The Hacker That Changed Me...

Have you ever attended a seminar or conference, and felt like the speaker was speaking directly at you? Like somehow someone figured out all your secrets and insecurities as a business owner, and sent them to the speaker ahead of time so they could create a speech just for you. I freely admit I am a skeptic about a lot of things. Being an executive in the background screening industry for so many years has really tainted my ability to just sit back and believe things people say. I am usually the one that smiles sweetly, and silently thinks, ..."That's great and all, but what are you hiding??" But all that changed this week...

As part of the Rising Tide Society's first ever summit, Jenna Kutcher was invited to speak to the group. Let me just say that the summit and all of the speakers were AMAZING.I cannot even begin to express the level of peace I had when it was completed knowing that there were so many other fellow creatives that were going through the same things I am, and more importantly trying to encourage one another to keep at it #communityovercompetition. I plan on writing a few more blog posts about the other speakers from the summit and how they touched my heart, but Jenna's message was particularly meaningful to me last week.

So who is this Jenna Kutcher I keep talking about? Well... Jenna Kutcher is this ridiculously awesome wedding photographer, watercolor artist, educator, humanitarian, and in my opinion all around amazing human being. I freely admit to stalking her IG account on a daily basis, and being inspired by her desire to teach and uplift others. 

One of the first things that Jenna said was, "What would you do if everything was gone? Like your FB account, your email account, your website, your blog, and your instagram account?" (Ummm...that whole idea just instantly strikes fear and terror in most creatives hearts...all those platforms  are like lifelines for our businesses!) She went on to say that while she was on her IG account last week, she was getting hacked while she was on there, and her immediate thought was how she had spent years growing her following!  What if that hacker deleted her account??? What would she do? And would she be proud of the way that she had spent her time cultivating her social media? Her response was that she might have felt some relief of the pressure that comes from trying to get more followers, create material that appeals to others, etc.

So, here I am...Queen Skeptic, and two minutes into this talk, I was already wanting to jump up and down and say, "OMG! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!!!" See, last week, as I was attempting to update my IG feed, someone DID hack my IG account....not only that...but they did DELETE my IG account. I cannot possibly even begin to explain how angry I was. It was one of those kick-you-in-the-gut moments...like why would someone do this to me? Did they have any idea how much time I had spent in the last year trying to grow this account for my photography business? Did they have any idea the time and effort that went into looking at hashtag numbers, and creating new ones?  I really had awful thoughts about hurting the person that did this! I mean seriously...you have NOTHING better to do with your time, but to go around hacking other people's IG accounts? What could you possibly gain from deleting my account? YOU NEED TO GET A LIFE!!!! And then there was this moment where everything went quiet all of a sudden, and I thought to myself, "NO! YOU ARE THE ONE THAT NEEDS TO GET A LIFE!" 

First of all I didn't have 10,000 followers...but I had grown attached to MY followers. I looked forward to seeing their comments and their likes, and in some small way, I felt connected to them in a small way. But I realized that maybe instead of looking for their likes and their comments, I needed to spend more time getting to know them in a more personal way. Maybe doing a client appreciation party, or sending them a surprise gift, or even just a handwritten note that expressed my gratitude for their support and encouragement! I needed to stop hiding behind my keyboard on my laptop (or my Iphone), and really interact with them on more personal level! 

Second,  I realized that I had spent so much time cultivating a following on IG and other social media platforms, that I missed out on getting out of the house and doing some things that I would have rather done like Girl's night with my sister, joined a book club, or taking that cooking class I have been wanting to take....all of which would involved getting out of my yoga pants, and showering before 4 PM lol! But hey!  I'm thankful I have a job where wearing yoga pants is allowed! :) 

Third, and most important of all, my social media platforms are a representation of my work, and my business, however, they DO NOT define me as a person! So what if I had to start a new account? So what if I only have 80 or so followers on IG now? So what if I have to come up with new hashtags and content?? Bottom line? I CAN DO THAT! Not like I can't take new pictures! Not like all of a sudden because my IG account was deleted, I am less of a photographer than I was the second before it happened! People love me for me. Not because the number of my followers. They love me because they know I am so passionate about what I do, and that I will always give 110% to them. They know that I will always strive to create work that 100 years from now people in their family can appreciate. 

So to the hacker that deleted my account....I am saying thank you! Thank you for reminding me that I am more than just some IG profile. Thank you for reminding me that all the years I have spent cultivating and growing the talent that God has given me matter more than anything you could hack and delete. And to Jenna...thanks for keeping it real! :)

XOXO, Steph

P.S. To all the people looking at my blog, and thinking I need to do better about blogging...one of the commitments I made to myself was to make sure that I make the time each week to write at least one blog post! Baby Steps! One foot in front of the other ;)