I’ve been a “follower” of Seth Godin’s for about three years now. His work is really inspiring, but I’ve gotten to the stage where it’s time to move on and stop consuming his content. A lot of people never reach this step, because instead of internalising his message and then using it, they have become addicted to consuming his message. They have become followers.
There are so many people who never move on. They read and listen and watch and consume without ever taking the actions that will help them become leaders themselves. They aren’t apprenticing, as would have been done in the past when we worked directly with a master. Instead, they are vicariously living a possible future that they could actually have if they spent less time listening and consuming, and more time doing.
I have a goal in my coaching practice – to get everyone out of my coaching practice between 6 months to a year. My main goal is to help my clients overcome their issues of self-doubt and self-sabotage and get on the path to meeting their life goals. If it takes longer than a year to empower someone to take control of their lives, then I haven’t been doing a good enough job in setting them up for success.
But so many life coaches’, creators’ and builders’ business models depend on them having a “following”, an “audience” of people who consume their content, and so over time that content becomes as much about keeping people in as helping them make change.
My plea to all the content creators out there who pride themselves on how many followers they have – don’t create followers, help people become leaders.
The struggle here is getting enough business to keep doing what you’re doing. Having raving fans might seem like the only way to grow a personal brand business, but capitalising on that by spending more time “inspiring” those fans to buy your stuff rather than inspiring them to become their best selves. It isn’t helping them as much as it’s helping you.
I’ve spent a few years building a site that has a constant rotation (in marketing vernacular a “churn rate”) of people in my audience, and both my content and the makeup of my audience changes over time. I get emails almost every day asking for help, and while many of them are easy to answer in a quick email (I answer almost every email personally) a lot of them join my coaching practice because they need more focused attention.
The goal is still to get them out of my practice as soon as they are ready, and to do that quickly. If they need my coaching for much longer in order to take charge of their lives and do what they need to do, then what I am doing is creating dependency which is disempowering and not why I started coaching.
I don’t want to have followers, I want to support and empower leaders.