Hi, my name is Kate and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
My favorite thing about the online world used to be that I could finally have it all together. I could look the part I’ve been striving for my entire life and no one would know the difference.
I transferred that same attitude over from my life to my online businesses. I was the one who had it all together. I refused to talk about failures and about the challenges I faced, and what I discovered is that it actually held me back.
When I finally broke down and shared about my most epic failures, I found a new level of connection with my customers than I ever did before, and I got new customers in the process. I finally pulled down the wall between who I was and who they could be.
And when I think about the Bible, I see a lot of imperfect people doing God’s work. Even when I read the entire chapter of Hebrews 11, which celebrates many heroes of the Bible, I’m reminded of how each of those failed along the way but still were used by God to do amazing things for His Kingdom.
Abraham who trusted God to lead him to a new land but not for a child. The Israelites who saw God lead them through the middle of the Red Sea, but didn’t trust him to get them to the Promised Land. And David who was called a “man after God’s own heart” but committed many sins along the way. God used each of them, even in their failings.
Your failure does not keep you from pursuing your calling. In fact, your messy journey is a big part of who you are, how you got here, and even where you’re going. It should find its way into your story and message. Here are a few reasons why.
Know, Like, and Trust
If you’ve done business at all online, you’ve probably heard the term “Know, Like, and Trust Factor,” or KLT, as I affectionately call it. The KLT is the number one thing you need to grow online influence.
Knowing comes from exposure—increasing your visibility to get in front of more people. Liking comes from authenticity—sharing your journey and personality, no matter how messy they are. Trusting comes from your expertise—demonstrating you are an authority in your subject.
But if they don’t get past “liking” you, they will never trust you.
There are typically hundreds or thousands of people providing the same thing you provide online. You have to stand out in order to find your ccommunity. The best way to do that is through your personality and especially your stories.
Your authenticity makes you “you” and makes you relatable. People will buy from you because they see themselves more in you than in others who provide the same service. Your brand of authenticity is one of your unique selling points.
Keeps the ick-factor low
You can’t throw a (digital) rock online without hitting a scammer or someone who’s legitimate who’s communicating like one. But being open about every part of your life keeps you and your audience’s preferred future a reality.
It keeps us in our authentic voices and shares our life stories, and that will never feel icky, salesy, or pushy. When you share truth, people will respond and you get to feel good about it too.
Staying in Humility
Often it’s easy to get caught up in our own awesomeness. God gave you special gifts—things you can do excellently that others can’t—and it’s absolutely okay to own those … but you’ve got to give Him the glory.
Talking about our failures and how we learned helps us to stay humble and it teaches our audiences that failure is a little less scary than they thought … because when you fail you learn and you’re reminded who’s really in control.
When God is in control, nothing is wasted. Not your failure, not your mess, not a thing. He redeems it all and uses it for his glory. In fact, he says his grace is sufficient and his strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Your messy journey can be used too. It’s time you shared it.