More Than A Number

No this isn't about weight. I don't use a scale and in my non-medical/non-anything opinion you should throw yours out. The number I'm talking about is one I've long-resisted letting define me: The number of followers I have on Instagram. This past week I was in a funk and when my Instagram following started to dip, it rattled me in a way that I've never let those numbers rattle me before.

 Pay no attention to that orange bar.

Pay no attention to that orange bar.

I realize this may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. Given that I work in social, I put so much pressure on myself, worrying that anything that could be construed as "bad," will affect work opportunities. To an extent this is true but there is so much behind the numbers that I shouldn't, and can't, let it bring me down (pun sort of intended). Intellectually I knew it wasn't me; I hadn't changed anything or tried something new. I have even been on the other side of this conversation with friends when they stress over their numbers. Normally I'm the voice of reason, the one saying not to worry it will bounce back. I reassure them that their content is strong and that just as what you see is a carefully curated highlight reel, there is so much behind the numbers that we don't see. Maybe @[InsertHandleHere] paid for her followers, or maybe she got all of her family members to like and comment on her post in rapid succession after she posted to bump up it's position in the algorithm. Maybe this past week my most loyal followers were on vacation (it was July 4th after all) and not checking Instagram, pushing my posts down. Or maybe any other number of things. Still, my heart wasn't buying what my brain was selling and it stung.

I've never paid for followers or likes, perhaps to my detriment. (There are many schools of thought on the pros/cons of this, which I won't get into here.) When it comes to my account (which largely informs how I view my work), social is about making connections, creating communities, noticing the profound beauty around us, and having fun. Still, it's easy to fall into the trap of letting the numbers define you. Now that whatever planetary misalignment, bad juju, hex, whatever has passed, I'm able to again remember this motivation. Am I frustrated at myself for succumbing to the numbers game? Of course. That said, it was bound to happen and I'm surprised it took this long. 

 Putting it all in perspective, one puppy filter at a time.

Putting it all in perspective, one puppy filter at a time.

To end on a positive note, because that's how I roll, yesterday I went to Jane's Carousel which was A) so much fun and B) means I checked off another item on my Summer Bucket List! And, while we're talking numbers, I totally crushed my Flywheel class today, so I guess sometimes it can be about a number :) #WalkingOxymoron

 

What numbers do you get hung up on? How do you shake yourself out of it?