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Balancing authenticity with your mental health
How to build a strong online presence while maintaining healthy boundaries
This past week we delivered a workshop at The Org’s hip and cozy New York office. Nestled in the middle of SoHo, their space is a quiet oasis in the middle of a hustling-and-bustling neighborhood. We grabbed some wine, light bites, made new friends and talked all things online presence.
Towards the end, we received one of the most insightful questions anyone’s asked us in a while: how do you balance authenticity in building a strong online presence with your mental health?
We’ve certainly struggled with finding the right balance. And we’re well aware we’re not the only ones. So, today, we’ll share our tips for striking a good equilibrium between the two.
Before we dive in, a disclaimer: finding this balance is something extremely personal and will vary from one person to the next. However, there are some guidelines that we all can lean on to find what this looks like for each of us.
Now, that we’ve cleared this up, let’s dive in.
Choose how much you want to share
One of the main challenges many people encounter is balancing your authenticity with the type of content you share with your audience. Sharing content that may feel personal or vulnerable can be a good way to allow people to get to know you, but it can also have a negative impact on your mental health.
Finding the right balance is key. You want to be your authentic self but you also don’t want to go too far. Sharing things that feel personal could potentially attract the wrong type of audience or leave you feeling exposed. That’s why it’s important to have a clear idea of what your boundaries are and how much of yourself you are willing to share with your audience.
For example, you can talk about meeting interesting people in your space or problems you are encountering as a professional, but refrain from sharing your location, travel plans or how you choose to spend your leisure time. This is not one-size-fits-all and the line varies widely from person to person, but it’s good to take a moment and think about what yours may be.
Stick to the main topics you post about
If you’ve been reading Story Alley for awhile, you have likely heard us talk about your Zone of Genius. This is the intersection of things you’re passionate about, things you’re good at and things you can teach someone else. Your Zone of Genius is the cornerstone of your content strategy and will inform the topics you post about.
One way to manage your mental health is to stick to your “regularly scheduled programming”. By keeping to the topics that fall under your Zone of Genius you will not only help your audience learn new things, but will also carve out a niche for yourself and alleviate the stress of finding interesting topics to talk about or reveal parts of yourself that may feel too personal. It will also optimize for attracting the type of people that can help you get to your goals faster, as they will come to see you as a trusted expert. Win-win.
Lean into the parts of your personality that resonate the most
Let’s face it: we’re all complex, multifaceted humans. It is not easy to translate this online and share every aspect of yourself when you interact with your audience. The good news is you don’t have to.
Invariably, as you experiment with content and different tones of voice, you will notice that certain types of posts perform better. Oftentimes, these posts will be written in a specific tone of voice and reflect a certain aspect of your personality. When you notice such a trend, the best thing to do is lean into it. Chances are your content will perform better overall, if you use this tone of voice more and amplify this aspect of your personality.
Doing this will not make you less authentic. You are still being you, but are just showcasing a certain aspect of your personality more than others. If you are still unsure, think of it this way: we all act differently at a party with our close friends versus a presentation at work. Context matters and authenticity goes with it.
What is Salley?
Salley is an intelligent career coach that helps you stay ready for the future. Learn skills that are not easy to automate, such as building a strong online presence.