Dad had a massive stroke and we very nearly lost him. My businesses changed shape (though this has been a really positive and exciting thing so stay tuned). I left a small consulting role because it was no longer a good ethical fit. My anxiety reared its head and has required medication and treatment for the first time in over a decade. And finally….I got the flu.
Sometimes life takes us in twisted directions that we didn’t ask to go down. Actually, sometimes life just sucks! Yet if I were to believe even half of the advice that pops up on my Facebook feed, I should be realising about now that this is all part of the universe’s grand plan and will ultimately lead to my finding my passion, living my truth (whatever the hell that even means), and creating abundance (again….WTF??)
Well, I’ve had enough of it!
"memes should highlight a point, they should not be the point"
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I made the following announcement on my personal Facebook page: “Working on an article titled "why I'm gifting myself 12 months away from Instagurus".
People I have subsequently unfollowed today: Simon Sinek. Gary Vaynerchuk. A variety of 'health' coaches. Several 'personal development' pages. And a 'spiritual business' coach.
Already feeling good!”
And you know what? I’m still feeling good about it!
The trend of the Instaguru has increasingly alarmed me over the past few years. The advice from unqualified yet popular bloggers and marketers has ranged from benign-quirky (think pretty much everything that Gwyneth Paltrow recommends on her site Goop), to the downright detrimental (does the name Belle Gibson sound familiar?). And as someone who’s made a living for nearly two decades by giving qualified advice on how to cope with life’s twists and turns, I can tell you unequivocally: our current obsession with inspirational quotes and platitudes actually has a harmful side that I’ll explore in more depth at a later date.
So, what’s my beef?
A few things actually…..
More often than not, it’s fluff without substance – memes should highlight a point, they should not be the point.
The ‘advice’ spruiked by some of the under, or just plain unqualified ‘gurus’ is dangerous, particularly in the areas of health and mental health. Here’s a hint: if someone self-identifies as a health coach, but has not got at a minimum a nationally accredited diploma in a health discipline….they’re not. Similarly, expert career development coaches, financial coaches and business coaches all have professional bodies and minimum standards as well as academic and experiential requirements.
Much of the Instaguru’s success is actually just very clever marketing and sales – like one big advertisement. Have you picked the most common formula? Good looking; interested in fitness, health or spirituality; has a personal story of transformation following a change in one habit; following their own transformation wants only to transform others and help them be financially independent and health savvy by selling you a product / supplement / coaching program….sound familiar??
Many prey effortlessly on vulnerable people. During times of increased stress or decreased confidence (in any area of our lives), our default setting is to look for guarantees of improvement and immediate results. We're instantly more vulnerable to marketing, less likely to critically assess information that is presented to us in a favourable light, and more likely to be impulsive. Great examples of preying gurus include any 'motivational speaker' who suggests going into debt to 'invest' in their event following a change in life circumstances; coaches who offer services outside of their area of expertise and ask for you to 'trust me...I can turn it all around for you'; or generic diets / recipe books / supplements to 'cure' any illness.
Over the next 12 months, I’ll be enjoying a less cluttered mind. I’ll be respectfully seeking the tailored advice of qualified professionals, who have spent years honing their expertise in the same way that I have. I’ll be less distracted with clever marketing and advertising. I’ll be continuing to provide best-practice advice within my field and working with women to make educated choices in their careers and lives......and I’ll still be feeling good about my decision!