Sunday, January 17, 2021

I Spent 2 Years Writing on LinkedIn Every Day — Should You Do It?

It’s about a lot more than social media.

LinkedIn doesn’t pay you to write, and followers don’t pay the bills. You get nothing in return other than empty likes.

I have written on LinkedIn consistently since 2014. I increased the number of times I wrote on LinkedIn about two years ago. Now I write daily. You might be wondering whether you could do the same, or replicate that strategy for another social media platform.

The short answer is: yes. But not for the reasons you might think.

Writing on LinkedIn or any platform daily can substantially change how you live your life and open you up to new ideas you never thought of. Here’s why.

1. Writing consistently helps you express yourself.

Getting your point across helps you get more of what you want in life — love, money, fulfillment, friends, business deals, etc. I used to be a terrible communicator. If I got asked a question in a meeting I would fumble my way through an incoherent response full of Ums and Ahs.

Writing on LinkedIn daily taught me to be succinct, concise, talk simply, and tell stories.

2. You can earn a living from writing on social media (just not how you think).

LinkedIn won’t pay you a cent. Unless you get a job working for them as an employee.

Making money from LinkedIn is a dark art. All the income potential happens off the platform, through emails random people send you, and building an email list. The easiest way to make money from LinkedIn is to use the platform to find customers for your day job or small business.

People read your stories. Then, if they’re helpful, they will listen to what you say. Having people listen to you is a powerful way to be helpful and get paid for the advice through coaching, courses, eBooks and paid newsletters.

3. The people you meet along the way will help you during your darkest time.

One day you will build up the courage to write something on LinkedIn that you never thought you’d say in public — let alone in front of your boss, customers, and work colleagues.

When you get that dream job that allows you to be a leader you will celebrate on LinkedIn by posting a video about what has transpired.

Your new boss will share that video with your whole team and pump you up as though you’re a celebrity that is going to change the company forever. LinkedIn will make you feel larger than life. You’ll still feel small, though. You’ll even feel like an imposter living a fake life. You will feel each day that you’re not good enough and shouldn’t have got the job.

You will go to work one Friday as a leader with the fancy title and look forward to international food day. You will bring doughnuts from the supermarket to the event because you can’t cook. You will pump up your team before they jump on the phones and talk to customers, as if you know what you’re doing. You will stand in front of the team during the late morning team meeting and pretend working in a bank taught you something about leadership.

Lunch will be over, quickly. The significance of the lunch you just ate will be felt for years to come. You just won’t know it.

You will attend your regular 1–1 meetings with your team members and listen to them complain while dropping Tony Robbins quotes as the answer to their life’s problems. You’ll get ready for your last meeting at 4 PM with complete ignorance. You will take your work laptop to the meeting and make small talk with the other female manager who you secretly admire for her sheer bravery and badass approach to life. You feel you could never be confident like her.

You’re about to enter your last meeting for the day. Then, out of nowhere, the enemy taps you on the shoulder. “Got a minute.” You hated him since the day he became your boss. He’s a terrible human being, but you tried to ignore his reign of terror because you wanted to lead people your entire life. This was your one chance and you had no idea he secretly hated you too.

You follow him to a meeting room on the other side of the office and know what’s about to happen. You saw this moment in your nightmares. You just never believed it could happen to you. He opens with “take this envelope.”

You know it’s not a good envelope with a huge bonus check because nobody hands out letters in envelopes anymore unless there is a legal document in it, or your grandma sends a letter saying “hi.” Once you take the envelope from his hands you realize you’ve accepted your fate. It’s like bad sex. You want the moment to be as over as quick as possible. You dislike him. He hates you for your non-dictator view of the world with a touch of Jay Shetty Monk inspiration on the side.

You pretend you’re okay. You walk over to your desk and your boss follows you to ensure you don’t break any laws, or use your laptop to send one final letter to the team. You grab your stuff. The polite woman next to you asks you a question. Her words make no sense. Your hearing turns off and you nod your head. The numbness sets in real quick.

The boss walks you to the lift and takes the ride down with you. You tell him you didn’t steal the keyboard he can see in your hand. He pretends to be generous and says “it’s okay you can keep it.” A generous phrase like that is one he would never truly mean. Generosity is his version of satire.

You walk down the street a free man. Your work colleagues who are unaware of your execution from corporate life shout from the other side of the stress “why are you going home so early?” It’s too hard to get words out, so you smile instead. In one more block you break down and tears stream down your face. You wanted that job so badly and it was taken away after only seven months. It’s like you went through a breakup, except there wasn’t another human being involved — just yourself and your LinkedIn dreams.

The hardest part happens when you get home. When you got the job and announced it on LinkedIn everybody was cheering you on. You were the definition of the people’s hero, except the people all wore suits and worshipped revenue. It’s too hard to say what happened.

So for the next few months you keep writing on LinkedIn every day and pretend you’re employed while lying to the world about your employment status. You attend Meetups after 5 PM and when a stranger asks you “so, what do you do for work?” you lie and say “I am a people leader for a tech company.” This is one of many lies you will tell to cover up your shame.

As unemployment takes hold, you keep writing on LinkedIn. During this difficult time something happens. People who you’ve worked with over the years begin reaching out. They introduce you to recruiters. They invite you to their events. They send you emails full of kindness. Former bosses take the entire afternoon off to spend it with you. One mentor even flys to your hometown especially to catch up with you. They gift you free tickets to a seminar that acts as an escape from the negative thoughts trapped inside your head.

Many of the people who help you through unemployment are people you met on LinkedIn. You look back on the entire process of getting fired from the job you waited your entire career to get and are more humble than ever.

Thinking about the power of humanity and how it has helped you in this situation is the sort of idea that can bring tears to even the toughest person’s eyes. You realize you don’t need to let shame destroy you. You realize it’s okay *not* to be always winning.

One night you build up the courage to share your story of getting fired and facing a prolonged period of unemployment on LinkedIn. The story goes crazy viral. You look at everything you’ve learned and ignore the likes. You see the difference your story has made and how many people it’s helped who have faced or will face the exact same situation. The story may make you appear weak. But you feel infinitely strong again. That strength helps you recover and move on from your life.

You smile, knowing humanity can be incredible when you step away from your selfish desires and do something helpful.

Dark times are hard. That’s why close relationships are so important to get you out of a dark place.

4. You never know where a random habit can lead.

Whether you write on LinkedIn, or not, it doesn’t matter.

A random habit can lead you towards a life you never knew you could create. Consistency and effort can never be underestimated. Change the world one tiny habit at a time.

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