I Am No Visionary (And Neither Are You!)
I spend a lot of time reading people’s social media bios. I know, get a life. But people fascinate me, and I love the opportunity different social sites give us to see how someone describes themselves in a sentence or two. For a lifelong student of psychology, you can’t beat it with a stick.
Now, I’m not just a psychology-hobbyist, I’m a New Englander, and I have to tell you, my ancestors the Puritans were pretty dour people. I carry their baggage with me, even though I try to laugh it away. So when I hear someone bragging on themselves, that just looks silly to me. Or desperate. Or desperately silly.
Imagine if your favorite social site were for love connections rather than networking or friendship. And imagine what you’d think if you read someone’s bio that said, “I’m gorgeous, witty, brilliant, and really good in bed.” Seriously, folks? You forgot to add, “…and my ego could eat Manhattan!”
So now back to Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook, etc. Do you really want to go calling yourself a guru? A rock star? A visionary?
That last one, “Visionary,” has particular meaning for me. Before I started Coine Language School, the owner of the school where I taught had a promotional video made in which the narrator called her a “Visionary.” We teachers, who knew her quite well, snickered as we watched. From then on, this lady was “The Visionary” to us, not the president. Suffice it to say, she was a lady who ran a small, successful business. She was no visionary.
Flighty, flakey, ADD, or temperamental leaders are often called visionaries by the more grounded folks around them. This can certainly be based on the truth, of course. But just because you can’t focus and you have a strong will doesn’t mean you see the big picture more clearly than everyone else. To me, that is what earns you the accolade of visionary: insight, a view of what the future might be.
If I say or write some things that make you want to call me a visionary, that’s great – what a compliment! But you aren’t going to find that term in my Twitter bio anytime soon. I also won’t tell you I’m handsome, or witty. The ghosts of my ancestors would haunt me mercilessly if I did, and I’m a guy who needs his sleep.
1. As I’ve mentioned, I can’t get enough of Les McKeown‘s “The Synergist.” According to his construct, I used to be a cartoonishly-Visionary type of leader, which many entrepreneurs and CEOs are. I regret that he chose that term to describe the personality type; I try to think of it as “V” rather than “Visionary,” for the reasons I’ve outlined above. When you read it (and you must read it!), maybe you’ll choose to do the same. Just keep in mind, not every exuberant flake has vision.
2. Sam Fiorella has a terrific 12Most post on social media titles you might not want on your business card. It’s absolutely worth a read.