Are You Scared of Being Seen?
If you're like many mission-driven entrepreneurs, you are passionate about what you do.
But you may experience a lurking, hidden fear of being seen and heard. It's kinda crazy, right? You have so much to offer, but letting people know about what you do in ways that lead them to work with you can be such a challenge.
Today I'm diving into understanding the fear of being seen, how it negatively affects your business, and some suggested practices to help you can begin to turn the fear around.
The belief underlying the fear of being seen is that, when you are visible, you are a potential target.
You can be criticized and perhaps rejected. Undetected and uncorrected, this fear will wreak havoc in your business.
For a woman, how you look, who you are, and what you do are all fodder for criticism.
The first fear to hurdle is the fear of being judged for how you look.
Will we ever give up our dark habit of criticizing our own self and other women on looks? Does how you look even give an accurate indication of who you are and what you do? Of course you want to look your best when you're networking, presenting, and talking with prospective clients.
I say it’s time to quit worrying about that "bonus" weight, the waggly bit under your chin, or whether you are wearing cute shoes! You are up to so much more than being concerned whether or not you look picture-perfect (whatever that is), so let’s cut out that nonsense!
I have found that your specific offer (how your work benefits your clients); your positive emotions, energy, and empathy; and your passion attract your ideal clients so much more than your outward appearance does.
Suggested Practice: Say to yourself on a daily basis, "How I look today is enough. What I do benefits others. I am ready, willing, and able to serve my ideal clients today. What others think and say about my appearance is none of my business."
Then there's the potential of being criticized and rejected for who you are.
Many of my passions are outside the "mainstream" - holistic medicine, energy healing, and how imagery and story create change. I know that I can share the depth of my passion with some people and not with others because of their experience and interests.
At our core, I believe we are all driven by the need to be seen and heard, appreciated, and loved. With people who don't share my interests, I treat them with respect, and usually they respond in kind. We can engage in a conversation and find ways to appreciate each other. They are not my ideal clients, and we don't have to agree on how we see the world nor do we have to work together.
I reserve sharing my passions with those who can appreciate them. These folks are my ideal clients and benefit the most from working with me. We can take the conversation and work to the levels where desired transformation occurs. I have graduated from believing that my work is for everyone. It is for a select few who get and value it.
I suspect you and your work resonate best with a particular kind of person. As you discover more specifically who you love to work with, you relax more into your strengths and talents. You can discern who is and who is not an ideal candidate to work with you. You allow yourself to offer your work to those who can appreciate it the most.
This is what the marketing folks mean when they talk about "niche". A niche is an environmental system that supports a particular organism like a plant or animal or you. In the work of transformation, you have a particular niche. Your job is to attract the clients into your niche who match your talents and interests. Your job is not to win a popularity contest or be concerned about what "other people" think.
Suggested Practice: Say to yourself on a daily basis, "I am discovering more and more of who I am and what I'm good at. I allow myself to share my unique gifts and talents to those who benefit most from them. I appreciate who I am, just as I am, today."
Then there's the issue of being criticized for what you do.
The range of behavior available to a professional woman is actually quite narrow. We often modify our actions and communications to avoid criticism and rejection.
Do you practice any of these behaviors to stay safe and accepted?
- Keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself.
- Stay "nice" by avoiding naming the elephant in the room - in other words, giving honest feedback that might be helpful.
- Avoid having an edge in your voice so that you don't seem bossy or bitchy.
- Always smile when you speak so that you seem friendly and safe.
- Lack confidence in yourself and your point of view so that you remain silent and invisible.
- Lift the tone of your voice at the end of a sentence so that it sounds like you are asking a question rather than making a statement.
In the past I have fallen into the trap of soft-pedaling my interests and opinions to "stay safe". Unfortunately it also kept me invisible to my ideal clients.
Learning and using some simple mind-body techniques have helped me reduce my fear about what other people think of what I do.
I have more confidence to communicate effectively with my ideal clients so that they can find and benefit from working with me.
The following practice is from the Art of Feminine Presence™ created by Rachael Jayne Groover. I am a Certified Teacher of the Art of Feminine Presence™ and share this and other practices with my clients.
- Imagine that there's a cartoon bubble above your head. We call this your “Head Bubble”. Put your attention there.
- Think about your work with your attention in your Head Bubble. Ask yourself this question, "How much do I care about the opinions of other people?" Notice your answer.
- Now put your attention in the Power Center in your pelvis - about 3 inches below your navel and in the middle of your body. We call this “Being Home".
- With your attention in your Power Center, think about your work. Ask yourself, "How much do I care about the opinions of other people?” Notice any differences when your attention is in your Power Center.
Suggested Practice: On a daily basis, put your awareness in your Power Center and think about what you do. During the day, notice if you're in your Head Bubble or in your Power Center. Practice putting your awareness in your Power Center and notice how you feel and how other people respond to you. You may notice a positive difference in both your confidence and your magnetism to your ideal clients when your awareness is in your Power Center.
This week have a look at the fears that are holding you back from being seen. Have a go at one or more of the suggested practices. Notice what shifts and enjoy any differences you experience.