One of the most common fears of business owners is the fear of being seen. Yes, there will always be those folks who seem to thrive in the limelight. Give them a stage, or a website, or an audience, and they’re all set.
But more often than not, I meet business owners who would rather curl up in a ball than be the center of attention, or have any attention at all! That’s because they equate being seen with being exposed for any number of perceived failures…
For being someone who has bad ideas. For being old. Or being young. For saying something stupid. For singing a wrong note. Or writing a wrong word. For not being likable…
In other words…for not being perfect.
When I was in 5th grade, I learned how to play “Scarlet Ribbons” on the piano. It was one of my dad’s favorite songs, and I wanted to surprise him, not only by playing it at my end-of-the-year piano recital, but by singing it too.
At the rehearsal for our big recital, I shared my idea with my piano teacher who shouted up at the stage crew to “toss a standing mic up next to the piano!” when I got up for my turn.
In front of an auditorium of students, I took my first ever stab at singing and playing piano at the same time. I leaned way over to the standing microphone and hesitantly opened my mouth. I bumped into the silver mesh, and an impossibly loud noise boomed over the speakers. The auditorium erupted with laughter and applause. I gave up instantly and fumbled through the rest of the song without singing. As I walked back to my row, a group of boys was pointing at me and laughing.
It sucks that something like this happens to a 9-year-old kid. But the truth is – we’ve all had some version of this happen to us. By the time we’re adults, “Who Do You Think You Are?” shouts so loudly at us that we stop giving ourselves the chance even to have the idea to sing “Scarlet Ribbons.” We build walls, protecting ourselves from the slightest likelihood of being seen as the imperfect humans we are.
The problem is that, as a business owner, you are seen. In fact, you must be seen. Business – even online business – is public. Many people will witness your ideas, your videos, your talks, your writing, your coaching, your successes. And yes, your failures.
The course of action my clients take to overcome the fear of being seen is the same course of action I took when it came time to act on my ideas in spite of many harsh moments from my past …
First, take action.
Break down your big dreams and ideas into do-able steps. Then do them. Action won’t make the fear go away. In fact, the voices of fear will probably fight harder at first. But when you get through the first small step, all you need to know is that it’s time for the next small step. Fear can’t fight steps. Fear mostly just fights your big ideas and dreams.
Second, get support and accountability.
Make sure you have a buddy or coach who holds you accountable to do what you say you’re going to do, and then cheers you on for the steps you take. Do not, under any circumstances, allow toxic people to give you opinions on your progress. Surround yourself only with extreme encouragers. This is non-negotiable.
Third, stay in relationship with your idea… and with the fear.
In addition to having their own Strategy coach, my clients in Uplevel Academy each get to work with their own Energy Coach. Their energy coach helps with mindsets, focus and fear. They don’t try to fix the fear. They methodically help the client bring presence to the fear and clear it from the inside.
Presence means being in relationship with fear, or whatever obstacle is coming up. When we get upset by our fears, we actually lock them in place with our resistance. But when we stop resisting, the fear has a chance to loosen its hold. This is the power of our attention. Fear doesn’t vanish because we kill it. It dissipates because of the power of our presence. In my Becoming 360 Coaching Program, I call this “Managing Your Power.”
Managing Your Power also means staying in relationship with your idea or your dream. Too often, one small glitch means we abandon our dream. A glitch is actually your opportunity to discover what you’re being called to learn as a business owner, who you’re being called to become. You lose this lesson if you bolt. You gradually live into the lessons around being seen if you stay present to your ideas and your imperfection.
Leave me a comment and share if this fear of being seen ever shows up in your business, and how you move through it…