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The business world puts a high value on grit and perseverance. But what happens if all of your grit and perseverance is invisible? Episode 78 of Faithful on the Clock emphasizes the need to have people see what you’re consistently achieving over time.
[00:32] - Finishing a big writing project inspired this episode by getting me to think about the idea that grit alone is necessary for success.
[01:05] - There’s value and truth in persevering. But I’ve worked hard on social media only to now see a call for communications to become smaller again.
[02:15] - As my social media visibility has decreased, I’ve realized that it’s not just grit that matters. It’s the visibility of your grit that counts.
[02:51] - Visibility is getting more difficult to achieve even outside of social media, such as with the move to subscriptions that can increase promotional costs.
[03:32] - The big question now as platforms decline and pathways close is how to be visible so that our grit gets the attention and respect it deserves.
[04:17] - Strategy #1: Integrate a lot of channels into your marketing, but be careful to be targeted and use techniques that appeal on those platforms.
[04:54] - Strategy #2: Rely on word of mouth more. People often are afraid to do this because the American ideas of individualism and autonomy make us believe that if we can’t do it alone, we’re failures. But we all need some help.
[06:49] - Strategy #3: Don’t try to do everything within the channels you pick. Instead, laser-focus the light of your talent where it really will kick darkness to the curb.
[08:13] - If you worry that your reach will be smaller using a focused approach, remember the ministry of Jesus. He worked by word of mouth with just a few disciples. But word spread quickly. This shows that you don’t need a lot of channels so much as you need a good message with passion behind it. Allow others to carry your message so your light continues to shine and goes further long after you’re gone.
Finishing a large writing project got me thinking about the concept that continued grit will always be rewarded. I’ve been seeing social media visibility decline over the past year, which is further fueling my concerns.
It’s not so much your grit that matters. It’s your visibility around your grit that does.
Other issues aside from social media decline are aggravating the difficulty of achieving visibility.
We are not supposed to hide our light (God-given talent and skills), but rather to make it visible.
Strategy #1 - Integrate different channels in an omnichannel way, but with a good strategy.
Strategy #2 - Work on word-of-mouth connection and let people know what you’re doing in organic ways. Self-advocate naturally through your interactions.
Strategy #2 - Don’t try to do everything within your omnichannel system. Instead, make your light like a laser and focus on where you genuinely have skill or talent. Allow others to spread your message with you and remember that it’s the message that matters more than the messenger.
Select some key channels you can use to interact with others on a regular basis. Analytics tools can help you decide where to put your effort.
Come up with a few elevator pitches, links, or other materials that you can share naturally as you go through your day so you’re not caught off guard when the opportunity to market yourself arises.
What’s coming up next:
Most professionals work hard to be happy and get ahead, but not everyone does. Some workers subconsciously or intentionally self-sabotage. In Episode 79 of Faithful on the Clock, you’ll learn why people self-sabotage and how to prevent the behavior.
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Hidy ho, listeners. I'm Wanda Thibodeaux, and you're listening to Faithful on the Clock, where every chicken nugget's been deep fried to get your faith and work aligned. On today's show, we're talking about visible grit and why it's so important to have other people see the effort you put in over time. So turn everything else off and focus in, because I'm starting right now.
All right, everybody. So I was inspired to do this episode because I just finished up a huge project with my writing. And I've been working on this project now for a couple of years, so finishing this project was kind of a big deal. But it just got me thinking about the idea that we have in business of grit or perseverance, this idea that you have to just persist and keep going to be successful. And we tend to put this concept up on a pedestal and believe that if you just keep trying hard enough you'll be rewarded.
Now, I do think there is some truth to the idea that you shouldn't automatically give up when things get hard, or that you should play the long game for what you want. To get something good, we can't always turn to immediate gratification, right? But in addition to doing this huge project, I've also spent the last couple of years really trying to build up a social media platform, because that's one of the main ways now that writers can connect with others and share their work. And over the past few months, you know, I've really seen social media platforms start to struggle. And that doesn't mean that they'll completely die off, but they really are having a rough time because they're advertising funding isn't what it used to be. And so now there's this call to pull our communication back to more traditional formats or at least return to smaller or more community-based ways of connecting to each other. And then of course on top of that, some platforms are having their own issues, like you see happening with Twitter and lots of people leaving that platform after Elon Musk took over. And because of that I've really seen my impressions on those platforms pretty much drop off a cliff over the past year or so.
So essentially, what's been happening is, I've been putting in a ton of work. And I've been incredibly consistent with everything that I've been doing. But the visibility that I have has been decreasing. And so that's made me rethink this idea that if you just put your foot to the floor and persist, you win out. Because it's not the grit that matters. It's having the grit be visible that matters. If you don't have that visibility, if nobody knows what you're doing, well, you can work 24 hours a day being the absolute best in your field and it's not going to get you anywhere.
So I've mentioned that the decline of social media is making it harder for me to be visible, and I don't think I'm the only one who's finding that true, especially as algorithms get tougher and tougher to deal with. But even if you take social media out of the picture, I think that there are a lot of other things that are making visibility harder to obtain than it used to be. For example, there are a lot of services now, whether that's marketing or something more directly related to creating your services and products, and these have become more subscription-based. And so I think for a lot of people the costs of those subscriptions or memberships are influencing how they can develop and promote themselves.
