Perfect Life or Curated Life?

The skewed perception of success coming easily to “some people” has been on my mind a lot lately. In my post Not Easy, but Worth It, I highlighted the struggles, hard work, and sacrifices that go on behind the scenes of success. I can’t help but think though, that saying it isn’t good enough… saying that success takes some seriously hard work (and so much more) won’t change the perception of “The Iceberg Illusion”.

So, what will help bust that myth? What will shed light on all of the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes?

The answer seems simple… be transparent and model the journey.

But… modeling this isn’t always easy. Being transparent, vulnerable and putting ourselves out there by sharing our failures can be super scary. Speaking from experience though, the outpouring of support and comments about how others could relate definitely shows great value and benefits that come from sharing that hidden massive piece of the iceberg.

Last week at the #ties17 technology conference in Minneapolis, Jennie Magiera spoke about how we are constantly curating our lives on social media, and it hit home. If you look through your own Instagram or facebook account, what are you telling the world about yourself? Is it a true representation of your life, or is it skewed? Chances are, it’s skewed. Here are my latest posts:

Looks like a good time, doesn’t it? (Well, maybe apart from the picture where it looks like my son has two black eyes, but if you could see the caption, you’d understand that he actually just put chocolate over his eyes that night and announced to the world that he was “chocolate eyes”.) What you don’t see are the tantrums, the tears, the fighting. There are no pictures of me reminding the boys for the 10th time to get their ski pants on “or else you’ll miss the bus”. I didn’t post anything that alluded to the fact that my husband and kids have been sick, which made for some super long nights. Meltdowns because we spent too much time at the rink this past weekend weren’t highlighted and laundry galore from having spent too many nights away from home in the last week didn’t make the cut. That is real life, not my curated social media life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not at all implying that we should air all of our dirty laundry on social media, making it a breading ground for negativity. I believe we should always lead with kindness and some things just shouldn’t be shared with the world. Although I am mindful of the fact that these platforms usually only showcase our best, I don’t believe that it’s the place to post everything and anything. I use these spaces to share fun things about my family with people I care about, and those who are really close to me know, in great detail, that my life is so much more than just what can be seen on social media. BUT, even if I know that, what impact do my curated posts have on the people that follow me? Do they think that I have the best life? That my kids are always happy? That I love being a mom 24/7? That we always do fun things together?

Now, putting on my teacher hat, what impact do we have on others when we only share the good in the classroom? What happens when we only share the end product of a lesson that we totally aced and that couldn’t have gone more perfectly? Yes, we likely inspire others, but do we also intimidate them? I’ve loved reading several blog posts lately that not only focus on what went well, but also reflect and shed light on what they would do differently next time.

However you share, which I hope you do because your voice is important, please remember that we need to share it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. That elephant in the room wouldn’t be there if we acknowledged it… more people than you can imagine are feeling exactly as you are right now, so share it out. We will learn and grow together, support one another, and ultimately feel like we’re not alone, because we aren’t. Success is hard work, and we will hit bumps along the way, let’s not pretend they don’t exist. Let’s showcase and celebrate the process, even if (and especially if) it’s not pretty.

What’s below the tip of your iceberg?

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