In 2001 I went to Bali with my boyfriend.
On the first day, I nerdily got out my guide book and listed all the tours to sights of local interest.
Including one to a paper factory.
‘Do you really want to look around a paper factory?’ my boyfriend queried, with a raised brow.
‘Well, not desperately but, you know, it’s a local sight and we really should,’ I replied.
He turned to me and said: “Kim – you don’t HAVE to do anything. That’s why it’s a holiday.’
Reader – I married him.
It was a revelation. Just because it was in the guide book or other people said they’d been, I didn’t have to go? I didn’t have to feel guilty about doing what I wanted on holiday (i.e. people-watch by the pool, mild case of sunburn and a Mojito)?
Holidays have never been the same since. Or better.
But we all feel guilt at times, don’t we? That we should be doing more than we are. Especially with our marketing and personal branding.
We worry that we ‘should’ be on LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, and that we must blog and vlog and slog.
We listen to influencers telling us that we just ‘have to’ have a podcast and a YouTube channel or we’ll fall into the pit of invisibility, dying poor and alone with just our cats feasting on our decaying corpses.
So we try and do a little bit of everything and don’t do any of it very well. And then we get all frustrated and sad because nothing seems to work.
I’m calling time on all of this.
You don’t HAVE to do anything. You don’t have to visit paper factories or other sites of cultural insignificance. You don’t have to share ‘your most vulnerable post yet’ on Instagram or humblebrag on LinkedIn.
Now, you might think this is a bit rich coming from me (after all, I make my living showing you how to get noticed) but here’s the thing:
Yes, you need to be visible to your clients or stakeholders if you want to grow your business or your profile.
But you can find your own unique path.
If you love people, make networking your thing. If you love writing, by all means crank out that blog. If you’re a bit of a show off like me, get up on that stage. Or even better – do something else that no-one else is doing (gasp).
As long as you’re in front of your clients, it’s a great place to start.
And if you enjoy it, you’ll do more of it. And the more you do, the more visible you’ll be. (As I always say – the best marketing isn’t always the smartest or fanciest. It’s the marketing that actually gets done.)
So ditch the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘have tos’ and find your own way. It’ll feel much less like work and a whole lot more like a holiday. (Just don’t overdo the Mojitos).