Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Don’t know about you – but when I wake up in the morning, the first think I do is check Instagram. I think it’s inspirational - my mom and probably everybody else will say it’s unhealthy. But I love seeing what’s happening in the world and what “my peps” are up to. Working as a personality coach and HR consultant, it is fascinating to me how so many people want to be an influencer...without even understanding what that actually means. It is kinda like when a 3-year-old says he wants to become a fire fighter, obviously not knowing the dangers that job brings and the physical and mental strength it requires.
The more interesting question is though: Why on earth does everybody want to be an influencer? You can ask young and old, with low or high education, in the US, France or Austria – nobody would say no to travelling the globe, only having to look pretty and post one picture a day – they think.
So, I went on a journey, a journey of trying to understand what it is that attracts us so much to this magical app and being jealous of this job of to only having to take one half-naked picture of ourselves and then just chill for the rest of the day. I came to realize the following: 8 out of 10 people are unhappy with their job. Nothing new. But what exactly causes that unhappiness? Studies show, that unhapiness at work is mainly caused by not having the feeling of doing something meaningful. This is not hard to explain - just think about the basic human needs. After our primary needs such as food, sleep and comfort - the second most important needs for humans are security, stability, purpose in life and recognition. Knowing that you are doing something meaningful is one of the most important things. Getting recognition in addition for what you are doing is another crucial aspect of work satisfaction. With recognition you know, that what you are doing is adding value to our society and feedback helps you improve yourself, grow your talents and motivates you to keep on going. This refers to every one of us – no matter what we do for a living. Then there is one more thing that has grown of higher importance within our society in the past decades: independence. Being independent, having more time for friends and family, not having someone telling us what to do all day long and most importantly not feeling that we are wasting our time 8 hours a day, has become a core and crucial need of many. So, no wonder, that so many are unhappy with what they do. No meaning, no recognition and no independence. Which then again leads to stress and misleading perceptions of ourselves including our talents and opportunities.
For many, Instagram is the perfect illusion and therefor what they wish for themselves. Your perception tells you, that those people are doing what they love, are independent and get A LOT of recognition for living their true selves. Millions of likes and follows, comments and hearts.
The fact, that so many (yes you would be surprised) of us think Instagram or social media in general is currently the only way to live a meaningful life and receiving recognition for it, shows the sad truth of lack of opportunities many employers offer their people and the individual’s poor perception of daily work and possible chances. Employers need to change their company culture and offer individuals space to embrace their talents and allow them to be of higher value to our companies and society – and, individuals need to start finding what their true talents are and start placing themselves correctly in work life to be able to live a meaningful, fulfilling and independent lifestyle. The minute we start doing what is meaningful to us, our perception of independence changes. We don’t need the amount of independence we thought we would, because now we are doing what is meaningful and what feels right to us and with that are living up to our higher purpose. As a result, we don’t feel like we have to chill all day anymore, because we are not running away from wasting our time in a 9-to-5-cycle.
Being an influencer is a job like any other. It requires social media experience, video editing skills, good language skills, creativity, self-discipline and professional camera equipment. You share every step of your life with thousands if not millions, promote products (you don’t always) like, will probably want to follow a strict diet, keep yourself in shape and pretty much sit in front of your laptop all day editing, creating content and looking at yourself. You have to run your own management, customer support and marketing and share your thoughts and life with the rest of the world all the time. Being an influencer is hard work. And sadly so often underestimated. It is choosing a profession like every other and only few have what it takes to be really good at it. Some have found that to be their true talent and decided that is how they want to add value to our society. If it is yours too – then you should go for it! Do what you love. If not, I recommend investing time in finding, nourishing and embracing your talents, true purpose and doing what is meaningful to you!