Right now, being ‘transparent’ means telling people what you like to do and what your core beliefs are.
In the future, transparency looks like live streaming video, open conversations, location based connections and real life opinions shared among tight knit groups. More and more of our lives will be online, bridging the gap with the offline. Think about it, five years ago you would not have shared personal details online, let alone photos of baby barf on Facebook.
We’re now making friends online, glued to our devices, straddling the virtual world with that that gives us human connection. Heck, we can even see who is going to be on the same plane as us when we fly across the country through @planely.
If you’re in the online world and want a voice, now is the time to be yourself. Stop censoring every word. Embrace video and sounds bites. Take a stand on that which you believe in. Be real. Admit fault. Tell stories. Be vulnerable.
There is a sort of fear that if you have an opinion that will hurt another, make a colleague uncomfortable or give a reason to a future employer to reject you, you won’t say it. We’ve been in the zone of, ‘If you don’t want to see it on the front of the Wall Street Journal, don’t say/write it.’
A year ago, I agreed with that statement. Today, I believe your opinions and who you are, controversial or not, are what set you apart, make you unique and valuable. If you are following the status quo, you’re just another boring sheeply slave. You have no brand. You have nothing other people can attach to or resonate with.
And the fear that you’re screwed if you say the wrong thing? Once conversations of all types are happening online, your opinions, whether caught on video or not will be of the same context of, “Brian said Becky was really rude the other day.” What do you think when you hear that today? I think, Hrmmm, I wonder what the context of that situation with that was. In the future people won’t judge you for being a human being just like them. We’ll all be in it together.
That still doesn’t address the current, yet changing reality of our fear culture. If you have a corporate job or work in a small business even, and have ideas that contrast with your company or brand, it’s tricky. And what if you’re smarter than your boss? How do you express express yourself without coming off as a know-it-all leech? Do you setup a blog and hope no one from your world finds it?
I guess that’s one of the many benefits of being an entrepreneur. You say what you want, when you want, how you want.
I never go out of my way to say things that will harm other people or make them feel bad, but my first concern is no longer going to be pleasing others. To have a voice means taking the veil off of your spirit and telling stories. I’ve never told stories online. I’ve been scared shitless to. What if I burn bridges? What if people don’t like me? Oh man, what if I’m perceived as harsh or judgmental?
I now realize that the people who share my vision, passions and ideas will feel a stronger bond with me. And, anyone else will fall to the wayside, allowing only those who subscribe to the manifesto of life that I do to find me. I want to find my tribe. The only way to do that is to be (as cheesy as it sounds) authentic.
Part of being authentic is sharing details that make you feel uncomfortable. The irony is that when you do that, people want to be around you. You give them permission to be themselves. They will bend over backwards to help you, open their wallets, befriend you and otherwise connect on a deeper level. All people have a strong desire for pure human connection. Without that, we’re drones, leading a zombie version of life, destined to taxes, strife and ultimately death.
“Connection fuels us and gives reason to do more than collectively survive.”
So, I implore you to join me on this quest of opening up, sharing more and letting go of the idea that being yourself online is purely detrimental, dangerous or otherwise foolish.
Please note: I’m not advocating being a drunk jerk on live streaming video. I’m pointing out the opportunity you have to connect your worlds in a way that others are not thinking about quite yet.