This winter I had a very vivid dream...
I was going somewhere, and there was snow and people around me. It was life as usual, except one very significant difference - I wore high heels.
If there is one thing I have never done and will never do, it's wearing high heels. First of all, they're uncomfortable and make my legs go all wobbly, so it's embarrassing as hell. Secondly, I'm tall enough to look like a freak on high heels. Finally, I don't care about how my ass appears in them or how they're the pinnacle of female sexiness or whatever. I just don't care.
So in my dream, I'm wobbling on high heels, and I realize something horrific - I can't take them off! I have to keep going, even though my feet hurt and I look ridiculous. It's life as usual, nobody's saying anything, but I feel awful.
Tell me, does this feel familiar at all?
Putting on something that makes you look better, but hating it? Doing something that's supposed to boost you, but really, it just makes you feel bad. It's the feeling of putting on a "fine" face when miserable, of pretending to be someone else to fit in. Of doing things just because everyone else is.
And this is something all of us - rebels or not - do on a daily basis.
In time, it feels natural to do something in a way you wouldn't do it because you're unsure of your footing. After all, you don't know much about video, so you'll just do it like this other person. They're successful, so what's the bad? You still have your personality, and you can use it in your free time.
Ok, let me tell you about the bad...
The discomfort you feel at the start turns into comfort eventually.
That's the worst thing that can happen. If your discomfort at being somebody else turns into comfort, you become that somebody else. If you constantly choose to copy whatever everyone else is doing just because they're all doing it the same way, then you lose your own personality in the process.
Take it from someone who has attempted to be many people in her life: It is not a pretty sight and it never feels good to put on high heels.
That is, to do something you wouldn't otherwise do.
Sometimes I feel like most of the online professionals are wearing high heels full-time. Everything they do is so glossy and perfect, but devoid of humanity. A copy of a copy of a copy. (Like that scene in Fight Club.) However, now more than ever, we need unique brands, businesses, and people.
And unique is just a step away from authentic.
I don't want you to approach your next challenge - like starting a podcast - by immediately putting the highest heels you can find. Because that's what most people do. They choose the easy way because they don't know how something is done. They don't know that with a little effort and time, they can discover their way. And there is nothing easier than doing what everyone else does.
Let's not go for easy this time. Let's go for authentic.
Even though I don't have the data to prove it, I believe the Internet is broken. Most people do the same things over and over, consumers keep consuming, and all of this is making everyone dumber. The Internet was supposed to be this stimulating, challenging tool, but instead, it's turning us into robots who can't think for ourselves. Because society likes us better that way.
(Don't let me get started on facebook and animal gifs!)
The only way to save the internet from being this dumb, homogenized mass is to take the high heels off and celebrate who we are.
Celebrate what makes you tick, show people what you're passionate about, come up with your own business models, your own podcast rules, and your own quirky branding. You will not lose much if you don't do as the experts, but you will lose everything if you don't start thinking and acting for yourself.
You have a brain, use it! And find the shoes that fit.