"I don't get why you're so impressed with me. I'm literally nobody."
That message was sent to me by a girl I was talking to a while ago. While this story isn't about her, I can't forget the quote. I saw this girl as artistic, outspoken, and full of potential. Somebody impressive. But to her, she was nobody. And it got me thinking.
How can someone with so much going for them think so little of themselves? Perhaps they were just being modest, or unsure how to accept the compliment. I couldn't really relate to what she had said, until an interaction I had just this afternoon. Believe it or not, I found myself saying the exact same thing.
You see, I put a lot of care into how I portray myself. I'm careful with how I choose my words, and I understand that anything I put on the internet is destined to live forever. I don't portray myself differently online than I do in real life, but I'm able to make myself look more impressive by choosing what I decide to edit, upload, and publish.
I've made a YouTube video every Monday for the past two years, and have lost count of the topics I've discussed on there. To be honest, I often forget I have an audience at all. Sometimes, strangers stumble upon a video and find my website. From there, a handful every month will reach out to me directly via the contact form I created. Most of the time it's just automated spambots, but this time was different.
It was a 19 year old kid from Toronto, studying business. They mentioned being inspired by my story, and recently took a year off school to explore their passion for entrepreneurship. They titled their email "A shot in the dark", and politely asked if I could spare any advice for them.
I found myself thinking. "Why on earth would someone be reaching out to me for advice? I'm literally nobody."
To me, I was just some 25 year old kid stuck in the suburbs, who makes people think he's an entrepreneur through big words and small successes. But to the 19 year old who messaged me, I'm somebody they want to learn from. Somebody with something to share. I'm still having a hard time processing that fact.
I emailed them back within the minute, offering to hop on a hangout later in the week to chat. The idea that someone reached out to me for advice is equal parts terrifying and flattering, and the absolute least I could do is spare half an hour of my day to help. When I was 19, I wanted nothing more than to hear back from the people I gained inspiration from. A simple "you got this" email would've meant so much. You have no idea.
Just like that girl, I still don't see myself as anyone special. But maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that self deprecating personality trait exists to keep me grounded. Even if I can't see it, if I've done something others find inspirational, it's only right to share.
The day I don't offer up fifteen minutes of my day to chat with someone who aspires to be like me is the day I become a sellout.
I may be nobody, but I am not a sellout.