Welcome to Mo’s Letter, a weekly publication by Dr Mo about social media, business strategy and career development.
I’m preparing content for a client’s brand and they’re quite anxious about its success.
It’s a big campaign — they need to make a splash. Sales have taken a hit since COVID-19 began, so they need to squeeze every dollar of profit they can out of this. Naturally, that pressure trickles down to their comms team, with whom I’ve been consulting.
The copy is pored over meticulously. Each image must be pixel-perfect. The content calendar is revised and rearranged repeatedly. There are Stories, GIFs, videos, and email sequences to tweak, chuck out, amend, reinstate and track.
It’s been a hectic week.
The stress has taken its toll on everyone, from product to comms to sales and management. It’s a D2C brand, so everything depends on social. I observe angry, elated, stressed, and accusatory emails flying back and forth in email CC. The WhatsApp group is a hive of activity. I love it.
None of this will matter.
In a few months, when the company has moved on to a new campaign pushing a new product, nobody will remember this period. They’ll have new stresses to deal with; stresses they’ll forget just as soon as those ones end, too.
Without checking: What did you post on your wall on 05 August last year?
Not only do you not remember, you likely also stressed about how many likes and retweets that post would get. You obsessed over the numbers and watched as Big Blue dutifully deducted its advertising costs from your account at month-end. Maybe you made a few sales or gained a few new followers. Maybe you didn’t but learned how to create better ads.
Either way, none of that matters anymore. It’s in the past.
The customer on the other end of the screen never knows how much work goes into making the posts they double-tap on, or the Stories they swipe up on, or the lead-gen forms that invite them to drop their contact details in exchange for 5 Powerful Poses to Practice for Pilates.
They simply scroll, stop, tap-tap, and scroll on. The interaction ends in a few seconds, never to be remembered again.
Today is my birthday. As I write this, watching the notification bar blow up with birthday wishes and new messages about this post revision or that content edit, I remind myself that life always seems so hectic when we’re in the moment.
Humans aren’t particularly good at long-term, big-picture thinking. We get so bogged down in the now, forgetting that life only requires us to do our best and trust that the rest will take care of itself.
As an imperfect species, we are weirdly obsessed with perfection.
The trick is to reverse-engineer the detachment. Instead of waiting for a year to pass before you can enjoy the benefit of hindsight, train yourself to see each day, each task, each interaction as just one of many, many more to come.
To stress is to suffer twice. Knowing this, treat each task you add onto your plate as something that will resolve itself with time. They usually do.
They may seem important now, but they won’t matter in five years. And that’s a very comforting thing to know.
Life is so rich,
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Mohammed Shehu, Ph.D. writes on marketing, content, and tech for fast-growing B2B clients. You can find him online @shehuphd everywhere.