You are probably not terribly surprised to learn that I spend a good deal of time paying attention to the statistics of this mailing every week. I worry every time my “open” rate doesn’t hit my list average, and I obsess about every unsubscription. Not that there are very many of those, but, they bother me. How dare someone report my stunningly original content that isn’t even trying to sell something as being “spam?!” The nerve of those people!
Of course, I always wonder how much people like each piece, and, of course, if they still like me.
Over the years of reviewing this data every week, I wasn’t prepared to learn that the content I thought was the *best* content was often the content where the “open” rates were much lower than average, or that people seemed to be less than impressed with the content. Worse, the content that seemed to have the best reception was content I felt was not very good.
And then I realized why.
The stories I liked the best were always the ones where I was undoubtedly the hero, defeating the forces of darkness with my extreme cleverness and astonishing talents. They were tales where I was undoubtedly the master and in charge of the situation, and my awesome powers shined like a beacon of hope to all mankind.
And the stories that got the best reactions from you, my readers, were the stories where I was much less spectacular. The ones I really didn’t want to share because I was so unremarkable.
In short, these are the stories where I was vulnerable and so very disappointingly human.
I grew up learning that showing vulnerability meant that you became the limping wildebeest at the back of the herd, the one that the lions would spot immediately and target as the “easy prey.” And even if that particular wildebeest was much beloved by the herd for her quick wit and excellent cooking skills, that limp was going to get her killed. I learned to hide anything that might be interpreted as a limp.
I really hate showing my limp.
And yet, hiding the imperfections and showing only the good stuff means that I am only succeeding in surrendering to my own fear and preventing myself from doing the real work of connecting with people.
So, I’m going to try and do a better job of exploiting the vast catalog of my failures for your amusement. I figure it’s the least I can do.