Is anything real anymore?
Hollywood annually releases about 600 new movies, each show a meticulously crafted fantasy of storytelling.
Companies daily publish about 1,700 press releases; with each phrase deliberately chosen with great attention, occasionally by me.
Don’t get me started on the finance system.
With each post we are collectively constructing our own truthiness as coined by Stephen Colbert.
Where does this constant hustle to build this hall of mirrors leave us?
We are all anxious, depressed, and lonely. This was really unavoidable because we are striving to live an imagined life where we are all successful celebrities. We are all fretting for the next 👍 and retweet on our favorite social media platform. For our platinum celebrity members, you are perturbed for different reasons. You fear that we are onto you and that soon you will be exposed to be a fraud or actually exposed. Title of your sex tape!
But what if there was another option where you could own up to your greatest failures and humiliations? What if you could give your followers the realism that they desperately seek in contrived reality television?
It exists, but I probably shouldn’t say anything about Kevin Allison’s podcast Risk that has been chronicling these private humiliations for years.
You are not alone in your experience with _____________________________________
I know what you are about to say, but “I’m not cool with speaking in public about that high school embarrassment.”
You don’t have to, but public speaking isn’t as hard as it looks. No worries. All things begin small. You can begin by sharing the truth to your followers on social media.
Ditch The Act
This insight is the work of Ryan Foland and Leonard Kim in their new book Ditch The Act. In this volume Foland & Kim share their most intimate humiliations in life and the lessons that they learned. For example, Ryan was the subject of an FCC inquiry years ago for a questionable business deal. Leonard used to have a drug problem and later declared bankruptcy. Get rich quick schemes are a scam. This is only the teaser to a juicy story. They then take you down the rabbit hole of how they escaped and built a social media following with these stories.
As with all exposure, there are levels.
The first level of exposure is the most trivial. This is the realm of lost keys and misspelled social media posts. It is the things that affect your mood, but really no one cares.
The next level of disclosure is about the small humiliations that all stress us out. This is the realm of confessing that you don’t have friends or that your friends don’t speak to you anymore. These discussions are the first step towards being real with people.
The third level of vulnerability is real serious. This is the realm of getting shouted at by your boss, been there. Maybe you are in the hospital with a serious medical condition, but more about that in a moment. This is real and your followers want to hear about it.
The fourth level of admission is serious shit. This is the domain of admitting that your business collapsed or that you engaged in crime in your youth. Maybe you were sexually abused at a high school party and you have been clinically depressed ever since?
The fifth level of confession is very serious and should never be shared. This is the dominion of sharing how rich you are or your religious beliefs and political views. You should also be reminded that trade secrets aren’t things to brag about. This is both career and reputation suicide. Nobody wants to hear these stories.
Two years ago I was working a decent job in the repair department at Medtronic in Minneapolis. Don’t take this as bragging, this job was no prominent role in the organization. My pursuit was to dismantle and fabricate returned medical instruments for our customers. Each day was a mad dash to appraise the inventory and ship out the devices the following day. At its nucleus, the job was exhausting and that excluded my two hour commute across town.
But this travesty isn’t about my job. At the time it was little known to me that I was incubating an infection and I’d totally misdiagnosed it. First some background, at that time in my life I’d fought outbreaks of eczema for years. It looked sore and was often burning but was otherwise harmless.
In the past I’d treated it beautifully with UV and with the added bonus of a tan.
But this time I was wrong. Maybe it was the accumulated stress of my commute or the hectic schedule of my work, but the rash kept spreading.
I was in denial or maybe just exhausted.
It took my mother visiting to slap me back to reality. She found me nauseated and literally dissolving into my reclining chair. Frightened she drove me be to the local hospital in Duluth where she resides. In the ensuring painful hours, I was diagnosed with Impetigo that is a bacterial infection rare in adults.
Luckily I was discharged from the hospital on the same day. However with my sepsis I couldn’t work or really function alone. Unable to work I ended up leaving Medtronic and Minneapolis entirely. My full recovery took three months.