Building The Habit: 5 Things I Learned From 30 Days of Facebook Live
July 02, 2019
This is a guest post written by Haydn "Dossy" Dinsdale. Haydn is Visual Storyteller, Nascent Writer, Mastermind Leader & Workshop Facilitator. He works in sales for Australia's leading luxury travel company: Luxury Escapes. As a passion project, Haydn is heavily involved with Island of Men - one of Australia's up and coming organisations dedicated to suicide prevention and improving men's health and well being. Haydn's interests include Music, Business, Skateboarding, Bouldering, Health & Wellness. His mission is to help people get out of their own way so they can get what they want in life. The life philosophy he lives by is: Be Real. Be Kind. Be Excellent. You can follow Haydn's daily video diaries on Facebook and Instagram @haydndinsdale
A little over 6 weeks ago, I was being driven home by a friend of mine.
As we made our way across Melbourne toward The North Side (3070, represent!), we shared some laughs and let the banter unfold the way that banter does.
We spoke about buying cars, movie stars and even coffee enemas—y'know, standard convo between a couple of modern-day guys.
From memory, it was just after I declared that I was going to buy a home-kit and try this coffee enema thing once and for all that the conversation veered in a different direction.
It was brought to my attention that a few people in our circle had recently taken on a 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge—why this came up after our initial conversation still remains a mystery to me but that's neither here nor there.
Now, of course I took up the challenge (I started it the very next day) but what is most important is what I took away from the challenge.
Allow me to share 5 things I learned from 30 days of Facebook Live...
1. Self judgment is a (very real) thing.
From the very first video, I couldn't help but notice a certain level of self-judgement present.
I'd feel myself saying things internally like:
"Nobody wants to listen to you."
"You've got nothing of importance to share."
"People think you are full of yourself."
"You don't even look good on camera."
"Why would anyone waste their time watching you?"
Where on earth was all of this harsh criticism coming from?
What I've realised is this: broadcasting to a live audience amplifies the negative feelings and mean self-talk that already exists within ourselves.
I find it so interesting how our own hurtful thoughts are highlighted when we consider how others perceive us.
This is not necessarily a new concept, it's something I've been aware of for quite for some time.
I've spoken about it in workshops and taught this idea to others, yet here I was being reminded of it each day.
The specific idea that I have helped people understand has been this: when we fear judgement from others, we are actually illuminating the things we judge within ourselves.
It's all good and well knowing this, self-awareness is a great step in the right direction... but what did I do get over the fear of judgement?
First, I exercised a little compassion for myself.
It basically deep dives into why we shouldn't worry so much about what others think of us, and it is a philosophy that I have been embodying since reading about it.
Bringing it back to the point though: Doing daily FB Live videos brought a level of awareness to the judgement I feel for myself and fear from others.
In addition to this, I became aware that the performer in me felt like he had to be be funny or outrageous to be worth watching.
My traditional role as a people-pleaser was attempting to make a comeback.
What bollocks! Not on my watch, buddy!
Observing this, I was able to pause and remind myself that I don't need to be anything for anyone.
I was not undertaking this challenge to please others—I was doing it for myself.
2. It's a great way to get out of the comfort zone.
One of the reasons I began a 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge was to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
At this stage in my life, I'm on a quest to slay any demons of doubt that have been residing in my mind.
I sort of see myself as a marionette cutting the strings of my puppeteer—I am cutting ties with any governance that self-doubt has had over me.
In recent years, this quest has led me do some 'outrageous' things, such as:
Try my hand at cross-dressing (which was a much more profound experience than I could have imagined).
Strip down to my underwear in front of thousands of people at Federation Square in Melbourne
Sleep on the streets for a week (to raise money and donate Backpack Beds to the homeless).
And it has led me to do some 'normal' things I was somewhat fearful to do:
Start a business mastermind
Completely change my career
Even though the 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge didn't require me to get naked, I learned that speaking on camera to an audience made up of friends, family and strangers can feel just as exposing.
There were times when I would record a video, then an hour or so later I'd wonder if I had bared my soul too much.
I had to own the fact that I'd spoken about things that most people didn't know about me.
In the name of being courageous, I allowed myself to just express whatever felt 'right' in the moment, completely unfiltered.
There were nights when I sang songs and actually tried to sing, despite any underlying fears of criticism.
It was somewhat terrifying, yet satisfying (off notes and all).
Now, being someone who values growth (over pretty much everything), I am aware of the old adage that growth never happens in the comfort zone...
And as cliche as that saying is, I absolutely agree with it.
This is one of the reasons I put myself in front of a camera for 30 days straight.
Oh, and I've done the YouTube thing before and can attest that there is a certain level of courage needed for that too, however, when it it comes to FB Live you only get one take—and you can't edit it.
This means you are truly seen in all of your rawness, no post-production magic.
3. Discipline is the key ingredient.
Aside from getting out of my comfort zone, I knew that discipline was something that I wanted to work on during this challenge.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a procrastinator (a really good one at that).
Not only this, I've also been self-diagnosed with Shiny Object Syndrome, this is where basically anything new, colourful or exciting will distract me from whatever it is I'm actually supposed to be doing.
A typical report card from my school days would usually say something like, "Haydn is an intelligent young man with vast potential, if only he could apply himself more consistently and be less distracted, he could run for President."
Obviously, that last bit wasn't written verbatim (I live in Australia, where we have Prime Ministers, not Presidents).
The point is this: discipline has never really been a strength of mine.
Having a 30 day challenge was the perfect way for me to exercise discipline.
It was the perfect way because of the following reasons: it gave me accountability, it was convenient and it had a due date.
Anyone who has completed a 12 week body transformation will know what I am talking about...
