Once upon a time I had hair. Lots of it!
But then … not so much.
It took a little while for me to get to the completely ‘chrome dome’ stage, although looking around, I daresay I bit the bullet way, way quicker than many guys out there!
But I digress.
When I started getting my hair cut with clippers, I kicked off with a #6 clipper size.
FYI, this is what a #6 looks like (hat-tip to Men’s Hairstyles Today for the examples):
Then, once I got used to #6 hair clipper size (wasn’t too hard, truth be told), I tried out a #5 …. followed by, yep, you guessed it, a #4.
You can see where this story is going … or can you?
#3 was starting to get a little short for my liking, but I soon got used to that, then on to #2 it was. I was pumped up with confidence now.
BRING ON #1!
FYI, this is what a #1 clipper haircut looks like:
Psychologically, there’s a big jump between #1 and #0. Not sure why as there’s not a heap of difference between the two styles. Nothing a couple of days’ growth couldn’t fix. That said, it took me a little while to graduate to #0.
Once I got to naught, I stayed with that look for quite a while.
That was, until I worked up the courage to ditch the clippers altogether and graduate to the big daddy of them all, the razor blade cut! (Should that be called a #-1?).
I remember I got the blade out once the family had gone away for a couple of days. I figured if I didn’t like the look, things would be back to normal in 2-3 days’ time!
There is a point to this story, and here it is:
When it comes to publishing original content for your personal brand, it takes time and practise to find your voice.
When you start blogging, for example, your early articles will be like getting the clippers out for the first time and shaving your head with a #6.
It feels weird, and in all probability, you won’t want to do it.
In blogging terms, you’re putting yourself out there on the world wide web for all to see. There’s no hiding. You’re naked, and open to potential criticism. Potentially, people might judge you on your ideas and opinions. They might critique your writing. It can be scary, and for that reason, you will pull back in your early blog posts.
The same potentially goes for tweeting, posting to LinkedIn, or producing ‘to-camera’ YouTube videos.
If you’re not used to it, it can make your guts churn.
But it gets easier.
In all probability – unless you’re a bona fide controversial stirrer – the feedback won’t be negative. Indeed, you won’t have much of an audience if you’re new at this content creation caper, so dig in, get writing (or tweeting, or filming) and pretty soon, you’ll get used to publishing online and will start to recognise how tame your output really is.
Maybe you’re overly cautious with your point of view, you’ve held back on voicing a strong opinion, even though you’d like to.
Maybe your writing is a little stilted and conservative, and you’re still comforted by the use of jargon and corporate speak.
That’s okay, because you still have a #6 clipper in your hand.
Keep at it.
Keep writing, producing videos, posting content to your social channels.
Once you start getting comfortable with what you’re putting out there, push a little harder because to succeed, you’re going to need to progress through those clipper sizes!
There’s a saying in blogging circles, and that’s if you don’t feel a little sick just before you hit the publish button, you haven’t gone hard enough with your writing. While I understand the sentiment of such thinking, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory of making yourself sick. Blogging should be an enjoyable endeavour after all!
That said, there is also merit to the theory. Some of the most popular bloggers in the world got there because they went where no-one else would. They bared their soul, voiced a strong opinion or told personal stories that others would keep under wraps. They stayed very true to their authentic selves. They ‘opened the kimono’ far and wide!
But you don’t have to do that.
You just need to find your voice, and be comfortable with that.
Yes, always strive to push that little bit harder, because at the end of the day, that is what will separate you from others in your space who are also out there blogging, producing videos, publishing podcasts etc.
Again, I’m not necessarily talking about being controversial. Just genuine. Real.
Show a bit of yourself.
Relax a bit with your writing, or when you’re in front of the camera.
Become comfortable with celebrating your uniqueness, telling personal stories, sharing concepts and ideas that might not yet be fully formed.
Finding your unique voice means all of those things, and it’s important if you’re wanting to create content that resonates with an audience and in doing so, build a strong professional personal brand that people can connect with.