How to Overcome Anxiety & Build a Personal Brand with Mark Metry

You can build a personal brand on virtually any social media platform. But, if you want to grow a personal brand as your business, you’ve got to make the most of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is arguably one of the most powerful business networking tools at your disposal. Knowing how to optimize your visibility on the platform and shape your messages around your personal brand plays a key role in building an influential personal brand on LinkedIn.

Many people shy away from LinkedIn because it was once heavily associated with being a very serious platform made up of very serious business people. However, LinkedIn has evolved into so much more than that.

Forbes Featured and TEDx keynote speaker, Mark Metry, suffered from severe social anxiety to the point where he couldn’t make direct eye contact with anyone. Now, he is a socially free person and speaks on stage to thousands of people worldwide.

Mark joined me for an eye-opening and inspiring discussion about how you can build an incredible personal brand on LinkedIn. We also dive into Mark’s experience with severe social anxiety and uncover a few of the key teachings from his book, Screw Being Shy

How to increase visibility on LinkedIn

Before Mark really grasped the concept of LinkedIn, he saw it as nothing more than an online resume. It wasn’t until he started to take it seriously that he learned the fundamentals of what works, and what doesn’t.

Obviously, you want your personal brand to exist and thrive beyond the confines of LinkedIn. Mark has never viewed LinkedIn as a destination. Instead, he sees it as a vehicle, not the end goal.

You can use LinkedIn as a vehicle in the same way you’d use the gym as a vehicle. The gym is a vehicle to test your stresses every day, to test your body every day. It’s a path to get you physically stronger, mentally stronger, or more resilient to stress.”

Your success on LinkedIn (or in general) should not be measured by numbers. It doesn’t matter how many likes, comments, or shares your posts get. One post might get two or three likes while your next post could take off and go viral on the platform. Mark reminds us that things don’t happen overnight. You can’t go to the gym once and leave expecting to have a six-pack or toned abs. It doesn’t work like that. You need to put the work in and keep showing up.

A post might get very few likes or engagement overall compared to a previous post you published that got thousands of likes. But that post with barely any likes could be the one that converts viewers and connections into real customers.

Consistency is key. If you want someone to trust you enough to want to work with you and they want to pay you for your services, they need to know, like, and trust you. This is why consistency is so important. Keep showing up because you never know who might be watching.

Become a student of the platform

To master LinkedIn, you’ve got to be an active member of the platform and you’ve got to keep learning. Understanding the inner workings of the platform and the algorithm is so important. If you look closely, you’ll begin to notice a pattern. Maybe certain posts perform better than others. Perhaps people engage more when you post a video rather than a block of text. Pay attention to the patterns and what seems to be working.

Mark talked about these changing patterns and how every social media platform change constantly. Sometimes it rises, sometimes it goes down. Nothing stays the same for long and you need to be on top of these changes so that you’re ready for anything. You’ve got to be a student of the platform.

If you want to grow your personal brand on LinkedIn, you also need to make sure you don’t get stuck in a bubble. Every industry has its own jargon and people tend to regurgitate the same jargon over and over again. It gets a little dull. While there’s nothing wrong with speaking to your audience in their language, you also need to think about how you can be different than the rest. How can you change the world?

Overcoming anxiety and shyness

Building a personal brand is something that many of us want to accomplish, but there’s something holding us back. For you, it might be a lack of confidence in yourself or your message. Or, if you’re like Mark, you might suffer from intense anxiety and shyness.

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. But there is a difference between being introverted and being shy. If you’re shy, you likely struggle to make your thoughts and opinions known to others. You’re quiet. You probably prefer to sit at the back of the room, away from glaring eyes and judgemental stares. If this sounds like you, then you’ll love Mark’s book, Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone.

In his book, Mark walks you through a step-by-step guide to help you overcome shyness for good. Mark went from having severe social anxiety, unable to speak to anyone or even make eye contact, to becoming a socially free person and speaking on stage to thousands of people worldwide. It’s quite an achievement and one that is possible for you too.

Social anxiety can be a dangerous path

If you’re shy, it tends to show up as a pattern in every single situation in your life. Your body reacts nervously to social situations and although you’re not consciously aware of it, you’re afraid to talk to people. If you have severe social anxiety, it can lead to other problems and mental health issues that you might not even be aware of.

Social anxiety is often correlated with substance abuse and social isolation. Substance Abuse and social isolation are heavily correlated with suicide.”

