Nothing Can Dim Your Light
About two weeks ago, I published my book "Loving Yourself Is Always The Best Choice". Before publishing, I did my research, planned out the book launch, and outlined the different marketing channels I wanted to utilize. I envisioned how I would mobilize my network of family & friends and how I would structure organic and paid marketing efforts. I mapped out a full marketing plan and started executing each phase step by step.
At this point, it's important to mention that I've always been open about my faith but more in my private sphere. My blog and passion for writing was something I did in my spare time and didn't want to intermingle with "work". I didn't necessarily hide it in my professional life but didn't proclaim it openly either. It was more of an "if I'm asked I'll tell you about my faith" - approach. So, when I was planning the book launch I thought about all the promotional channels that would make sense. Facebook and Instagram were no-brainers. Additionally, I thought about reaching a wider audience and getting the word out through influencers, bloggers, and YouTubers. Sounds like a well-rounded marketing strategy, right? But then I remembered another significant networking platform: LinkedIn.
I am a marketing professional and over the years I have built a solid network of connections on LinkedIn, so I knew that if I utilized that channel it would probably be my most powerful promotional vehicle to market my book organically. I would be able to reach a lot of people from former work colleagues, fellow marketers to vendors, and business partners I had worked or connected with in the past. But was that the right target audience?
People who know me, know that I pride myself on being highly professional and a hard worker. Nobody will ever have the opportunity to say a negative word about my work ethic because professionalism and getting the job done excellently has always been the number one priority in my career. But there are unspoken rules when it comes to workplace etiquette and one of those rules is not to discuss two topics: politics and religion. While that is a general rule, for me there's an additional dimension and that is the color of my skin. Any person of color that works in a professional setting that is predominantly white (for the lack of a better term here) will understand what I mean. You have to work twice as hard to make sure you don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself. "Make sure to draw attention solely because of the great work you've done and not for any other reason that potentially could warrant an uncomfortable conversation" is typically the order of the day. With the book launch and thinking about LinkedIn, it was only natural that I wondered if it was a smart move to put myself out there in this manner - in my professional space.
To cut the long story short, I meditated and spoke to God about this. My faith is nothing to be hidden, on the contrary, being part of the body of Christ is the greatest gift and blessing I've ever received, then why hide it? So, I went ahead and simply did it! Last Friday I hit that send button for my book promotion and sent it out into the LinkedIn universe. I chose Friday because I thought it would be the perfect day for everyone to see and reflect a little on "the new, previously unknown to them, side of Linda" over the weekend. Let's just see what happens, was my mindset. And something did happen.
To give a bit of context, my LinkedIn post consisted of a book promo video I had put together to explain my journey and motivation to write this book, and a caption that summarized how my faith had been a major contributing factor to where I was in my life, career-wise, emotionally, and mentally. I knew it was a bold step and that there would be mixed reactions. I anticipated that some would applaud me and be inspired, and that others would silently watch, maybe judge, or even shake their heads. But I didn't expect what eventually happened. As I'm writing this blog post, it's merely been four days since I posted the video on LinkedIn and I've had more than 1,300 views until now and they are increasing steadily. People from far and wide have shared, commented, and reached out to me telling me how inspired and encouraged they were by my story. I've had reactions from former managers, work colleagues, business partners, and complete strangers. And of course, book orders keep rolling in daily. What a testimony! And as wonderful as this is, it's not even about the applause of people, it's about the reward that comes from God. He loves us and rewards those who diligently serve Him.
God taught me a major lesson through this. He has called us to be the light everywhere we go: in our homes, when we're with friends, at work, at school - everywhere! "Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 MSG
The purpose of this blog post is to encourage you not to limit yourself and what God can do in your life. There's no environment not befitting for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If God has put something on your heart, got for it! You never know whom you might be able to reach, impact, or touch with your gifts and talents. Don't allow the things of this world to hold you back or to make you doubt your abilities. With God all things are possible!