This week I've been focused on making more time for reading. I love books, I love reading, and, as I write, I know that I need to read, regularly, avidly. But sometimes my eyes just aren't responsive to the words on the page, or iPad, especially if I've been sat at my laptop for most of the day. This week I've gone back to two of my favourites; Jen Sincero's You Are A Badass and Austin Kleon's Show Your Work!
These are two very different books, but, for me, they do share a common thread. You Are A Badass is a self-help book that isn't so squishy as others can be. Where some books might be all, 'let's get naked, scatter feathers and dance around the moonlight and hug each other', Sincero's book has more of a, 'you want it, go get it - you've GOT this' approach. Kleon's book is about the importance of the process behind any writer/artist/creative's work, and how sharing it can help you 'get known.'
The common thread I found in these two books is that they both require you to share. Sincero urges you to make things happen, in real life. Yes, hopes, dreams, plans etc, start in your mind, they start with you. And you can merrily elaborate on those plans in your head - you can create vast, epic moving pictures in your mind, where you are the director, star, stylist - whatever. But if you don't share this thing that you so want to happen, to be - or to coin a phrase, if you don't 'put it out there', then you might as well just stick to stalking your ex on Facebook, because nothing is going to happen.
With Kleon, the aspect of sharing involves your physical efforts to be the writer, artist, composer that you want to be. If you're already pinning inspiration on Pinterest, share it on your Facebook or Twitter. If you've drawn some sketches of a fashion collection but you're not quite sure where you're going with it yet, post it on Instagram. Yes, you will open yourself up to criticism, but by showing your work you are proving that it exists, and by putting it out there, you might meet someone who helps you in a major, or minor way. You might make a friend who also wants to design a men's cravat collection influenced by Cuba in the 1950s, and maybe they can help you with your sketches, or maybe you can work together. Everything you produce is something and by showing the world you are bringing your future 'you' closer.
From a business standpoint, Kleon's ethos of showing your work is something that has been happening for decades in the hair and beauty industry. The hair world loves to share! Whether it's the latest colour technique or an experimental cut, the hair industry puts it out there; it doesn't cling to how-to steps with a Gollum-like grip. Putting that new technique or look out there pushes them to keep producing more - they don't lose anything by sharing.
For me, this is proof positive that brands, large and small, must take note and invest in social media budgets. By sharing what you do and showing the world how you operate, you will strike a chord with people who want to be right there with you. A stylist or makeup artist or blogger might not even know you exist, but by sharing your process on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook - wherever you feel your community is best served - you could make connections that you'd only ever dreamed of. Create tutorials, take photographs, produce step-by-step videos. Sharing isn't going to take away from your value at all; if anything it will help you make your stamp as an authority in your industry.