This week, my Facebook account - personal profile and business page, have been suspended pending authentication of my identity. Don't know why - but I can only suspect it has something to do with my weird last name. Facebook didn't much like it when I first joined about 10 years ago, and I had to verify that I could possibly have this most ridiculous last name of 'Fitness.' Either that, or someone has complained about me.
The horror - to be disconnected so abruptly.
As an online coach entrepreneur, I can only say, it sucks. Much of my marketing to and engagement with potential clients, engagement and support with other coach entrepreneurs, and my on-going professional and personal development are conducted to some level via Facebook. I spend a good couple of hours a day on it, catching up with the coaching world. Then there is the purely personal aspect. As an expat NZer, it is a convenient communication line to my family and friends spread across the world.
So you can perhaps understand why I have begun going through the range of emotions comprising the Change curve of Shock / Denial, Anger / Fear, Acceptance and Commitment. Facebook has been a very big part of my life for the last perhaps 10 years and it is suddenly no longer there.
I experienced Shock / Denial ("Nooo - this can't be happening!") and Anger / Fear ("****ing Facebook! What happens to my stuff?") I am now in Acceptance phase ("OK - so life without Facebook..."), moving into Commitment ("What can I do to overcome this?"). After doing some Googling, I have found there are some individuals who have never had their identity finally authenticated with Facebook, even after providing them the requisite government-issued ID. Their entire history of virtual memories and identity no longer exist. It got me thinking - what if that happens to me?
What has all this got to do with entrepreneurship and career management?
- The Change curve: Being very familiar with the stages of the Change curve give me insight into how I am feeling during times of change, transition, or challenges. When I recognised the range of emotions I was feeling about this seemingly minor episode, I realised them immediately as being indicative of a loss or grief, exactly what the Change curve was originally designed to demonstrate. And think about it, loss of ID authenticity? FB are questioning my very existence - that's a type of loss with a degree of grief that goes with it.
- Resilience: It comes up over and over again as a critical skill to have in dealing with obstacles, challenges and 'course-correctors'. I have had to tap into my resilience. Resilience encourages expansive questions like "What do I do about this now? How can I look at this differently? What alternatives do I have? What if I did...?"
- Creativity: As I move through the Change curve to Acceptance and Commitment, I have begun to think creatively about my options in an online entrepreneurial world without Facebook.
- It might have an impressive 1.65 billion users (about 23% of the world's population) but that leaves 5.75 billion not using FB. They use other channels to communicate and are doing OK. Admittedly, they are not all my ideal client, but then neither are all the 1.65 billion Facebook users.
- If they are using other channels, there must be a way to access them - in-person networks, websites, chat forums, online networking groups, sales pages, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, guest blogging for other publications. Facebook is not the only cab on the rank though it likes to think it is.
- I have to face it - Facebook has made me lazy about keeping in touch with loved ones, and also with my marketing efforts. It has actually dulled my creativity to some extent. Perhaps some time without it will inject more energy and vigour into my life and business.
- And of course - I can always start afresh with a new profile and business page (and a less controversial name).
So - that's why you won't see me on Facebook anytime soon, until the little boffins decide I am an acceptable version of Helen Fitness.
It's an abrupt reminder that resilience steps in at any time...
...and there are always options.