Confession #128, I’m a recovering Photoshop abuser. I spent a big part of my career trying to create the PERFECT professional image. I spent hours editing imperfections and blemishes in all my photos trying to make sure every photo I posted was juuuust right. The one thing I had learned about working in the marketing industry is that you had to “look the part”. But that was all before the dawn and total domination of social media.
I remember being really proud to post my glamorous head shot as my social media avatar (see above). That was until I met a few folks for the first time IRL (in real life) who stated “oh, you don’t look like your picture online”. I thought (and still think) the photo TOTALLY looks like me, but I guess you can’t argue with the feedback. Alas there is much to be said for professional photographers and glam squads.
While I didn’t change my avatar picture right away, I did come the quick realization that I needed to post more not-so-perfect photos of me. And so I did! All jokes aside, some of the new photos that I posted were errrr, unflattering, ohhh let’s cut the sh*t, they were flat out “ugly”! And then I had the audacity to post unaltered videos as well. To my surprise, the “ugly photos” and videos got more videos that my polished ones. Maybe it was because I was more relaxed, or perhaps the content connected better with viewers. Either way, it was a big lesson in understanding… “you don’t always have to be perfect, you just have to show up!”. Check out the video below that I did last week on this subject.
Nowadays when I feel inspired to post a photo or a video, I don’t always reach for my makeup kit. I grab the camera, point and shoot. Sometimes I would rather spend focus on my message than my makeup. This allows me to make a better connection with my tribe and build trust more quickly.
Now that you know how UGLY PHOTOS worked for me, here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t hesitate to post ugly photos too.
- You Seem More Human – The last thing you want is to appear super perfect. It makes you perfectly UNrelate-able.
- Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously – Finding humor in your flaws gives others permission to embrace their own. It shows others that you fully embrace life!
- Battle Being A Perfectionist – If you are a perfectionist or recovering perfectionist this exercise is a MUST for you. Sometimes you have to let go of the need to be perfect in order to make progress.
- It’s Part of Your Story – Good days, bad days, scars, imperfections are all part of our story. You should never be ashamed to show the visible signs of your journey.
- It Builds Trust– I have intentionally created a brand that doesn’t require me to look perfect all the time. Newsflash: Even when I’m NOT wearing makeup, I’m still a brand expert. People trust me because of my knowledge, not my eyeshadow. My willingness to shed my perfect image shows them that I have nothing to hide.
Ok, don’t get it twisted, I wear makeup in the majority of my photos and videos because I simply like a “finished” look. And maybe there is a small part of me that is a bit arrogant about my appearance (yep, she thinks she’s cute). But the main reason is that I’m a professional. Sometimes it’s important to make a distinctly professional impression, other times you just need to show up and deliver. Don’t let you need to be perfect keep you from executing!