The following insight came from my podcast interview with Paul David. It is an incredible story of someone who wrote a post on LinkedIn and woke up to 200,000 likes and 6 million views the following day. To say it was viral is an understatement. Paul David is an incredible human being, and I loved his lessons around marketing and just being a good human in general.
I’ve never been too shy to talk about the struggles because I felt like people connected with them. For this post, I wanted to continue to have a legacy for my late wife. It’s been seven years, and I just wanted to say thank you. I didn’t know it was going to be viral.
I just sat down and wrote it. I think I’ve written up over the years about my late wife and our struggles. I wanted to let people know that I appreciated them for helping me and helping us through that journey.
Since the post went viral, I’m still getting connects on LinkedIn, adding 18,000 people. But besides the business aspect, it was interesting how many people were going through similar situations. So many people have struggles, and they long to connect with someone, even across the world, who they have never met before. So I responded to their messages because I wanted them to feel that at least someone was listening. And it was eye-opening.
But also, what else was impressive was how many people were so compassionate. I look at this day and age with what’s going on with the media. There’s so much division, but still, there was so much compassion out there.
There’s such an outpouring of love and support that makes me feel less separated from people that I might not have similar views with but still are human beings who are compassionate and empathetic people. But at the same time, some people are hurting, and I wanted to help them. So many people felt alone in facing something similar. And it’s great to imagine them feeling less alone or less suffering as a result of my courage and vulnerability.
We all hurt, and we’re all compassionate with each other. As bad as we think it is, there is an incredible amount of unity between people. We often forget that if we are looking at this one particular side. People commented how that post was humanizing and gave them a little bit more faith in people.
People feel like they know you because they have seen your posts and content; this is the nice thing about sharing more of who you are on LinkedIn. For me, it’s a powerful reminder that if you’re willing to be authentic, you can create relationships with people you don’t even know. And it’s just a powerful concept.
It works from a business perspective, too. What’s going to make you stand out from the big gigantic billion-dollar firms? Lead with authenticity because that’s where people connect on a visceral level versus a cognitive level. I always knew this, but I was just never courageous enough to do it. Regardless of whether I gain business, if I’m authentic, then people will gravitate to that. It’s essential for people to understand not just what your company can do, but who exactly you are working with.
If you’re a smaller company, you can lead with yourself because no one can replicate that. So that’s unique, and people can relate to that. The bigger companies can’t do that. So being a relatively small company and having uniqueness can be an asset.
The bottom line is what I wanted to do was share the story of my life. It was very important to me. My wife left when my daughter was four. So my daughter’s not going to remember her. I remember promising my wife, “our daughter is young, and she might not know who you are, but I’m always going to try to remind her about you and everything that you’ve done and how much you’ve loved her. I’m going to try to have her remember that legacy that you left by the impact that I’m going to make on others by your life.”