I’ve never had a problem trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” that old saying about comparing yourself with your neighbors’ social status and material possessions. But recently I noticed I’ve been trying to keep up in another neighborhood—Twitter.
It’s not that I’m trying to reach a benchmark for followers or get a certain amount of retweets on a post. I’ve just gotten too caught up in this trend of having a personal brand.
Personal brand has become a buzz word in recent years and everyone—whether you’re a celebrity, life coach (which everyone seems to be these days), CEO, entrepreneur, or regular employee—is being pushed to develop one.
So I’ve been a bit obsessed with my branding lately, and it’s been to the detriment of more important things in my life.
There’s nothing wrong with developing and promoting your personal brand. It’s a savvy move in today’s society. The internet gives us all a platform, so it makes sense to maximize it.
But where we go wrong I went wrong was when I focused more on my brand than on myself. I was building my reputation while ignoring my character. Prayer took a backseat to crafting my profile. Time with friends was sacrificed for time on LinkedIn.
In addition, I tumbled into the trap of comparing myself with others. How does he have so many followers? How did she get on that podcast? How come he got so many comments on his blog, it sucks?
Word of caution: The moment you start comparing yourself to others is the moment you get off track in life.
I had to slow down and reflect on what mattered most in my life. This quote from Don Miller’s latest book, Scary Close, helped put things in perspective for me:
“Our lives can pass small and unnoticed by the masses and we are no less dignified for having lived quietly…There’s something noble about doing little with your life save offering love to a person who is offering it back.”
How beautiful is that? While I was caught up trying to be heard, seen, and established, I forgot how beautiful and profound a quiet life built on love can be. I was busy branding myself when I just need to be branded with love.
At the end of our lives, we won’t be remembered for our presence on Twitter, connections on LinkedIn, or influence on social media. We’ll be remembered for and by the people we loved. Again, there’s nothing wrong with building a personal brand. I’m still working on mine. But it won’t be my obsession any longer. Instead, I’m focused on living simply, but loving lavishly.