You need to make sure you've got a trainer or a training buddy to hold you accountable, the gym needs to be conveniently located so that you can't make excuses for not going, and you need to have a due date—that way you know exactly how long you have to wait until your next cupcake.
Now consider how these principles apply to a 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge:
You have accountability: once you have announced to the world that you are going to be recording a video everyday for 30 days, you will feel obligated to be consistent for your FB buddies. #socialpressure
You have convenience:there is nothing more convenient than a phone! It is virtually always within reaching distance AND it takes less than 20 seconds to open the app and hit the record button.
You have a due date: 30 days is only 1 month away. It's not like it's the 5 year savings plan you're trying to stick to (you do have savings plan, right?).
There is literally no good reason why you wouldn't be able to complete this challenge.
I mean, even if your phone was out of battery and you were at a function, you could easily borrow a friend's phone, escape to a quiet room for 5 minutes and make your video.
I grew to love the discipline component of making a video everyday, so much so that I decided to keep the challenge going.
The plan now is to go live every day for 365 days!
4. People pay attention (even when it seems they don't).
One of the surprising things I learned from completing a 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge is that people actually pay attention.
People whom I'd never thought would bother spending their evenings watching me talk about how I brush my teeth (yes, that was a video I made) would spend their evenings watching me do exactly that.
Friends, strangers, friend's parents, stalkers (okay, that escalated quick) would all tune in to watch me do whatever it was that I was doing.
Noticing this, I couldn't help but be reminded of something I heard a while ago from someone way more successful than me (I have a feeling it was Gary Vee).
The world is made up of 2 types of people: Producers and Consumers.
I don't have hard evidence to confirm the following stats, however, I am going to use Pareto's Principle here and say that the world is probably made up of 20% producers (at best) and 80% consumers.
Don't believe me?
Then answer these questions: How many people are creating shows like Game of Thrones? And how many people are watching them?
Now, by no means am I saying that being a consumer is a bad thing, it is simply an inherent quality in the majority of people (myself included).
There are just less people in the world who want to produce.
This is great news for anyone who is a producer though, it means there is always someone out there willing to consume what you create—you just need to know where to find them.
Okay, so we've established that people will tune in and watch some of your videos.
What are some of the benefits for them?
Well, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people messaged me and said things like this:
By me being courageous and putting myself out there for all to see, I was giving permission for others do the same, or at least be inspired in some small way.
I had a mother reveal to me that she has struggled with anxiety for as long as she can remember, and by watching me speak my truth on camera, she felt empowered to take steps toward doing the same,
I had a hair-salon owner message me to say that he has been inspired to start his own vlog to grow his business.
I had parents reaching out to me to say that I am setting a great example for kids.
This type of feedback was an unexpected result of consistently going live daily for my own personal growth.
5. Laughter isn't always the best medicine.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a bit of joker.
I have always found a way to use humour to fill a room with lightness, to reduce social tension, and as a way of deflecting feelings I've found uncomfortable.
Using humour as a way to deal with things has always been quite natural for me.
I could have easily done that each night when I was filming my FB Live videos, however, what I chose to do instead was delve into why I felt the need to entertain.
I would sit and candidly unpack my stories on camera, in search of answers... and answers I sure did find.
Through exploring my own behaviours, I was able identify unconscious patterns I was running.
I was able to recognise patterns that precipitated my need to perpetuate the archetype of the jester.
I came to realise that I have (for a very long time) been carrying a belief that if I am not funny, people will not like me.
How gross is that?
I've basically been using humour as a default because I believed (on some level) that I wasn't intelligent enough to speak on serious matters.
Through prying into the inner workings of my mind and speaking my thoughts out loud, I've been able to come to realisations such as this.
Not a bad result, I'd say!
So, what started as a challenge of courage and discipline, resulted in deep contemplation and catharsis.
This is another reason I've chosen to continue the process by starting Dossy's Diaries.
Effectively, it is a daily diary - just in video form.
My intention now is to make a daily live video for 365 days and just see what comes of it.
I'm not necessarily concerned about whether or not people pay attention to what I'm doing, because I'm not doing it for them...
I'm doing it for me—and that feels nice.
Bonus benefit of undertaking a 30 Day Facebook Live Challenge...
One last thing I learned during this challenge is: it improves communication skills.
I know, right?
Who would have thought that speaking on camera everyday could help with such a thing?
It's true though—it really does!
I have become much more aware of my mannerisms, the language I use and the habits in my speech.
Watching my own videos has given me honest feedback about how I convey my messages; certain flaws in my communication have been been brought to my attention, thus affording me a chance to make adjustments.
There's nothing worse (in my opinion) than hearing someone fumble their way through a speech, nervously stammering and filling every potential pause with an "um" or an "ah."
My speaking abilities are far from perfect; I am certainly not striving to be perfect - I'd just like to be a little bit better.
So to become a little bit better, here is what I do:
Record a FB Live video each day.
Watch it back and take note of what needs improving, e.g., tone of voice, articulation, eye contact, phrasing, focus, word choice, projection, engagement, etc.
Try and incorporate corrections in the next video.
Watch it back, then repeat the process.
In the interest of time, I don't analyse every single video I make, especially considering some of them can be up to 90 minutes long, however, I do assess many of them—even if it is just for 10 minutes or so.
By making this process a practice, I can say with conviction that I have already made vast improvements in my ability to communicate.
In the 'real world' this translates to more confidence in general and better relationships with others.
I'd consider these both great outcomes, for just taking a moment each day to get some things off my chest.
Would I recommend this to challenge to other people? Sure.
It's great for anyone who wants to develop courage, discipline, self-awareness and an ability to present.
So, in closing...
There is so much that can be gained by taking up something like a 30 Day FB Live Challenge, and (from what I can tell) very little to lose.