So that beautiful landscape photo you posted on Instagram only tallied up two whole likes—one from grandma who clicked the heart button on accident and the other from “AnastasiaXXX” who is looking to lure in new clients for her burgeoning webcam business.
No one is reading those blog posts you spent hours slaving over.
Your first podcast launch was welcomed by the sound of crickets on a steamy and starry summer night.
The e-book you spent months on sold one copy purchased by none other than…….your mother, who was so proud that she pranced around the office waving her Kindle in the air like a trophy for all of her coworkers to see.
It’s ok. Everything is going to be all right.
As rapper Kendrick Lamar would say:
Be humble. Sit down.
Practicing patience and humility has never been more important in a superficial world that seems to be moving a gazillion miles a second. A world where instant gratification has become the expected norm.
We want everything yesterday: money, power, success, fame, more ‘likes’, more followers. We expect this type of positive reinforcement to occur instantaneously and feel inferior if we only receive just that one new ‘like’ or follower.
Sometimes our actions can be a result of perfectionism and the constant internal struggle to be perfect in a so-called perfect world.
Other times it can be just us thinking we are bigger than we actually are as if the world actually owes us something.
The world owes us absolutely nothing.
A Lesson in Humility from Gary Vee
Digital marketing guru and internet sensation, Gary Vaynerchuck, does not always come across as the most humblest of individuals in the world. He’s flashy, in your face, loud, and posts an insane amount of content on a daily basis to his social media accounts. He still remains humble however and expresses the importance of how humility shaped his career and why, one view is better than none:
It baffles me how many people think that they are bigger than they actually are.
The concept around one is better than zero is simply a call to action to do. It’s understanding that one view is better than zero and that humility and patience is the foundation for success.
My PR people, and all my managers and handlers are actually pissed at me, because they’re like, “Why are you spending 15 minutes doing these blogs that have six readers every single day, and you’re passing on stuff that might have a larger audience? Well, that’s how I built my career. It’s the patience and willingness to do 500 interviews and conference calls and meetings over coffee that never turn into anything.
I mean seriously, I don’t know who you think you are? You haven’t had the exposure yet. You don’t have thousands of followers on Instagram. You are still building your brand. You are still figuring it all out. I promise you that the greatest mistake you can possibly make is saying no. Be open to opportunity and if things don’t go well, move on!
According to Vaynerchuck, undervaluing just that one view is a terrible mistake.
American educator Salman Khan never undervalued the one and only view he received from his 12-year-old cousin, Nadia, for the tutoring videos he published to YouTube. One view would eventually turn into Khan Academy—a non-profit e-learning academy delivering over 1 billion lessons worldwide to 40 million students.
Photographer Trey Ratcliff never undervalued the fact that his mother was his one and only admirer and viewer during his first few years of posting pictures everyday on Instagram. Now Trey is considered to be the pioneer of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography with his photos receiving over 175,000 views a day.
Remain Appreciative While Staying Focused on Your Craft
Appreciate the few ‘likes’, followers, and views when just starting out and treat them as building blocks that will continue to stockpile over time until you reach the ultimate tipping point for success. The following you receive when just starting out may prove to be some of your most loyal supporters. Understand that thousands of followers will not accrue overnight unless you choose to drop a few thousand dollars on a “click farm” out of Thailand.
Focus instead on the product you are delivering and how to make it better and less on how the world will accept your idea. Be completely honest with yourself and strengths and weaknesses by experimenting with what is working and what is not working.
Your confidence will continue to build through small successes over time and each small success or milestone should not be undervalued. Be thankful for any accolades received along your journey.
And who knows who your mother might happen to bump into while parading around the office with your recently launched e-book; it could be your next great influencer who happens to take a liking to your work and chooses to share it with thousands of people.
It starts with just one person to spread your message.
With humility comes patience and balance. Appreciate the small wins while having the patience and perseverance to continue to push forward.