I recently celebrated my third anniversary of sharing my story in agriculture online! If you’ve been around for a while then you may recall some of the changes and additions that have been made throughout those three years. I started this journey out over on Instagram with the handle @FarmWifeyBlog. From there, I grew to starting a online blog – where we are today – to eventually changing my online presence over to WildRoseFarmer and starting my very own podcast, The Rural Woman Podcast.
I honestly don’t know where the last three years have gone. My life, online and off, has taken a complete 180 and to be honest, I haven’t loved every minute of it. Yes, there are days where I just can’t get enough of the online community that I have become a part of and then there are days I wish it would just all go away. Through this journey I have learned so many valuable lessons that have made those days of wanting this to go away be less and less. I am going to share a few of those lessons with you here today.
1. You Are Not for Everyone
Alright, I thought I would get this one out of the way. Check your ego at the door, it’s not welcome here. Your story, your personality, your accent, your style, your WHATEVER is NOT for EVERYONE.
There are people out in the world and on the world wide web, that for whatever reason, will not like you. And THAT’S OKAY! You are not for everyone. I am not for everyone. Does the give them the right to be rude to you? Heck no. It happens, but that it out of your control. But there are people out there that can and will relate to your story. The story you tell yourself when you lose a follower(s) or someone sends you a passive aggressive DM – let it go. There are SO many other people out there that are going to benefit and connect with what you have to say vs. the one people who is just not your flavour.
One last time for the people in the back – YOU ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE, AND THAT’S OKAY!
2. It’s Okay to Say Goodbye to Things/People That No Longer Serve You
Think back to when you started your Instagram or Facebook page… You’re clicking through trying to find people to follow. For instance, I searched ‘Farm Wife’, ‘Female Farmer’, heck even ‘Farmhouse Decor’. But once you started to find your voice and people that you connected with, did you find that some peoples’ accounts you origionally followed, although visually appealing, did not make you feel all that great looking at their stuff? Maybe you felt like you were a less than perfect a farmer, mother, crafter, friend, wife, etc. but when you think about unfollowing/unfriending them you kind of feel guilty because at one time you sent DM’s back and forth and maybe had a connection? Friend, let that sh*t go.
Social Media is optional. We have choice when it comes to who we interact with and who we let interact with us! If you are part of a group chat, comment pod, etc. that no longer fits your online/personal values – leave the group, unfollow the message. Do whatever it is that you need to do to get to where you feel like what you’re seeing/doing online meets your personal goals and values.
3. The Numbers Beside Your Name and Under Your Photo Do NOT Matter
When I stepped away and really took a hard look about what was important to me – followers and likes simply no longer made the cut. Now, I couldn’t tell you who likes me where, who listened to what, or who re-shared any of it. I am at peace with knowing what my why is and that is connecting with others who live the way I do and supporting women in agriculture.
There was a time in the past where you could have asked me how many Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers I had and I could list them off like it was my job. I wish I wasn’t being serious, but it’s true.
I had such a poor mindset when it came to what I was on these apps for. My why did NOT include this metric as a level of success when I started sharing my ag story online – so why did I focus on it? See point #2. Being surrounded by people with the mindset of getting more followers, product endorsements, sponsorship deals, etc. brought me to a really dark and ugly place where sharing my story was no longer a priority but just a means to get me a profit.
If you find yourself obsessing over losing followers or friends, try out this simple exercise that I have done. When you see the number go down – say ‘Goodbye and Thank You’. See how you feel afterwards.
4. FOPO is real
FOPO – Fear of Other People’s Opinions <– See Blog Post
Yes friends, even the best of us have a fear of others opinions sometimes. As a matter of fact, I still do. It’s definitely not like it used to be, but there are times where I find myself doubting what I am putting out there for others to see might be wrong, not true, not liked, etc. When I have those feelings, instead of not putting it out into the world, I hand it over to the people I trust and respect who will tell me the truth if what I am actually putting out there is crap or if it’s just all in my head. Seriously, get you some of those friends! In real life or online. The ones that just love everything you do and think you walk on water – don’t send it to them (like your Mom). Of course they will tell you it’s great. The ones who will take the time and read through or listen to your stuff and give you their real opinion – they are worth their weight in gold!
5. Community Over Competition
‘Find Your Tribe’ – a trendy saying that has been said over and over by millenials, MLM’ers and alike. But what does that even mean exactly? A tribe is described as a small but powerful group of people. Okay – but what are you doing with the power of your tribe? Are you using your power for the good of others? If so, great! But if you’re using your power and energy to compare yourself to the others in this so called ‘tribe’, what are you really accomplishing?
When you find a person or group of people you’re able to be in community with – and I mean truly be IN community with – it will make the world of difference to you and your online presense. You will no longer fear judgement from them, overthink what you’re saying, etc. In your community, there should be less comparison and more celebration for one another. There is room for all of us at the table!
6. Set Your Standards High and Your Boundaries Higher
Y’all, ain’t no mountain high enough nor standards + boundaries! Whether that means your screen time or who you follow and/or allow to follow you! Like I said before, social media is optional. Interact with the people who lift you up rather than bring you down. Don’t ‘love to hate’ people online. Seriously, your energy is worth more then that.
7. Authenticity Over ‘Influencer’
Remember when I told you guys to check your ego’s at the door? I really hope y’all left them there! I think the title ‘Influencer’ can make some people have a hard time fitting into their ball caps. It can make you feel/act like not your true and authentic self. I encourage everyone to take a humble approach and show up as who you are and not what you think people want to see. In my experience, you can smell these ‘influencers’ a mile away.
8. We Are Not The Same and That’s Freakin’ Fabulous
I think our differences make us stronger as a community. I believe accepting people for their differences and learning from their point of view, beliefs and practices will make not only agriculture a stronger industry, but the world a much better place. We don’t all have to eat the same food, grow the same crops, use the same equipment, or farm the same way. In the past, I have been hesitant to share the way we do things on our farm because they can be the absolute polar opposite of how some others’ run theirs. I have learned to accept our differences without bashing the other side even though I don’t agree with how they do things. I choose to share all parts of agriculture because I know there’s more then one right way to do things. I simply believe if you grow food for people you’re a freakin’ superhero. Period.
9. Comparison Is The Root of All Social Media Evil
‘Comparison is the thief of Joy’ – I think it’s safe to say we have all been in the deep dark rabbit hole of comparing what we do to others. It can seem like some people just have it figured out with their clean house, washed hair, and crockpot meal all while they’re driving a brand new combine… And you know what? I am happy for them. Truly, I am. If this is how they live their life and it makes them happy, I am happy for them. Find the joy in the comparison. I believe that people do the best they can with what they have. If the best that someone can do is eat a cheese string as they run out the door, throw on their dirty clothes they’ve been wearing for three days and try fix the old loader because it won’t start again – I’m here for it. It may not be pretty, it may not be ideal, but if it’s what we have to do to get through a day – let that be enough.
10. You Are Worthy of Showing Up and Sharing Your Story
There have been times in my journey I have thought I wasn’t a good enough farmer, wife, friend, podcaster, blogger, etc. to be sharing anything with you. I was afraid I didn’t know what I was talking about enough to share. Honestly, having this fear mindset has held me back a lot of my life. Learning to accept the here and now and being open to learning new things has been a hard lesson to learn. Please know that your story, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, will resonate with someone. It may not be today or tomorrow, but someone somewhere needs to hear it. You are worthy of sharing it. It’s your story and it’s a good one.I promise.
I hope this will be a useful tool if you’re looking at starting a blog or wanting to just share more through social media channels. I am always here to chat about your story