It’s funny…life is funny…and oh so ridiculously cruel. Late last week my Instagram was deleted, I had 25k followers and so many incredible connections I can’t even imagine how to remember them all. The levels of devastation here are deep, a bit overwhelming, while at the same time SO incredibly LAME. Perspective, this is my business and a brand I built, but there are horrible things happening in the world. That is not lost on me.
I started my account over 10 years ago, when at the time posting random pictures made very little sense to me, but I liked pictures and it seemed simple. I stepped it up once my first son was born. I told stories and captured precious moments that couldn’t possibly all make it to a frame, but it made sense in this space. So many moments, beautiful moments, important moments, gone.
I realized early on that this could be a platform to connect and help others. I loved that I could write and reach people. I love writing. I don’t know that I’m great at it, but it fills my soul and in spaces like Instagram you could be more than you were. I could write and maybe become a writer. I could lead and become a leader. I could say things that were truths we seldom talk about and help others.
I spent a long time working to grow and when I started my first business it was how I reached others. Then I taught others. So what do I do now?
I tried Sunday to create a new account, determined that I would somehow rebuild, but it was almost immediately cancelled as well...then it came back, why am I even trying here? If you don’t know me you may be wondering “what did you do wrong?!?!” The answer is truly nothing. I did nothing. I regularly encouraged others to chase after their dreams. I guested on podcasts talking about entrepreneurship and how to leverage social media for your brand and business.
So now that it’s gone, what do I talk about? Who am I even, as a professional? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know if the podcasts I’m speaking on this week will still want to have me on without the exposure they believed they would be getting. I don’t know if what I have to say carries any weight at all anymore.
How sad is that? How absolutely backwards is it that I spend every day thinking of ways to convince people that they are capable of anything, yet all of my worth in business is apparently tied to how many followers I had on one single social media platform?
So…I have some inner work to do, but maybe it’s not going to be on Instagram. I’m not giving up, but I can take a hint and it’s time to pivot and grow. It’s not ok for us to build our lives and businesses some place where it can all be taken for no reason, in an instant. I am reeling. I had projects in the works, dreams coming true, and now I’m not sure any of it makes sense without my Instagram account…and yeah, I realize how completely stupid that is, but it’s my truth right now. It's not The Truth. Maybe that’s why this is happening, maybe that’s exactly why I had to lose it, our worth should never be tied to something so fickle, so worldly, so completely out of our control.
I don’t know what happens next. I have an income to maintain and a family to support. I have so much more to give and offer, I have so many dreams I’ve yet to achieve.
I left a business a little over a year ago because I felt limited in what I did, how I did it, how much I could earn, and how much I could grow. I had spent years praying to God for guidance and not getting any firm answers, then he showed me a new direction, something I had not been praying for or about at all. I followed, I trusted, and I learned to lean on Him more. I thought I had learned to trust Him completely, but now I realize I had more to learn.
I have people suggesting lawyers and all kinds of things…but there is this voice that I’ve learned to trust that says simply “let it go” and I know there’s a plan. Another path that doesn’t look easy, but I’ll go down it because there’s something beautiful waiting. It won’t be the last black diamond I'm unprepared for in my future, but maybe the next will be even easier to accept. Maybe I'll get @ktannebarnett back, maybe I won't...but I'm going to let it go for right now and focus on what I can change.
The truth is that while I loved being able to connect and reach others through my influence on Instagram, there were rules. Both actual and figurative. Stay in your niche, post like this, use the hashtags, stop using the hashtags, learn the algorithm, post more, post less, don’t say these words, like, follow, comment, learn reels, do more, LIVE on the app. It’s a beautiful place for so many things, but maybe it’s just not where I belong, at least right now. Or maybe I need to change and do it differently and this is my opportunity to do just that. So here we go. I don’t know where this will end up, where I will share it, who will read it.
I do know that I felt like my account validated me, my success, my leadership…and that, well that’s bullshit. If you can relate...we can do better. We are worth more. I'll try to provide all I can to support you basing your worth on things that matter, like who you are and what you do. I'm here for it and I'm here for you. Rooting hard.
Here we g(r)o(w).
Katie Anne Barnett