea of tricks and ways to get seen. Because when your work serves its audience, they will find it.
In other words, what if we learnt to embrace obscurity?
Letting Go of One More Channel
About midway through 2021, I gave up my Twitter account, followed closely by my Facebook profile. My Pinterest account was next to go and now it’s time to bid goodbye to my YouTube channel. While the first two have been permanently deleted, the latter two will exist as a sort of token presence, without being updated.
This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken about my reasons for why I am relinquishing social media, so I will let you read more in this post from August last year. So much has changed in the digital landscape and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t affected by any of it.
Towards the end of January 2022, I was struck down by Covid. Yes, after successfully dodging it for close to two years, the virus finally found me and rendered me sick for the better part of 2 weeks. During the first of those weeks, while I was in isolation, it came to me that perhaps I was having my hand in way too many pies, from a business standpoint.
For instance, my first and most successful calling card (if one can call it that) has been my writing. This space – my blog – is where people found out about my work alongside my thoughts and ideas. My YouTube channel, however, was more of a billboard for my tips and ideas, trying to call out to people in a rather crowded marketplace. Granted that I have gained clients as well as deep connections thanks to some wonderful interviews I’ve been on, but people have primarily reached out to me thanks to my website. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really needed.
This will also mean a slow and quiet exit from Instagram in 2022. I believe my work on that platform is also coming to a natural end and I will talk more about this in a future post.
Reviving a Connection
The one venture that I did launch in 2021 (my podcast) hasn’t received enough love from me and it’s my intention to remedy that this year as I overhaul my model of creation from the ground up. I love to speak to people – both in the form of interviews and in the shape of listeners – who genuinely reach out to let me know that what I’ve shared has helped them in some way.
The reason I love podcasts? It’s just you and the listener. There are no paywalls, there’s no distraction from a million shiny objects and there are no ads (at least on my channel; and I intend to keep it that way). It’s a direct, heart-to-heart conversation with the people who matter.
When we live our life following our core purpose and explore it to its highest potential, no matter what, we never feel scarcity or lack in the way we do business.
In less than 3 months from now, I will turn 44. Close to four and a half decades on this beautiful, vibrant, incredible planet and I’ve been called so many times to pause and reflect on the magnitude of this statement and what it means to be truly alive.
One question keeps popping up again and again in my subconscious, more so in the last two years, as we’ve navigated a global pandemic. When I look back at my life a couple of decades from now, what will I remember about this phase?
About how many followers I had on Instagram or how many subscribers I had on YouTube? Or will it be about the many witty repartees that I managed in an exchange on social media? (I realize the vanity of assuming that any of my repartees were witty, but this is my reflection, after all). Will it be about the number of books I managed to read each year, besting my previous year’s reading challenge by 10, 15 or 50 books more?
Or will it be about something more significant that I can cherish? The connections I made with people, the kind who will reach out even two or three decades from now, to find out how I am doing and if life has been good to me. Perhaps it will be about how I changed, as an individual.
As someone who created outside the limelight for the first 6 years of her blogging career and was then creating with an audience over the next 8 years, it’s almost as if life has come full circle again.
Maybe it’s age or perhaps it’s the feeling I have in my mid-40s that not everything has to be shared with the world at large. And maybe I will find that woman again – the one who enjoys creating for the sake of the creation itself.