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Stepping out of my shell on social media

Breaking a three-year long hiatus on LinkedIn was not easy. 

As recently as last week, I was aimlessly browsing on my phone and going to bed with a disgusting feeling. Yet another day wasted. At the end of three days, I realised it was my typical avoidance behaviour. What was I avoiding? Posting one of my notes on LinkedIn on Wednesday. 

Come Wednesday, I even had a jittery feeling in my heart. Call it anxiety or nervousness. I had not felt like this in a long time. I explored this in my weekly coaching session. 

Two things became clear during this conversation. 

One was that I was ok to speak to any audience in person, without much hesitation. But on LinkedIn, I would be communicating with a lot of strangers, whose reactions I could not read. The virtual nature of LinkedIn was making my mind perceive the unknown as a threat. The drama queen that my mind is, even made me worry about being trolled! 

Secondly, I felt safer in my comfort zone, much like the Hermit crab in its shell. And unbeknownst to me, this has gone on for three years! What is the need for subjecting myself to unnecessary scrutiny, making myself vulnerable and that too in a professional space where feelings are not appreciated as such. I have found it safer to be myself in my Facebook and Instagram posts, but not on a ‘professional’ platform. Much like how many of us leave our emotions at home, as we enter our workplaces.

As a solution to this anxiety, I told myself that I would not like to spend another three years wondering ‘what if I had posted… what if I had spoken my heart out ... what if there were others like me who needed to hear this… what if…’ This was one possibility that I did not want to regret not choosing. 

I also told myself that I would only step out of my comfort zone just this once. I would adopt a beginner’s mindset and be curious about how this experiment turns out.

The responses from so many of you showed me another possibility. That amidst the unfeeling robots, the AI writing bots, the angry trolls and what have you, there are kindred spirits. There are people who get me and those whom I can call my tribe. There is still a possibility of being human in the professional world. 

I know a lot of my friends have stayed away from showing up on LinkedIn for various reasons. I hope it is not for any of the above reasons. Or even reasons such as who will read my content, what new stuff do I have to talk about, I do not wish to preach, my life is so imperfect right now that I would rather stay silent. Well, I have had these thoughts at different times too. 

If you feel like voicing out something, please do. This can be a safe place too. Maybe, when more of us step out of our shells, we normalise empathy in the professional world. 

Video is of a hermit crab we spotted on Ullal beach last year.

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