Two years ago, I went out on a limb and shared a very vulnerable time of my life and chose to it share live over Facebook – here’s the story:
My wife Debbie and I have three daughters – Gemma, Ellen, and Maddie – that’s how my original social media name came about @JDGEM. I’ve always been very open about our long marriage and family in my social content. For me, I’m all about being authentic. You see, when you’re hired as a consultant, people are not just hiring you for your expertise, they’re hiring you because they feel a connection. They feel empowered that by hiring you, they’ll very soon be in better shape. How does that empowerment originate? Through them seeing you via your social media – it’s an amazing canvas on which you can create as simple or in-depth as you choose fit.
After leaving school our middle daughter Ellen, chose to go to University in of all places – Australia! Part of the YWAM (Youth with a Mission) Organization at the University of the Nations in Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands on the NW coast. She’d never traveled that far before, in fact, none of us had, but, she knew what she wanted and away she went. We like to call it #rootsandwing parenting. Give them solid roots to base their lives upon and then wings to fly out of the home next and experience the world as much as they can.
After three years, Ellen decided it was time to come back to Canada and start a new chapter in her life. She was returning after a Christmas at home to help close down the school base for that season she was working at and say her final goodbyes. Debbie decided to go with her, so at least one of could see first hand what life had been like for her as a full-time Missionary, living on 100% support.
I remember dropping them off at Vancouver International and the realization setting in that for the next three weeks I was going to be by myself. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal. This was going to be the longest time Debbie and I had ever been apart from each other, after being married for thirty years! We smiled, hugged and waved goodbye and I headed home.
It was late January and bitterly cold. The worst winter was about to hit us in decades. Just so you know – my wife had always preferred me to be cleanly shaven. It’s alway’s been that way. I chose not the shave the next morning, as I was going to be alone that day, no sales calls or zoom meetings. Then the thought struck me – hey why don’t I try and grow a beard?! I’d never had the chance and got quite excited by the prospect of seeing and feeling what it would be like. The challenge was on!
It started off pretty scruffy but I was enjoying the new look and everyone in our online classes was liking it too! However, at the same time, I was really starting to feel the pangs of loneliness and was quite jealous of the warm weather and experiences Debbie and Ellen were having.
Then we had #snowmageddon – and I ended up having to clear our driveway multiple times a day. The snow got so thick that we were starting to feel stranded in our cul-de-sac due to the depth and severity of the snow. I started to get what I came to describe as “cabin-fever” Boy did this picture get some comments!
Then came Valentine’s day and that was a really weird time. I kept looking at our find my iPhone app and seeing in real time the distance and time between us! We had a 16 hour time differential!
During that time I was booked to run a VIP with the CEO of Empowering Returns Alfred Unger. He was flying in from Calgary. I almost postponed it because of my beard would you believe! Somehow I had it in my mind that he would think less of me because I hadn’t been shaving. But then the realization set in – I’m still the same creative genius that gets stuff done! So he came into town and we had a superb day together.
How often do we stop ourselves from posting on social because of what’s going on between our ears? We might have bed-head or feeling a few pounds overweight. But, we’re our own worst critic. How many special moments are left unshared because we don’t step out and post?
Soon the time came for them to come home. Debbie had been quiet about my new look, but made is very clear that she wanted her old “smooth-faced” husband back when I picked her up. I told her that my hairdresser had trimmed and shaped it all up, but that didn’t seem to sway the meter one bit!
So the topic of social conversation became – to shave or not to shave!
It was a very popular and engaging topic! I had already pretty much decided to shave but was so enjoying the banter – I shared one last picture!
I then had an idea, as I often do when thinking about strategies – why not shave it all off during a Facebook live? That way I could share how my feelings had developed and share my excitement about being reconnected with Debbie and welcoming Ellen home. So I did! I chose to broadcast on my personal page rather than my business page as I felt that was the right place and what happened just blew me away! You can still watch it for yourself:
The level of engagement was off the scale. I loved the experience and so did my audience! People were really appreciating my authentic vulnerability, as well as seeing how well the shave happened getting rid of three weeks of growth! Thanks to the Real Shave Company and Dollar Shave Club for your awesome products. Little did I know – this was to define a whole new way of sharing. It soon became known as the Shaving Chronicles. I’ve had people from all over the world tune in and watch. It’s such a different scenario. I’ve since broadcast from locations all over the world and started a whole new revolution in wet shaving among my younger audience!
The post-shave picture I shared sure polarized my audience!
And that’s what it’s all about really – being authentic and sharing what’s really important to you.
Now I know this strategy isn’t for everyone, but I can tell you that this was literally a turn-around moment in my own social strategy. Everyone is craving authentic and real relationships. I even get stopped by absolute strangers at conferences when I speak – “Hey – it’s the shaving guy!”
We all need a unique piece to our strategy – for me, it’s now the Shaving Chronicles – what’s yours? Would love to hear – please do write in the comments. But if you find yourself staying – hmm I don’t have a unique strategy – why don’t we book a call and see what we can come up with together!
Guess what’s next? Another Shaving Chronicle!!