AMY PORTERFIELD: “And even beyond social media, there's so much that can be gained in your life and in business by learning to live alongside cringe. For instance, if you often find yourself changing your decisions or not taking action on opportunities because of what other people might think, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, ‘What's the worst that could happen?’ You just might find that by taking that chance, putting yourself out there, and getting out of the other side alive is incredibly motivating.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: I need to tell you about a podcast that I love. It's called Imperfect Action, it's hosted by Steph Taylor, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. And it's a bite-sized online-marketing podcast for business owners. So Steph is going to answer all of your business-marketing questions and deep dives into all things online marketing, content marketing, social-media marketing, and marketing strategy for business owners. So if you love Online Marketing Made Easy, I think you're going to love Imperfect Action as well. I loved her recent episode about how to turn your audience into paying clients. Uh, yes, please. And she talks about how to use better call to actions, streamline your sales funnel, and so much more. You can listen to Imperfect Action wherever you get your podcasts.
Well, hey, there. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy.
I hope you're having a wonderful day. I'm going to kick today's episode off with a bit of a curveball question, and that is, have you ever done anything so awkward, so embarrassing, so cringe worthy that you could barely stand it? I know I have, both professionally and in my personal life. Like, if we go way, way back, I've got tons of stories. But even in my business, like when I think about some TikTok videos I've made that included pointing and dancing and doing silly things, or some certain things that I've said on podcasts or in videos that I kind of just cringe even thinking about it. But the thing is, when those things happen to me, I literally want to crawl inside of a deep, dark cave and never emerge. It felt like, at the time, like, Oh my gosh, people are going to remember that I said that forever, or I did that or whatever.
Now, my fear of these cringeworthy moments sticking with me for all eternity, it's not unfounded, especially when it comes to social media, right? Every single thing we post online can be shared only to be laughed at and mocked or canceled. And beyond that, there's such an overwhelming awareness of the way we appear to others online that often we feel like we can't show up simply as ourselves. This is something that I've certainly struggled with, and maybe you can relate as well.
I've talked about this before on my podcast, specifically episode 542, “Why I Show up Online as 100% Myself.” So episode 542. Just go to amyporterfield.com/542, and I'll get into that, showing up as yourself, even a little bit deeper.
But here's the good news. I don't know about you, but lately, kind of, like, since the start of 2023, I've noticed that more and more people online are embracing the cringe. There's been a bit of a cultural shift, and sharing something that you used to find embarrassing is now the norm. I'll be honest: I am here for this. And that's what today's episode is all about, how and why embracing the cringe can make you a stronger person or a happier person, or dare I say it?, a better business owner.
So I don't know if you've seen it, and this is going to sound very silly, there’s this image that went viral, and it's of a cow standing in the waves of a beach and staring out into the distance. And the words on the image are, “I am cringe, but I am free.” Now, if you haven't seen it, I'm going to link to it in the show notes just so you get the full effect. “I am cringe, but I am free.”
Now, upon first glance you're like, that's just a silly meme. But if you really think about it, like, stay with me here, this is more of a commentary on how people in a post-pandemic world are choosing to live their lives. Like, during the pandemic, we were all forced to lean into ourselves a little bit more and start exploring interests that might not have been seen as on trend. So anyone remember how cool making sourdough bread was or doing boardgames, or taking an RV vacation suddenly became super cool? All of these traditionally uncool things started showing up online. And now that we're back out in the real world, people are bringing their quirks and idiosyncrasies with them for all the world to see. So this whole movement of being cringe is about celebrating what makes us unique and not hiding our true selves away, whether it aligns with what's expected by society or not.
And I'll be honest: there's a huge sense of relief that comes from letting go of caring about what others think and embracing that weird part of yourself that you've been taught to shun by society. So not only can this make you a happier person, but from a business perspective, showing up authentically online can also help you create a stronger, more supportive, and real community.
I recently had author and podcaster Jen Hatmaker on my show. If you missed that episode, you've got to listen to it. It's one of my favorites. And she's a great example of someone who's created a highly engaged and loyal community by showing the parts of herself that might be cringy to others. She doesn't have a perfectly curated social-media feed. In fact, she lets her audience into her life even when it's messy. So by doing that, not only has her community become stronger, but she's also a happier person. She talks about that in her Instagram feed.
There's something she said in that episode that I'm going to quote because I just find it so powerful. This is what she said: “It's been such a joy to evolve and grow and change in front of my community and suffer and heal and recover, because they're all doing the same thing. And so it’s this sense of, I’ll do it in front of us, I’ll do it publicly, and that gives some sort of interesting permission for the community to do it in their real lives and privately. And it just has this effect of healing and of growth and development. And it's lovely. And I sometimes forget that it's business because it just feels like a bunch of friends doing life together and learning as best we can and trying as hard as we can.”
Jen, I love that so much. I wanted to bring it out in this episode because it was worth repeating. I think she says it so beautifully.
So that, my friend, is how we should aspire to be online. Not perfectly curated, not afraid, just 100 percent ourselves, cringe and all. And by the way, if you haven't listened to that episode, you should. It's episode 551, “The Anti-Niche: Jen Hatmaker’s Approach to Creating a Highly Engaged Community.” I'm going to link to it in the show notes, but you can get to it at amyporterfield.com/551.
And even beyond social media, there's so much that can be gained in your life and in business by learning to live alongside cringe. For instance, if you often find yourself changing your decisions or not taking action on opportunities because of what other people might think, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “What's the worst that could happen?” You just might find that by taking that chance, putting yourself out there, and getting out of the other side alive is incredibly motivating.
Maybe you've been wanting to try salsa-dancing classes, but you're too afraid of embarrassing yourself on the dance floor. Or maybe you've been wanting to launch a digital course teaching people about sex ed, which is actually a topic my students have done exceptionally well with, but you’ve been too afraid of what people in your circle will think. Whatever it may be, remember that anything that has the potential to bring you joy in life and in business also runs the risk of being totally cringe. Did you hear that? Come back to me if you're multitasking. I'm going to repeat it. Remember that anything that has the potential to bring you joy in life and in business also runs the risk of being totally cringe. And that's okay. And by letting the fear of cringe stop you from pursuing what you really want, the only person you're hurting is you. Yep, you. So I encourage you and I encourage me to embrace the cringe. You never know where it might lead.
And on that note, I want to hear all about the cringe things that you've done in your life or business that have helped you move forward. So I want you to DM me. I'm just @amyporterfield on Instagram. Get into my DMs. Like, share with me something you did that maybe someone would say cringe, but it absolutely moved you forward or made you happier or gave you joy or helped you build your business or whatever it might be. I really want to share some of them, so if you're cool with that, just say, like, “It's okay if you share this,” or whatever, but I'd love to share some of those. But if you want it private, just say, “Don't share this, Amy, but I wanted to tell you.” Deal? Okay.
I hope you like this Shorty episode. Thanks so much for hanging out with me. And if you'd be so kind, if you have a friend that’s struggling to just be themselves online, share this episode with them and encourage them to embrace the cringe.
All right, my sweet friends. I will see you on Thursday for more entrepreneurial goodness. Take care.
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