Last week the inaugural 2017 Colgate Optic White Influencer Awards came to a close with the supreme and category winners being announced. There was an insane amount of talent in that room, believe us.
For those of you that haven’t checked out the party album, picture this moment … Nestled in the heart of the city, a series of studio spaces on a second story overlook the Sky Tower playing host to immaculate guests dressed in all shades of white and ivory. You’re in the company of essentially every social media influencer deemed worthy by those who would know best – we’re looking at you, Miss FQ readers – and plenty of ‘grammable adornments such as red and white striped @thejellyologist shots, fragrant punch complete with petals, and a pamper room facilitated by Estée Lauder. Everyone is on form, online and #winning at life.
While it’s easy to draw comparisons and belittle your own achievements in the wake of a crew seemingly more talented, popular (and let’s just say it, goddam attractive) than ourselves, or worse, belittle others’ achievements to scale yours up proportionately, this evening wasn’t remotely like that, not even a little bit. Everyone was in good spirits, super supportive of one another and getting their mingle on with fellow influencers and guests alike.
Here’s what Team Miss FQ learned about pursuing your dreams and goals, from the 2017 Influencer Awards:
1. You do you, girl
Throughout the nomination stage, time and time again we read how fans were drawn to their particular influencer because they were “authentic”, “raw”, “relatable” and “genuine”. And the reality: they were right – there was little difference between the girl on the ‘gram and the girl in the room.
Just because you mightn’t have been tapped with the centre-of-attention stick from birth or have the legs of a supermodel, doesn’t mean what you have to say isn’t valid or that your message isn’t going to be received any less powerfully. You just have to believe in what you’re talking about. It’s waaaay more powerful being yourself in its raw, disheveled entirety, than pretending to be a perfect version of someone else.
That isn’t to say lay all of your cards on the table and bare your soul for all and sundry. Whatever you reveal, you have to be prepared to take the criticism and deflect it… Or keep your most vulnerable values to yourself just as you would IRL.
2. The hustle is important
Achieving top influencer status is a lot like chasing your goals. It’s not a switch that can be flicked on and shine bright immediately. It takes time, vision and a strategy. When you have that moment strike you – that moment where you know exactly what you want to do or what you want to be – there is a natural proclivity to think it needs to happen right this very second. When really, we need to be thinking equally about our goals and the steps we need to take to get there.
For example, turn “I want to be a vegan yogi” into “I’m going to start going to yoga and try veganism”. It’s not as absolute and it doesn’t drive any guilt when you
pick up a steak pie on the way home from town fall off the wagon causing you to throw the towel in all together. It’s the effort and perseverance that will turn the small ratio of triumphs into big, long-term successes.
3. Everyone is someone
If your principal at intermediate school didn’t throw around the phrase: “Be nice to nerds because one day you’ll end up working for one”, did you even go to school?! While their foresight may not have stretched so far to see that as millennials, we search for meaningfulness in everything we do – including the companies and the managers we work for (that’s if you haven’t paved your own way and made your fortune already through a nifty start-up). But they kind of had a point.
It’s important to be kind to everyone in your life because you’ll never know when or where you’ll cross paths or need their help in the future. It was apparent even among the influencers contending for the top titles at the Influencer Awards, that that they were also one another’s biggest fans and support systems. Social media often gets a bad rap for pitting people against each other, so it was really neat to see it bringing people together, working creatively and collaborating on projects both here and overseas.
4. Be positive in the face of negativity
Life’s a funny ol’ thing sometimes, huh? Friends you thought would love and support you no matter what, suddenly jump at the opportunity to cut you down or speculate behind your back, as soon as you start getting ahead. It sucks, right? And you wonder whether dealing with all this carry on is even worth it? The answer is yes, it is worth it. Whenever you try something new, introduce change or pursue a goal, even though it can be an incredibly personal pursuit, it can leech into other aspects of our lives – including our relationships. And with that can be negative backlash. Easier said than done, but open communication and remaining positive are key in order to keep moving forward. If people are going to criticise you for something you’re passionate about achieving, it can be really trivial.
We’re firm believers that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. They serve a purpose, and when they start to bring in more negativity than positivity, you cut them free. And if it comes to that extreme, make sure your keep it amicable as best you can (because, point #3). Besides, you’re going to meet many more incredible people in your life while you’re going after what it is that sets your soul on fire. Common interests and all that…
5. You define your own success
Something we collectively picked up on with most of the influencers and their content was that their original goal was a modest one. Whether they wanted to fill a void in the market, be the big sister they never had to others, or hold themselves accountable for a healthy lifestyle journey, they went out knowing that it was only going to cater to a small network of followers – if any. More often than not, it’s their friends, their families, their followers and their colleagues pushing them to make a meal of it and essentially what drove them to their success today. Don’t set the bar too high, keep it real, honest and achievable. Do the mahi, get the treats.