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This is part two of our interview with Colette Bennett, who launched The #ican Project. Check out part one of our discussion, or listen to the audio from our interview.
Whenever I start a project I get really enthusiastic about it for two days, and then by the third day, as soon as it gets a little bit hard, I’m like “Um, do I really want to do this anymore?” Were you challenged by thinking about what to post?
I’m so glad you asked that. The first couple of days you’re kind of excited, but then as you keep going, your natural insecurities come up. And so at some point, you are stuck — you could just rewrite the same message a whole bunch of times, or you get to the point where you’re starting to write “I can” about something you don’t believe you can do. and so when you write it down on the piece of paper, you actually feel really uncomfortable. And those are the most challenging days, but I felt like those were the most important days to do it because otherwise, I was just going to think the same thing I’d always thought.
You tell yourself things like “No one wants to hear this” “Who really cares about how I grew up and what my family was like” — well guess what? People might.
And how did you muster courage to post the thing that made you really uncomfortable?
I think a big part of it is about the social reaction, to be honest. The first one I posted that I felt genuinely vulnerable [with] was the one where I wrote that I was scared to write my book, because the book that I’m writing is kind of an autobiography and it has some really personal stuff in it. And the overwhelming feedback of not only “You can do it” but “I will buy your book” was like — Whoa! You tell yourself things like “No one wants to hear this” “Who really cares about how I grew up and what my family was like” — well guess what? People might.
“Today I can be really vulnerable and maybe it’ll help other people.”
And this is also So Worth Loving-inspired, I started writing little blips with them instead of just posting the picture. Telling a story really got a lot of response, like more shares and likes, and more comments and more letters from people. And it was around that time that people started posting their own.
#ican submission by Nabeel Mohammed.
I bet it helps people acknowledge their own insecurities when they see there’s a story behind it.
It’s so easy to snap the picture and quickly make the note, and that at first was a lot of effort, and there came a point that it because a little easier, like “Today I can be really vulnerable and maybe it’ll help other people.”
I hope that it inspires people to push themselves a little bit because it’s helped me a lot.
That’s something I learned in writing, because some of the most valuable writing that I did before coming to CNN was about really personal stuff like growing up with alcoholism and losing a home in Hurricane Katrina. People contacted me about those pieces and wrote letters. I feel people have this longing to be truly honest and truly seen, but they’re afraid. I hope that it inspires people to push themselves a little bit because it’s helped me a lot.
Part 3, about the importance of alone time and unplugging, coming later this week.