The Trouble With Raising The Bar

Hiya Pals 

Firstly, before I forget I wanted to mention my new Facebook Knitting Club Group - it's exclusive for anyone who buys (or who's previously bought) a knitting kit from me. The idea is for it to be a happy, friendly place for you to share your progress, ask any questions and for me to share sneak peeks of new projects and any discounts that launch, I will of course pop in there first. So if you're already knitting up a storm please do join our new knitting group, all you need is your order number.  I'd LOVE to see you there and have a chat - I'll be dropping in as often as possible and can't wait to see how you're getting on!

 

back to it

This week I wanted to chat about raising the bar and the pressure that comes with that. I recently posted about this on Instagram and was amazed by the reaction. It's so funny that you can feel as if you're the only one struggling with an issue, big or small, and when you dare to write it on the internet, there's often a flood of people saying 'yes! I'm the same!' and as they say - misery really does love company!

 

The wow factor 

I find that one of the biggest pressures in my work life is Instagram. I absolutely adore it but with its ever changing algorithm and other 'gramers awesome images it feels like a lot to keep up with (not to mention the full time jobs we hold down on the side). People don't tend to give you that all important double tap anymore unless they're 'wow'd' by an image - that means that if a picture is 'nice' we won't 'like' it (therefore it won't do so well.)

 

Contextualising Importance

Now I know that in the grand scheme of things, calling an Instagram Like 'all important' is silly. Obviously the important things in life aren't determined by strangers on the internet tapping their phones, (although I must admit I forget this at times and put far too much value on likes and followers - a mistake I think a lot of us are guilty of making) but in this case, we're narrowing the field and looking at Instagram where, as it turns out engagement is important. 

 

Why does it matter?

The problem with a picture not doing so well (other than how very frustrating it is) is that it essentially tells the algorithm your pictures are a bit naff. Instagram, being such a smarty pants, will then decide to show it to less people so that fewer people have to see your naff picture. This obviously effects your engagement and stunts your instagram growth which actually is very important to many small businesses and of course content creators on the platform. Effectively, once you've shared an image that doesn't do so great, you then have to work harder next time to redeem yourself.

Rowing800.jpg

 

Side Note on Engagement

It isn't based purely on your image - there are lots of things that can effect how well an image does including the time of day you post for instance. Engagement is everything so if you post and people react to it quickly with comments and likes, then Instagram will pick up that people like it and will share it with more people via explore and show it on more feeds etc. If you post on a sunny Friday evening while everyone is out for after work drinks at the pub, it's likely that less people will be on Instagram to see it in the first place therefore can't react to it and engage. 

On the flip side if you're scrolling through and see something you think is nice, maybe give it that double tap, and if you're feeling so inclined - a comment is gold dust. Use your words (not just emojis) and say how much you enjoy the picture or ask a question...it all helps! 

 

Back to the point 

So back to the insta-event that sparked this post ...This isn't the first time it's happened to me but it was the first time I discussed it - Last week I posted a picture that got a really lovely reaction. It received so many kind comments saying it was my 'best picture ever' which was so bloody wonderful to hear but as the evening and following days progressed, instead of enjoying the generous comments I began to feel an impending doom of 'I don't have any idea what to post next and there's no way I can compete with this post!' It wasn't even my most successful post but it was enough for that seed of doubt to creep in and panic me.

LaurenAstonDesigns

 

The Problem:

The problem here is of course, that instead of enjoying the moment, I was letting an irrational fear (of something really silly) scare me. This in itself squashed any creative inkling I might have had for a following post and instead of simply enjoying the feeling I totally over-rided it with panic of already not being good enough for the next one. I have a nak of turning a positive into a negative because of my own self doubt (from what I've heard so far I think a lot of you will relate to that!) Whether it's an Instagram picture, a corker of a product (every year I struggle trying to come up with another product to match The Santa Hat ) or a PB for exercise, it can be so easy to forget to enjoy it and instead, feel the fear of matching your own success. Damn us for raising our own bars!

 

 

The Solution: 

Perspective. 

Everything matters in its own right and whether the pressure you're putting on yourself is to take consistently brilliant Instagram pictures, cooking an edible dinner or to release a new product by a deadline...it may well be important to your work or personal life that you hit these goals and so that really does matter in its own way, but ultimately we do need to put them into perspective - so you post a picture that bombs, you burn dinner, you miss a deadline - you're alive and well and presumably have family and friends who adore you. That is everything ....or as The Carters new album teaches us 'Everything is Love' (forever attempting to get a Beyonce reference in blogs).

LaurenAstonDesigns

 

Why it helps

So perspective is the key and it's so important to take a step back and assess the context of your issue.  What I found was that once I took a breath and chilled out about it, I was able to admit my failings and took a picture I was happy to follow it up with. Although it does matter that we reach our goals and push ourselves, it's more important that we are balanced and happy (which is why I'm only posting 3/4 times a week now instead of 7 times). Try not to let the pressure mount, if you burn one dinner - there's always tomorrow to bring it back (or a take away). It is really hard to stay creative all the time, especially on Instagram where the whole world is just nailing it with imaginative and clever imagery, it can feel like a lot to 'compete' with but try to take a breath and remember your strengths then just go for it. If it flops you just try again :D 

 

Just Be You

And sometimes, just being you is more than enough, you don't necessarily need to do anything OTT or wrack your brains for something imaginative, you can just share how you feel and a lot of the time, other people are feeling it too and they'll help boost you. 

 

Tatar for now

Speak soon, 

L x