In an attempt to overcome my camera shyness, I decided to live stream at least once a day, for a whole month. This was very much a snap decision, however once I made up my mind, there was no going back. In hindsight, I could have chosen a shorter month (February to be precise) but nope, I chose October.
Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms allow users to broadcast live videos, or ‘live stream’. Depending on the settings, anyone can view the videos, either live while they are taking place, or later. For 31 consecutive days, my live streams involved me talking directly to the camera about a variety of topics. On some days people joined me live and on other days, I was essentially talking to myself, with people watching the replay later.
By the end of this experience, I was completely comfortable speaking on camera. I also learned a lot that is applicable to daily life. Here are my key takeaways:
1) Be yourself
This might sound obvious but we can spend a lot of time admiring others and wishing we were more like them, in one way or another. I used to look at super energetic people and wish I had their energy, seeing my own style as boring. However I’ve had so many compliments on how calm and measured I am, which is viewed positively by those who appreciate these qualities. In life, you aren’t going to appeal to, or attract everyone so be yourself and you will attract the people who like the real you.
2) Keep going
The first time I went live, I didn’t fully appreciate that I was actually live! I was cursing at my phone, stopping and restarting several times before realising people could have been watching (fortunately no one was)! As time has gone on, I have learned to laugh at my mistakes and just keep going. Similar to the last point, people like to see the real you and won’t be put off because you mixed up your words or said the wrong thing. The important thing is that when you make a mistake, you keep going and don’t let it define you or ruin your flow.
3) Anyone could be watching
I was surprised to see the number of views some of my videos got, by those watching the replays. Not only that, people mentioned enjoying some of the videos, weeks after they were broadcast, yet I had no idea they’d seen them. We can get so caught up in the number of likes and followers, however people can be quietly viewing our content and forming an impression. This can translate to the real world (offline) too. The lesson is to always put your best self forward.
4) Mix it up
My live streams have ranged in length from around 1 to 40 minutes. Some have been more serious, such as talks about the comfort zone and self belief, and involved preparation. Others were spontaneous and I went with wherever the moment took me. Some of the videos were public and others were in private groups. On one day I was interviewed and on another I submitted a live video competition entry! There is no right or wrong and mixing it up keeps it interesting (at the very least, for you). Ultimately if you want to achieve a goal, making it enjoyable is one of the best ways to ensure you do.
5) I know what I like
I was shocked to discover just how much I enjoy live streaming and it is nowhere near as scary as I first thought. By throwing myself in at the deep end, I learned so much about what works for me. I am a lot clearer on my strengths and I know what topics I like to speak about, for how long and to which groups. When we push ourselves, we learn so much about who we are. A key part of developing our self-awareness is knowing our likes and dislikes, so we can make choices that reflect them.
Getting out of the comfort zone is key to growth and is something I constantly challenge myself and my clients to do. What challenges would you like to face?