When Mark was 18, he fell down a slippery slope and gained a tremendous amount of weight. He began abusing substances and reached a point where he was suicidal. He felt like he was trapped. Identifying the root cause of the issue and developing a holistic, sustainable, and functional plan to help get you out is what Mark teaches in his book.

Your mental health and your gut

There’s a chapter in Mark’s book called, “My Gut Broke,” in which he talks about how he began to abuse food as an emotional coping mechanism. He became obese and gained over 70 pounds.

As humans, we have created a symbiotic relationship with our gut for thousands of years that has made us the number one species on this planet. By that same virtue, if two organisms are cooperating together to be in symbiosis, the dysfunction of that is dysbiosis.”

If you look at the studies, they take people’s gut microbiomes, who are in dysbiosis, and it is correlated to not just social anxiety, but countless other mental health issues and also other chronic illnesses.”

Most people are so focused on having a positive attitude, working harder, and so on, while very few people are addressing the root cause of the issue. Your gut health has a massive role to play in your mental and physical health. There’s no such thing as a universal healthy diet. But there are things you can do to improve your diet, which in turn, will help improve your mental health.

Humans shouldn’t be eating artificial chemicals or preservatives. If you turn a packet of food around and you can barely pronounce any of the words in the long list of ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

There is a real problem with what is going on today, specifically in terms of people’s emotional health, and how they use food as a drug to cope with that to make them less anxious.”

So many people overlook the relationship between food and mental health. If changing your diet completely is too difficult for you, start small. Introduce a healthy meal in your diet every day and that will be a great start because you’re making at least one positive change in your lifestyle.

If you want to build a personal brand on LinkedIn, or anywhere really, but social anxiety is getting in your way, make sure that you check out Mark’s book, Screw Being Shy: Learn How to Manage Social Anxiety and Be Yourself in Front of Anyone and listen to his podcast,Humans 2.0, a Global Top 100 Show for entrepreneurs about the modern technological context of our world and provides anyone with the full tools they need to develop themselves on a regular basis.

Show Notes for YouTube / Podcast Host

TEDx keynote speaker, Mark Metry, suffered from severe social anxiety to the point where he couldn’t make direct eye contact with anyone. He went from having severe social anxiety, unable to speak to anyone or even make eye contact, to becoming a socially free person and speaking on stage to thousands of people worldwide.

In this episode, Mark joins me for an eye-opening and inspiring discussion about how you can build an incredible personal brand on LinkedIn. We also dive into Mark’s experience with severe social anxiety and uncover a few of the key teachings from his book, Screw Being Shy

Find out about:

  • How to build a personal brand on LinkedIn
  • How to overcome social anxiety and shyness
  • Understanding the relationship between mental health and gut health

For more information and to read the blog post on this topic go to <URL to website or CTA to podcast page/YouTube account>

http://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/scale-without-burnout-with-andrew-sillitoe/id1481633326

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

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Podcast review with Todd Herman – How are men and women CEO’s responding differently to the current crisis?

Working with elite performers across sports and business, Todd Herman is an entrepreneur, business coach, mentor and author and in his book the Alter ego effect, Todd has pushed the narrative of having different personas for different situations, however today, I talked to Todd about something a little different.

Following his report into how men and women CEO’s are responding to the current Covid situation I sat down with Todd to see why he wrote that report, what he found and what he thought we could learn from it. We also got into a few other areas of interest including why someone that was winning on the outside could actually be losing on the inside.

So enjoy, because in this blog you can read the best bits of my talk with Todd Herman.

I started by asking Todd why he put the report together, what his thought process was and what made him do it.

“We’re obviously working through and dealing with some fascinating times right now and while I value research, I value the action that happens on the field of play. I’m more interested in what people are actually doing, not what people are saying that they’re doing because there’s a massive divide, and when you’re working with people from a performance standpoint I like to pay attention to the words that people use because your words that you use create a fantastic window into how you perceive the world, how you perceive yourself.

When the proverbial shit was hitting the fan at the beginning March, at least here in North America, I immediately started reaching out to CEOs, founders and leaders of entrepreneur organizations and started interviewing them on a base set of questions that has evolved into something far larger just to find out what their mindset was and how they’re responding to this.”

Todd then expanded on what he expected to find.

“I was figuring that we’d probably find two specific groups, one that would be leaning towards maybe fear, the other one that was maybe leaning towards opportunity, and the reality is, there’s been three groups.

