What I've learned after 1 year on Instagram

What I've learned after 1 year on Instagram

So often I hear friends say these things about social media:

"It drains me."

"I lose so much time on it."

"It's such a love/hate relationship."

I just celebrated 1 year on Instagram. One year since I decided to lean into an unknown space, take a chance on myself and my work, and hit "publish" on my first post. It was a quote by Maya Angelou that reads "there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” which is my “why” behind why I started an IG page. 

It has been a mountain of learning; about myself, my balance and boundaries, and a gift of finding supportive folks to connect and collaborate with. Here are a few things I have learned along this crazy journey that I wish I would have known from the start:

1. Be YOU.

This may sound obvious, but in the world of social media, it is easy to lose sight of the REAL you. It is SO important to have a clear understanding of who you really are before you set out on this journey to share your work, your family, your style, or whatever else with a bunch of essential strangers. All the inspiration that is offered through photos can easily pull you into the trap of comparison and competition, and before you know it- you are acting, posting, writing, and morphing into someone that just.isn't.you, and feeling miserable while at it. If you go all in with who you REALLY are, it will be much more enjoyable, confidence boosting, and rewarding in the long run! 

2. Set clear BOUNDARIES.

If you take nothing else from this post, I hope you take away this- map out what social media means to you, your business, and your family and set boundaries that uphold and honor that map. Boundaries look different for everyone, and are what will SAVE you from burnout, bitterness, marital turmoil, and other unnecessary heartache. Plus, it will keep you feeling pumped about why you are there in the first place! For me, I completely disconnect from social media on the weekends. This has been a HUGE came changer as I can sign back in on Monday with fresh ideas, new content, and an appreciation for the platform as a creative outlet and opportunity to share my work. I also don't post my daughter's names or faces, and never photograph my husband (per his request- which I respect). This is my family's "privacy policy" that I have learned to appreciate and protect. But, it can get tricky as a "mom who blogs," however I have found that by sticking to what matters most, a unique style all my own has blossomed into what is now, a pretty cool looking IG page. Finally, I have no alerts or notifications on my phone, and block out times to "check" social media-- so that it works for me, I don't work for it! Create, communicate and protect your boundaries. Find what works for you, and stick to it. 

3. Find your people and LOVE THEM HARD.

Over the year my network has expanded. I now have a huge group of people I love + adore (sober support, foodies, fit mommas, design junkies, and so much more!) However, one core value remains the same: if they do not bring love, laughter, or light into my world... I do NOT follow them. It's that simple. I don't buy followers, and I don't do "follow for a follow" garbage. Perhaps this is an extension to #2 boundaries, but I do not have the brain space for any negativity, and work really hard to surround myself (virtually) with folks I would actually hang out with in real life. With that, I give them support, love and encouragement when I can! I like or comment on a design photo I adore, a cute new kids outfit, a recipe or new workout move I want to try. I empathize with mommas juggling allllll the things, and congratulate friends who achieve a new milestone. What a gift social media can be as a door to connect with so many like minded, talented, incredibly sweet people- if used wisely! 

4. Ask a reflection Q first.

Before I post ANYTHING, I always ask how this reflects upon my family. You see, whatever words I write, images I post, stories I share, they are ALL a reflection of not just who I am as a person, but my family. Most times, I will plan out content the night or two before I post, giving it much time to marinate and make any necessary edits. And you know what? A lot of what I write I end up trashing and never even share it! I do my VERY best to not let emotion run my posts, and work to hit pause for at least 24 hours before publishing, while always asking that reflection question first. It really helps me to keep my ego in check, and a firm grip on my intentions and motivations behind what I share and why I am there.  

So that's it MoJo friends! If we have just connected on IG, or you have been on this journey with me for this past year- I just want to say THANKS! Thank you for the support of my work, thank you for making me laugh, and thank you for allowing me a space to be who I am as a crazy, sober, God loving, microwaving, sandy toed, wife and mother who loves to write! I APPRECIATE YOU!

XO Court

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