As creative entrepreneurs living in the digital age with the most effective marketing tool (social media) available at our fingertips, the pressure to put yourself out there is on.
A lot of my clients come to me with this feeling of dread-- a pressure to ‘perform’, to portray themselves and their brands in a good light. They worry that they’re going to come off badly and potentially harm their businesses/brands.
This is all of your inner critic's fine work.
The stories that your inner critic or outside influences tell you about you and your work are pretty big hurdles to overcome. You can sign up to as many online courses as you want that tell you how to be visible; read all the blog posts, listen to more podcasts, join all of the facebook groups with the intention of shouting about what you do but if your mindset isn’t in the right place, you’re not going to take action and actually do it. In fact, I’m betting that your mindset holds you back from getting out there more than a lack of time or strategy ever could.
So what are the four most common thoughts that stop you from getting yourself out there, and how can we overcome them?
1. " I ’ M A F R A I D O F F A I L I N G . "
No, failure does not feel good.
It’s shit, it’s scary and it disappoints us. However, letting our fear of failing stop us from being visible is a failure in its own right. To not do something because you think you’re going to fail is a huge disservice to yourself and to your work. In fact, I don’t believe failure is a word that should be in the vocabulary of small business owners. They're lessons.
All the mistakes and failures I’ve experienced over the years (and trust me -- there’s been a few!), I’ve learned and grown from each and every one of them. It’s a completely valid feeling to be scared of failing, but you can’t let it stop you from putting yourself out there.
Take some time to sit down and write down exactly what you are afraid of. What would happen if you failed? Get incredibly specific, because then you’ll see that it’s actually not going to be the end of the world. It’ll put everything into perspective for you, and then you’ll see that you can just go for it.
2. " I ’ M W O R R I E D T H A T O T H E R P E O P L E W I L L T H I N K I ’ M A _____________ . "
When it comes to being visible, we worry that others will think we’re frauds. We worry about taking up space that we feel isn’t ours, and that people will think we’re ego-driven or overly self-promotional. Impostor Syndrome Talk 101.
You cannot control what other people think of you. Y’know that quote that always does the rounds: “what other people think of you is none of your business”? It’s true. People’s negative thoughts don’t reflect you, they reflect themselves. So, don’t waste your precious time giving one single crap about what anybody else thinks of you. Just be 100% yourself, and you'll soon see the results. And honestly, most of the time, people are far too busy thinking about themselves than they are about you. No bad vibes, that's just how us humans work.
You can only gain visibility in a way that is aligned with your vision and values, and then give people permission to react in whatever way they choose. You are doing this for you, so why does it matter what other people think?
3. " I D O N ’ T H A V E A N Y T H I N G N E W O R
O R I G I N A L T O S H A R E . "
If you’re worried that someone else is already promoting a product/service/message like yours, your concern is valid. But if you let that hold you back, you’re missing an important point:
You haven’t promoted that product/service/message before.
And because you have your own style and approach, your work will feel new and original to those who get to see it -- if you let them have the chance.
This is a thought I used to struggle with a lot, especially when it came to launching the OGB podcast. I thought that this kind of podcast had been done to death, and wondered if the world really needed another white girl talking about being a women in business.
Then I realised that yes, there are a good few number of female entrepreneur podcasts out there, and there’s more and more popping up every day, but I hadn’t done it before. I hadn’t told my story or used my voice in this way, therefore, it was going to be different. I opened up to the idea more, started recording and then submitted it to iTunes. I didn’t give myself a chance to stop and think whether people would like it or not, because if I did, I would’ve talked myself out of it. It got accepted, I posted on Instagram about it and it grew my business exponentially, not to mention my confidence and self-belief.
If you’re holding yourself back by not doing what you want to do because you are worried people will think you’re jumping on the bandwagon, then read these words and repeat them over and over again until you believe them:
You’re worthy of taking up space. You have permission to do what you want to do, but you do not have permission to ignore your skills, talent or passion.
When it comes to being visible and putting ourselves out there, we all struggle with varying inner critic thoughts or negative beliefs. However, we all have the same choice to make when they come up. We can buy into them and keep hiding, or we can do the work to overcome them.
As always, I’m cheering you on!