There’s a fear focussed group, there’s an unfocussed group and there’s a strategy focussed group.”

And how he found that data.

“I’ve been interviewing 91 CEOs. We’ve been tracking data with them every single week. They’ve got to be filling out certain things with me and it’s been bringing out a whole bunch of phenomenal data on who’s winning right now, who’s losing right now. What are the decisions that they’re making? What are their choices? There’s fascinating stuff between how men and women are responding differently right now and the results that they’re getting.”

I asked Todd to elaborate on the differences between an academic study and what he is doing, here’s what he had to say.

“I want to be mapping stuff back to how is it actually changing the behaviour or changing the results that you’re getting? Because there’s a lot of stuff out there that sounds wonderful and it would be lovely if it actually worked out that way, but human beings are massively nuanced and all of the stuff that sits inside of leadership books or personal books or self-help books, it just doesn’t actually bear fruit. “

Todd then provided some practical examples from within his study

“One of the examples right now of the three different groups, there is a large group of the fear focus group who are actually winning and getting some better results than some people who are strategy focussed right now, meaning the numbers inside their company are slightly better and their ability to pivot hasn’t been diminished.

My point is, people automatically make the assumption when I break down those three groups that the strategy focussed people are automatically winning. No, they’re not necessarily. But what they are winning at, better than the fear focus group is they’re actually people who are having a way higher level or way higher quality level of mental health.”

Which then transitioned into the differences between men and women

“So the people that are sitting inside of the fear focus group, men particularly, men leaders, are 4.2 times more likely to be battling moderate to severe levels of depression, so they could still be winning, but mentally, they are not winning. Their quality of sleep has diminished, so they are getting less hours of sleep and that affects almost everything. Decision making goes down when you have lack of sleep, your cortisol levels spike, so now your stress levels are spiking, your emotional regulation starts to plummet and you become all over the place and so, that’s the stuff that’s fascinating and that’s the stuff that doesn’t get talked about very often.”

I asked Todd to talk about that and to talk about the people who may be winning on the outside but struggling on the inside and how they could be more aware of that.

“So I’ve had this checklist that I’ve run through for myself because mental health, when you manage it and when you are aware of it, does it ever massively change the quality of your life.

Because people who deal with procrastination, avoidant behaviour, even sleep issues, levels of self-confidence, all of that stuff can be tracking metrics that can be going back to really you might be dealing with depression right now. So one of the things I do is to be tracking overall levels of mental health. So there’s a checklist you go through. It actually comes out of the book, Feeling Good, by Dr. Burns, called ‘The Burns Depression Checklist’, I’ve modified it a bit, put it into an Excel document that people can use and track and it actually starts to create a graph over time. I encourage people to do it, this is what we’re doing, this is why I’ve got so much data right now on mental health, every single CEO on the study is filling out this checklist weekly.”

After discussing the importance of language I asked Todd what he listens to when communicating with someone, especially in a leadership perspective

“Well, it’s the choices of words that people use to describe a situation, but then also so the word alone isn’t just enough, it’s also the emotional context around it.

So, for example, inside of the study right now, people that are in the fear focus group will use future pacing negative words 13 times more than strategy focussed people. It can also be a present tense thing, hard, difficult, now here’s the interesting thing, strategy focussed people are still using some of those words, but it’s the context around it.

So if a strategy focussed individual is saying, you know what, these are hard times, but, we’ll find the right game plan or i’ve been through hard times before and we’ll make something happen, there’s something good that’s going to come out of this.

Whereas a fear focussed person is going to sit with the actual experience of it being hard and it creates a context of doubt, whereas for the strategy focussed people, it doesn’t create the context of doubt, it creates the context of opportunity or growth, and so that’s what I mean by word choices.”

And how is that impacting on the decisions that each group is making?

“The unfocussed group is taking longer to take action. The fear focussed Group is taking the action, but the driver of the action is out of fear and the strategy focussed group is taking the action, but the driver is out of looking for the opportunity and growth and it’s those two shifts in perspective that is changing how people are experiencing this change.”

I asked Todd to tell me more about the key findings from within the three groups and specifically the differences between men and women.

“Right now women CEOs are 18% more likely to be strategy focussed than men and what’s been fascinating, through the study, what this (data) is showing, is we will actually go and retreat into traditional roles, or traditional archetypes that we live through, so women, as a group have retreated and responded into becoming far more caretakers, so what do I mean by that?

