Today, I caught up with a blogging friend. We spoke about many things but eventually, we got to the subject of the conflict surrounding my former work. She was advising me to cut myself off. The intentions were good but it was ultimately doing damage to me emotionally.
I knew that. At the same time, it´s incredibly frustrating watching all this happen. It´s like watching a slow explosion and standing by while people are suffering. People are standing by, lying and being manipulative while real people are getting caught up in this.
It´s not my responsibility
I´m incredibly empathetic. I get emotionally involved. Recently, we were on a tour and a guy wasn´t outside his building at pick up time. Just as we drove off, I saw a guy run towards the bus. I told the bus driver but he didn´t hear me.
Later, we stopped somewhere else to pick the final person up. My partner could see I was visibly upset and told me that I can´t take everything on. He tells me this daily. 6 months ago, a friend told me off for blaming myself for everything that had happened. I had recommended that the ex-boss should go to a blogging conference. Therefore, this whole mess is my fault.
Logically, I know that´s not true. It doesn´t stop me from feeling personally responsible everytime someone I like is drawn into this. Last year at a conference, someone said that she was scared when I tweeted her when all this stuff was going down. I felt like someone that was diseased and I guess I wanted to use my perspective to change things.
Ultimately – people have choice
One of the reasons I´ve been commenting on the SD site is because I honestly believe that if we have an open discussion, the industry will change. My friend told me today that the industry is huge. Things won´t change. And, thanks to this site, most people will have a choice about who they want to align with. There is probably more awareness about the tactics that are shady and the bullshit regarding the industry.
The thing is, I´m focusing on 20-50 people who I consider to be friends. I think of them when speaking up and trying to show that not everyone is bad. It may be true. These people may be using internet marketing techniques for good. It doesn´t mean that many facets of the industry are NOT corrupt.
My friend pointed out to me that people at the top have too much to lose. Not just in our community – but in internet marketing in general. I´m thinking about the people I care about but these people aren´t representative of an entire industry.
I can´t try to save people.
It hurts me to watch people get caught up in this. Today, I likened it to walking past a box of abandoned kittens. I get physically upset when I see suffering. It doesn´t matter what they may or may not have done. Often, all I can see is the suffering that people go through and empathise with that.
Often, this devastates me. I can´t hate any of the core people associated with this because I know that they have gone through a tough time. I believe I did the right thing in speaking up about some things as it shows the fallacy of social proof.
However all these people made their own choices. They can choose whether or not to speak up about it. They have the choice to change or confront their actions.
The only real choice is to cut myself off from Internet Marketing
I´m well on the way to making the cut. However, it´s hard. Do I cut myself off from people who sell products on the side? People who have a newsletter? Those who use launch tactics?
I´ve tried bringing it up on the other site but have struggled to find answers. I´m not sure that is the best place to get answers but I´m grateful for those people that talked to me and tried to show the other side.
I´ve decided that the best strategy is to create a set of rules and make them public. I will support and encourage those that fit within the boundaries I have set. I will be brutally honest when it comes to protecting my audience.
I don´t know what to do now
I´m terrified. I know I don´t feel as shit about everything. In March, something shifted. I changed how I defined myself and my work. The thing is – there is some overlap with my new work and the IM community.
I may run into people that I publicly call out in social settings. I may be an outcast at conferences that I attend. I was unpopular and bullied at school and I don´t want to go back to that. I´m scared that people will make my life hell for me, even if I cut myself off from the community. Those at the top control everything.
I´m creating something new. I´m doing brilliant work. I want to let go but I´m worried that it will impact my work. Being part of that community allowed me to see social media trends that no-one was talking about. I don´t to be the person that people are scared to talk to.
I´m in transition
I´ve written about being in professional transition before. I´m starting to realize that this goes beyond that. This goes beyond cutting off friends. It means changing how I perceive myself. It means challenging my thoughts about what type of person I want to be. It´s incredibly uncomfortable. Seriously, it was easier commenting on that other site and hope that people would change rather then trying to change my own beliefs.
I can´t keep trying to save people. I also can´t identify as a blogger.
I don´t know what this means. I know that the conversation today helped me to disconnect from the negativity and accept that my path is new.
Later, I´ll be writing about stuff I dislike about the industry. I´ll also write about how this holiday helped me with my work. I needed to see that there was something bigger then the dysfunction that I used to call a job.
In two days, I´ll be home. In two days, I´ll be ready to continue the business evolution.