Whether you’re a quiet quitter or a 24/7 hustler, working from your bed or pacing a workshop, work can be confusing, especially right now.
In this series, we aim to solve very modern work dilemmas by pairing a person and their problem with an expert in the field. Together they will try to find a solution.
This week, we are interested in social networks. Everyone from dermatologists to dog walkers have been told that using social platforms is an essential part of building a thriving business, but what if self-promotion seems right … a bit gross?
This week’s riddle fears that posting more will make it look like a big poppy. But would he really be broke by the others?
The Case: Dave McCormack
Dave has fronted the Brisbane band Custard since 1989. He also produces music for commercials, TV and film, and as a voice-over he is Bandit in the children’s TV series Bluey.
He would like to use social media more productively, especially to sell his band’s products, but talking about his work online makes him very uncomfortable. “I’m from Brisbane and people here tend not to be self-aggrandizing,” he says. “Self-promotion goes against my geographical DNA.”
Therapist: Josh Zimmerman
We put the Rubik’s Cube that is Dave at “creative coachJosh Zimmermann. Based in Los Angeles, he is a former YouTube employee turned ICF Certified Professional Coach, specializing in working with YouTube, TikTok and Instagram superstar creators.
His work as an influencer-whisperer has been featured in The New York TimesForbes and more.
Josh has a calming presence and a Socratic approach, leading Dave to cross barriers on his own. On some occasions, Dave attempts to kick the ball back into Josh’s court, asking the coach what he thinks.
“We can play this game all day, Dave,” Josh says pleasantly, sounding a bit like HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Dave’s professional online presence consists of an Instagram account with a single post of our man with an uncaptioned fake mustache, and a website with an unexplained photograph of a back porch and a link to the Custard site.
When Josh asks for an example of something Dave might post on Facebook, Dave offers a guess: “Custard is going to play at the El Rey theater and it’s close to being sold out… Rage Against the Machine is reuniting to support us. We are going to do Killing in the Name Of…”, he says. “I always write the most absurd thing, probably to undermine myself.”
He stops. “Wow! You’re good, Josh. I feel so much lighter.
“Where do you feel lighter?” Josh asks.
“In my chest. I’ve come to understand why I like writing nonsense blurbs – because it’s a beautiful defense.
Josh asks what Dave’s fear is, simply writing, “The concert is close to being sold out…Get your tickets now!”
“Let people think I’m an idiot,” Dave said. “But also, that’s kind of the effect I’m looking for when I post with all that surreal gibberish.”
“Would you ever tell an artist not to write something? Josh asks.
“No,” Dave said emphatically.
“What if it doesn’t sell? What if it was sharing? What if you just put an idea online? »
“Yeah, yeah,” enthuses McCormack, then appears to panic. “For example?”
“I notice your breathing seems to be getting a little shallower,” Josh says. David confirms.
Josh’s intuition is that most artists are introverts. Dave agrees. “I don’t want to be left out.”
Josh asks Dave if he would use social media more prolifically if he was 19 again.
“I would use it to the fullest, the same way we used to stick up posters in the 80s. We even used to wear Custard t-shirts,” says Dave.
“We tried to convince people that we were more successful than us, but if we hadn’t promoted ourselves, we wouldn’t have had [to] the same place. It’s smoke and mirrors, but we’ve been around for so long now, so everyone loves us and they’re bringing their kids. I think, ‘You heard our songs. They are not that good.
He grabs a notebook. “You have heard our songs. We’re not that good… Maybe it should be about merchandising?
Josh cuts the sarcasm. “But if you’re not on social media today telling everyone about your new song, it would be the same as back then, not telling anyone who you were.”
“Let’s role-play that I’m a huge Custard fan,” suggests Josh.
“I would always be so thankful and grateful that you even take the time to listen to the music,” Dave says.
“So by not posting on social media, you’re robbing your fans of the joy they get from you.”
“I never thought of it that way,” Dave says. “But then, ‘Hey, do you want to buy a shirt?'”
“When you see a message where someone is selling something, do you go into this mode?” Josh asks.
“No,” admits Dave. “I shouldn’t worry about what other people think because I wouldn’t think unless someone else did… Unless they put out, ‘My songs are amazing.'”
The session ends with Josh tricking Dave into imagining that he just came off stage after a killer stadium show. He asks Dave to sit in that feeling.
“I felt pretty good in the session. Josh was smart and empathetic, and he made me realize some things – I realized there was an inner critic who made one rule for me and another for everyone else, which was fascinating,” says Dave .
“But actually it reassured me how badly I don’t want to have anything to do with social media.
Dave also reflects on his experience with the Zimmerman: “I thought, ‘Wow, this really isn’t for me.’ As much as he would be a valuable collaborator and resource for the right person.