Well, just some stats, women are 351% more likely to have sent care packages to their employees than men, they’re 603% more likely to bring up child care as a personal responsibility than men are and 247% more likely to be caring for an elderly parent, but again, that’s just situational and women are taking 65% longer to make adjustments to their teams, meaning layoffs, furloughs or cutting freelancers, and again, that goes back to the psychology of a caretaker.

What that means is that before this whole thing started, women were 18% more likely to be running a more profitable venture than men were before March 1st, but now, they’re 11% less likely after March 1 and that’s because they were just taking longer to make some of the shifts with the team.

On the men’s side of things, again, like I said, men are 430% more likely to be suffering from moderate to severe depression. 85% more likely to have applied for the financial government programs than women were and men are getting 12% more sleep than women and when you take a look at some of these things it’s just fascinating things.”

What was the thing that really stood out and surprised you the most?

“Men are 225% less likely to be coachable, meaning seeking advice.

Men are seeking advice, but this is the key thing, women are seeking advice with the intent of listening and taking action. More men are battling mental health issues than women are, women have reached out, they’ve actually created more support groups around themselves than men have, and again, it’s the intent. It’s the intent of listening and taking action, which men again, not massively, but it’s still a significant amount, are just not being coachable as much as women are, that’s one thing that’s been really amazing.

The male ego is helping in some ways and hurting in others. It’s helping in optimism as men are actually more optimistic than women are that something good is going to come out of this, but where it’s hurting them is in the identification of if the business is struggling, they take it on, and that’s what’s triggering a lot of the mental health stuff.”

Todd then highlighted that these points were being driven by the data, not his own thoughts

“It’s just the data, like I said the women are just mentioning childcare more than men are. Well, that would be something that a caretaker would say more. They’re concerned about their parents more and again, how do I know they’re concerned about their parents more? Word choice. They’re just bringing it up more and I’m paying attention to what you’re saying and because your word choices are an indication of where your thoughts are leaning towards men aren’t bringing it up as much as women are.”

Final thoughts

After elaborating further on his book, The Alter Ego Effect, and taking a few questions from our listeners my time with Todd was over but it proved to be an informative, fun and fast paced podcast with a very interesting guest and someone that I could listen to all day long.

It was a great interview with some very interesting points regarding how are male and female CEO’s are responding differently to the current crisis and it’s podcast I recommend you go out and listen to immediately. You can hear the rest of the podcast and hear.

about Todd’s book and the idea of having multiple personas by clicking the link.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

Seth Godin: How to Scale in Your Niche

Whether you’re a start-up or you’ve been in the game for years, one thing that you must do if you want to reach true success is to embrace your niche. Focusing your efforts on marketing around the smallest viable audience is a key strategy that Seth Godin, author of Seth’s Blog, has advised fellow entrepreneurs to do for quite some time.

But, how can you scale in your niche?

What are some practical ways you can do this effectively without putting your livelihood on the line?

Seth Godin joined me for an incredibly interesting conversation that dives into this topic further. We also explore burnout, which many of you know is a topic very close to my heart, and why playing safe is risky.

What causes burnout?

Burnout is an emotional state whereby you feel so overwhelmed, stressed, and drained, that you are unable to meet the demands being asked of you. It’s a very difficult thing to go through because it can leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted.

Emotional turmoil due to burnout also tends to emerge as physical symptoms. Some of these include reduced creativity, exhaustion, headaches, stomach aches, and many more. You may also struggle to maintain your original performance level as burnout eats away at your cognitive thinking processes.

As Seth pointed out, “What causes burnout is not effort. What causes burnout is stress.”

Stress is the result of wanting, or feeling like you have to, do two things at the same time. You may not want to do those things, but you feel the pressure that you must. At the same time, your self-confidence dips and you’re not even sure that you can do those things well or on time.

How to navigate your way through burnout

The first step to overcome burnout or evade it completely is to avoid any profession where everyone is burned out. If you’re talking to people a certain profession and all of them mention how they feel tired all the time, stressed out, and down about their jobs, stay clear of that profession. It’s probably not for you.

You will not burn out doing something that you enjoy. Seth has written for his blog every day for years. He has written 7000 posts, which would give many people a headache just thinking about. However, because Seth enjoys it and he’s passionate about what he does, he has never experienced stress because of his blog.

