If you knew a way to bare your soul to the world and make money in the process you’d be all over it, right?
And this isn’t about your habits in the bathroom, sex life, or other TMI stuff. No, it’s about you being, well, a little more “YOU.”
Let me explain.
Several years ago novelist Bret Easton Ellis wrote about Charlie Sheen’s infamous “breakdown,” but he looked at it from an interesting perspective…
Empire vs. Post-Empire thinking.
A new realm we inhabit that’s about transparency vs. a staged “reality.”
Here’s a quote from the article…
“If you can’t accept the fact that we’re at the height of an exhibitionistic display culture and that you’re going to be blindsided by TMZ (and humiliated by Harvey Levin, or Chelsea Handler—princess of post-Empire) walking out of a club on Sunset at 2 in the morning trashed, then you’re basically f***ked and you should become a travel agent instead of a movie star.”
Now I want to stop and state the obvious. The world that Charlie Sheen, Chelsea Handler, and Bret Easton Ellis inhabit is light years distant from mine, and probably, yours.
And no, I’m not saying that in order to be the next mega-blogger extraordinaire you have to start smoking crack, dating strippers, or verbally trashing those around you.
What I am saying is that you can take a lesson and adopt this Post-Empire mindset (sorry, America) to display your wares (your brand) for the world to see.
And yes, I wrote “brand” without a trace of irony. But maybe “story” is a better way to frame this.
Here’s the thing, and what I would recommend you do to gain a bit more traction in this fickle online world.
To see how you can make it work for you, to grow an audience, gain a following, and maybe even sell a few things to those who follow you.
Let me give you a few examples from the celebrity world first, then a few from the slightly more “humble” world you and I inhabit.
As a model, I’ll just use several celebs mentioned in the piece:
Okay, wipe that disgusted look off your face for a minute and read the following… I’m not saying you should emulate The Kardashians, but you’d be stupid to deny that they Completely Get It.
I don’t follow them, haven’t watched a second of their show, and have no desire to read Kim’s infamous Tweets. But I will admit, they 100% get it.
I’m more “on board” with people like Chelsea Handler, Ricky Gervais, and Eminem. They get it too, and each has staked a claim in this strange new world.
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
2. Don’t be afraid to let the real you seep into everything you say and write.
Why? Because we now live in a culture that accepts and expects that.
Just let it roll with your own style.
Has the bar been lowered? That depends on who you follow.
Anthony Bourdain is a post empire kind of guy, and he sure as hell gets it.
His show is a well produced, beautifully shot, well-narrated experience but it’s never pretentious or contrived.
It is wrapped in his personality—a mix of snark and humor, with a little bit of grump thrown in. And it works because it’s him.
You can do the same. Really.
The Charlie Sheen meltdown fascinated me too, but what about all that led up to it? He said mean things, appeared full-crazy, and often lit up a room in a very bad way, but I’m sure none of it was crafted for the media.
But don’t be Charlie 😉
Let me give you a better example, comedians. From the late George Carlin to Bill Burr.
I almost see comedians as modern day philosophers. Louis C.K. is funny and he makes me think.
The narrative of his show exposes Louis as a post-empire kinda dude.
And most comedians Get It.
I’m not telling you to study Charlie Sheen. God no.
I’m also not telling you to bare your soul and tell the world about all your insecurities, bad deeds, or misgivings.
What I am telling you is this, don’t be afraid to be yourself.
I’m sure as hell no exhibitionist.
I’m a pretty private person, really.
Just an average, middle class, middle-aged dude living in suburban Seattle.
How much more boring can I be, really? 😉
But this branding/marketing guy from Seattle has a story to tell just like you.
And I know my bits of honesty have helped me gain traction.
We can talk about the art and science of storytelling all day long, but sometimes the simplest approach is the best and in this case it’s about you being you.
So, no, you don’t have to completely lose your shit online for the world to see. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to see that, but here’s what I do want to see. The real you, it really isn’t that hard to do.
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