So the question then becomes, as these channels get tighter or more closed off to us, how can we ensure that we have visibility around our grit so that we get the recognition and opportunity we're entitled to for our effort and talent? Because remember all of our talents and skills are God-given, right? We're supposed to use them for His glory. Matthew 5:15-16 talks about this and says, "No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
So I think the first answer to that is what marketers have been saying for a while, which is to be really diverse and integrate a lot of different channels. Now that's within limits, right? You want to be targeted with the channels you choose and make sure that your audience is there and that you're using approaches that are going to appeal to them in those places. But essentially, it’s the same idea as with investment, that you don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Everything can integrate in a very omnichannel way, but you set yourself up so that if one channel has to get pruned out, the whole tree doesn't die.
The second thing is, because a lot of these broader platforms aren't working the way that they used to, you're going to have to rely on word of mouth a little bit more. And that means taking the time to build one-on-one relationships with people. And then once you have those relationships built, you cannot be shy about updating people about what you're doing. You have to really get in there and tell them your story and also make your asks. You know, see if they have information or resources or if they can help you in some other way. And I think a lot of people don't like to do that, right? They don't like to ask because, at least in the United States, we have this idea that if we can't do it by ourselves, then somehow we failed or we're weaker than the people who are already at the top who have figured it all out. And I think that all ties to the American concepts of individualism and autonomy. We wanna show that we have everything it takes to make it. But the reality is, none of us do. We all need some help, because none of us knows everything or has everything available to us. So just really self-advocate as much as you can, you know, in a way that's going to feel natural in your conversations. As an example, one thing I tried to do frequently on social media, particularly on LinkedIn, is I try to include links to my previous work. I don't do this just for the sake of leaving a link. Like, if I drop the link, it's absolutely relevant to the other person's post or comment. And I make sure that that link is not the total focal point in my response, right? It's just there so that people can use it if they want. So it's not overly pushy or salesy, but it makes the work available so people know it exists and they then have the choice about whether to interact with me about it or not.
And then the last piece of advice I would give you about being visible as your persevering is, even though you might use more than one channel, don't try to do everything within those channels. You know, I think professionals have really latched onto this idea that they have to be Renaissance people who are just able to do everything to be successful. And I think there's actually very few people who would be able to fit into that description, who really are true polymaths who can be excellent in lots of different areas. But I think what happens sometimes when people try to wear a ton of hats to be visible is that things become very diffused. So if you think about your talent like light from the sun, because remember we're not supposed to hide our light, you can have that light spread out over a very wide area, but it's not gonna be very bright. But if you make that light laser-focused, then it's going to be very bright and easier to see. So I think what you wanna do is focus your abilities and effort where you really have excellence. Maybe that's written communication and you write books, like I do. Maybe you're better at video or you knock it out of the park doing live presentations. Don't try to be everywhere or do everything, because then you're just going to burn out. Instead focus your light where it's really going to have an impact and kick that darkness to the curb.
Now, I can hear some of you out there already saying, but Wanda, if I just concentrate in a small area my reach won't be as big. And to that, I say look at the ministry of Jesus. He did not have a dozen platforms to work with, okay? All he had was the words coming out of his mouth. And he picked just 12 disciples, and all they had was the words coming out of their mouths. And yet the way that Jesus and his disciples preached was so touching to people that one person told another person, and then that person told another person, and so on and so on, until before you know it, the entire Roman empire had toppled and Christianity was all over the world. And the point there is, you don't need to be connected to everything everywhere. You need a good message with passion behind it. If you have that, people naturally will pick up the torch for you, and then they will bring your light into dark areas where you cannot be. And what I want to emphasize there is, a good, important message is not about you. It's about the message. So if others are carrying the torch for you, that is okay. The fact they're carrying it for you doesn't mean that people aren't gonna understand where the light first originated. It just means the light can go further and it's going to last. And I think with visibility, that's what you want, right? That’s what you’re after? You don't want to be like a supernova or firework where it's just one big burst and then everything's dark again. You want that light to sustain over time so that even when you're long gone, that light is still traveling through the world, through the universe, and back up to God.
So those are just a few of the thoughts I have today for you. So to close out, as always, let's take a moment to pray.
Lord, when I think about visibility, I think about how you turned the water into wine at Cana. And you were careful about that and other miracles you did early on because you wanted the timing of your visibility to be right. And so I pray, Lord, not only that we can find a way to make our light laser-focused, but also that you will give us wisdom about when that light is supposed to shine the most. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Okay, people. That's the end of the show. I hope it gives you a little bit of encouragement to not only keep going, but also to be very open about all of the things that you are doing. If you haven't already done it, go ahead and check out our new support page at faithfulontheclock.captivate.fm/support. It's very similar to our Patreon page, but it also allows you to support the show with one-off tips and donations. So go there to become a member, or give what you can, as you can. Every little bit helps. Next episode, I'm going to be talking about self-sabotage. Why do we do it, and how can we stop doing it? If that's an issue for you, or if you know somebody who struggles with it, make sure to catch that in two weeks. Until then, be blessed.
Faithful on the Clock is a podcast meant to get your Christian faith and work aligned. You won’t find mantras or hacks here--just scripture-based insights to help you grow yourself, your company, and your relationship with God. If you want out of the worldly hamster wheel and want to work with purpose, then this is the show for you. Hosted by freelance business writer Wanda Thibodeaux.
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux is a freelance writer based in Eagan, MN. Since 2006, she has worked with a full range of clients to create website landing pages, product descriptions, articles, professional letters, and other content. She also served as a daily columnist at Inc.com for three years, where she specialized in content on business leadership, psychology, neuroscience, and behavior.
Currently, Thibodeaux accepts clients through her website, Takingdictation.com. She is especially interested in motivational psychology, self-development, and mental health.