Here’s what Seth has to say about this:

I gave myself permission a long time ago to stop doing it when it’s not what I want to do, and that very permission turns into something I get to do instead of something I have to do.”

What stress looks like for freelancers Vs entrepreneurs

A lot of people who run small businesses misinterpret their stress because they do not understand the distinction between freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Seth clarified the confusion by reinforcing how both sides get paid. Freelancers get paid when they work. They can’t necessarily scale that because it’s solely based on them. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, must do work that causes other people to do the actual thing that’s getting paid for.

The problem comes when you’re a freelancer who wants to scale.

So, you might decide it’s time to become an entrepreneur. Great. There’s just one little thing to take into consideration…cash is tight. When a project comes along, you hire the best person for the job who also happens to be the cheapest. You hire yourself…over and over again.

The cycle continues like this and you’re stressed because you’re struggling to scale, and you’ve become both a freelancer and an entrepreneur at the same time. It’s difficult, it’s not fun, and it’s stressful.

How can a freelancer scale?

If you’re constantly hiring yourself to do every project that comes your way, you will never be able to scale. You only have so many hours in the day and so, you need to move up.

According to Seth, the only way a freelancer can scale is by getting better clients.

If you start trying to hire junior versions of you, you’re going to get stressed out of your mind.”

“Every minute you’re not doing it because you’re managing someone who’s not quite as good, not quite as brave, not quite as hardworking as you, you’re subtracting from your art and your beauty. Stop doing that.”

The solution is to get smaller. Niche down and recruit higher-paid people. People who are just as good as you, just as hardworking, and just as passionate about the job, clients, and scaling the business.

Why playing safe is risky

For whatever reason, the idea of focusing on a niche scares a lot of people. To truly understand the power of niching down, you need to understand why playing safe is so risky.

Seth challenges you to think about who your business or creative heroes are. We’ve all got someone we look up to and aspire to be like in some way or another. Seth argues that those people will fall into one of two categories.

The first category is the lucky ones. Maybe they were in the right place at the right time and somebody happened to “pick” them. But, most of your business and creative heroes are specific. They are not vague or general. They have a niche and you will never be able to follow in their footsteps by being generic. It’s just never going to work.

Playing safe is risky, which is why you need to be specific. You need to stand for something and that something may not matter to everyone, but it will matter to you and the specific audience you are providing value for.

Marketing to your smallest viable market

Scaling within your chosen niche starts by marketing to your smallest viable market. Recruiters, for example, often don’t realize that they are marketers. They are marketing to two groups of people:

Clients need to trust you to recruit the best possible people for the job. This group of people must believe you because they’re the ones who will tell their boss why they hired you in the first place, so you’ve got to bring it.

The second group of people that recruiters need to market to are not the unemployed, but the happily employed. Why? Well, as Seth Godin points out, “those are the people that are most worth recruiting.”

These are marketing choices. Remember that marketing is not advertising. You need to think about things like what are you building? Who are you building it for? And, what change are you hoping to make?

Seth shared some practical tips to help you understand and focus on your smallest viable market.

The first step is to think about 20, 40, or 100 people (by name) that your business is for. If you’re struggling to be specific, you’re in trouble because you’re just going to go back to being a generalist.

If you can say ‘specifically, it’s for people like this’, then you can make something that will overwhelm them with goodness. And then you’ve solved an interesting problem and they will tell others.”

But if you are afraid of the critics, if you are trying to fit in for everybody, if you are hustling, then you won’t do that and you won’t find the confidence to actually do good marketing.”

To do good marketing, you’ve got to make marketing an intentional act.

So, are you ready to scale in your niche? If so, you know what you need to do!

To read Seth Godin’s famous blog, which is packed with thousands of incredible blog posts, head over to: https://seths.blog 

Akimbo is a series of fantastic workshops designed to change your life for the better, no matter your niche or expertise. To find out more, go to: https://akimbo.com  

Show Notes for YouTube / Podcast Host 

Whether you’re a start-up or you’ve been in the game for years, one thing that you must do if you want to reach true success is to embrace your niche.

Focusing your efforts on marketing around the smallest possible viable market is a key strategy that Seth Godin, author of Seth’s Blog, has advised fellow entrepreneurs to do for quite some time.

In this episode, Seth Godin joins me for an incredibly interesting conversation that dives into this topic further. We also explore burnout, which many of you know is a topic very close to my heart, and why playing safe is risky.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast