My friend Tamara Gold is the CEO of Stand Out Style, an LA-based company that teaches women how to step into their style, their light, and to really shine bright. Tamara and I were talking on the phone about Standing Out. She said, “It’s weird because I don’t teach people about Standing Out! That’s not what this is about!” And in unison, we both said, “It’s about Standing In!”

It made me think of my friend Rochelle.

Rochelle has lost a lot of weight. 83 pounds so far. She’s an outrageously beautiful woman and is finding out some things about herself as she “stands out” in such a big way.

She told me about working with a client recently, and how he started staring at her. Then he said, “Wow. You are REALLY beautiful.” He wasn’t coming onto her. He just remarked that he had never noticed how totally beautiful Rochelle is.

Her skin flushed. She wanted to hide. That evening, she told her lover that it was one of the most uncomfortable things she’s experienced in her life.

This is something we all want, no? Attention? Adoration? Or, as Tamara’s company suggests, to Stand Out?

Apparently not. It makes some of us wildly uncomfortable.

Rochelle’s story reminded me of many of the nights I had finally gotten what I wanted: to be on stage in front of a packed theater getting cheered at. Some nights after performances alone in my hotel room, I experienced what Rochelle experienced: a panicky discomfort that brought up lots of old shame buried deep inside.

It has taken a long time for me to understand the true meaning of “Standing Out.”

When we “Stand Out,” or when we “step out” into what we want, what we’re actually doing is moving deeper inward. In fact, I’d wager to say that the inward movement is required in order to hold our center.

So, it might look like Standing Out. In the spotlight, into clarity, in a bigger playing field.

But what you’re really doing is Standing In. Deeper within yourself. Centering your intentions. Grounded in awareness.

Few people understand this. Few people ever discover that this is the ultimate reward of standing out.

That’s because most people feel the discomfort and they give up. After all, it’s WAY easier to remain distracted and deflect their desires into a mountain of excuses. They forget the key component of Standing Out or Moving Up or Stepping Out: that it’s really about Standing In and Moving In and Stepping In.

I told Rochelle not to worry about people staring at her. I tell my coaching clients not to pay attention to the comments they get from friends or co-workers when they uplevel their lives. Because whether you’re losing weight, getting clear, making changes or playing a bigger game, people will “push against you.” You can spend all kinds of time trying to make them stop so that you’ll feel more comfortable.

OR you can get more connected to yourself. You can get clear about your direction. You can know the truth of who you are, and, as my coach says, “Know Your Why.” This is Standing In. And I think Tamara would totally agree with me here: When you start Standing Out, you’ll need to spend more time Standing In.

  • Diane Cruz

    Yes exposure is a huge topic that I continually mentor my clients and yoga students through. It is a lesson I first had to learn on my own. Thank you so much for your continuous wisdom and strength! I appreciate you.

  • Cynthia Morris

    This distinction is a powerful one and you make it well, Christine. You are so right about the discomfort we feel as we go out there more. I’ve noticed this often with myself and my clients, and over the years I’ve trained myself to feel more comfortable with the discomfort of swinging out there more.
    Thanks for another great article!

  • Amylia Grace

    Christine, This is the post I’ve been hungry for. Thank you for, well, for being you–and putting truth in words and getting it out there. This is JUST WHAT I NEEDED AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME!

  • Heidi

    Hi There!
    It was great to meet you and learn from you and the others at the retreat. It was an awesome experience. This post was perfect timing! You truly are a mentor to me!

  • Laura

    Excellent post, interesting and insightful comments. What stood out to me was the “people pushing against you” when you start playing bigger. It’s amazing how uncomfortable I can make other people simply by leveraging my own power of intention. Thanks!

  • KatherineME

    I am a participant of Uplevel Your Business. The main reason I decided to commit to this program was to widen my playing field, as CK so wonerfully put it. I am coming up against my own blocks. What I am noticing about myself is when I get overwelmed, I go for a run. This morning I did just that. When I got to the place where I turn around and run back, I noticed just how much I place in my way that completely clutters the whole process…like my run. The whole first half I was consumed with “what if” thoughts are disarming them one by one. If I could just remove the what if’s and enjoy the playing field, how much more enjoyable life would be! I know I am recovering from hurts long ago that made me afraid to stand in and stand out in my own life. I am happy to report here, and to myself, that I am growing.

  • Rebecca

    I’m getting used to standing out and standing in and would like to help others do the same. Life is too short to care what others think. I learned to set boundaries and keep things to myself. I only share things with “like-minded” people who will not “rain on my parade.” I’m really getting tired of people giving their advice when I didn’t ask for it. I’m more careful about what I post on my personal Facebook page. I’ve been connecting with myself for about two years. When I left the state of OH many people asked me “why.” I was sick and tired of being sick and tired; I needed a change. Now I don’t bother telling family and friends (more like acquaintances) what I do. I end up explaining which takes up time and oxygen! I have better things to do with my life.

  • jennifer

    bless u! bless u! bless u for writing this. im at my desk @ work trying not to cry or jump and down screaming “YSE”. you get it and i get it now. i just wrote the question in my journal regarding wanting to allow myself to be loved and that it is directly tied to my creativity or lack there of….and creating art and having others see it (standing out) requires me to stand in…in my own love, power, acceptance, forgivensess, self respect…thank you so much. (whew!)

  • Mary

    i haven’t stopped by your blog in a while but i really needed to read this today–love it when that happens. thank you 😉

  • Jan Scott Nelson

    Hi Christine. I was sent a link by Joanna Young who thought of me when she read this. So, I printed off your post and had it as my bedtime reading last night! 🙂
    A phrase that particularly jumped out for me was: “… what you’re really doing is Standing In. Deeper within yourself. Centering your intentions. Grounded in awareness.”
    I’m busy cranking up what I do and I shall be referring to these words as I do so. I need lots of input, ideas which slowly chip away at the block I’ve carried around for years, enabling me to see what’s in there! Thank you for this paticular gem of clarity.

  • Sue Sullivan

    Thank you so much, Christine. This way of looking at stepping out makes me feel much safer, since I LOVE going in.

    It makes a lot of sense. On a physical level I relate it to with keeping my core muscles engaged to keep my balance. If someone says something about me that throws me off, I can go inward to my psychological/spiritual center just like when I engage my core muscles when I feel like I’m losing my physical balance. Very cool!

  • Elaine

    I’m really starting to understand this properly for the first time in my life – you explained it so clearly and beautifully. Thank you! I’m gonna print this out and keep it with me to re-read 🙂

  • juliana

    This is exactly the post I needed this week, as I am re-evaluating and planting the seeds of new ventures.

    Thank you for reminding me to ignore the people who say, “But WHY would you want to do THAT?!” and giving me the strength to say, “Because I can.”

  • Carol

    How do you keep getting inside my head? I have artwork in two openings this weekend, and I am fearing the “exposure”. Feels like standing at a big party naked. I will keep rereading your post this week. Thank you!

  • Chrissy

    Thanks for the post Christine! You have a gift for poignant, simple, practical, inspiring writing…YOU so need to write a book about “Mindsets”…Thanks for another inspiring post.

  • Tammy Vitale

    Interesting because this post circles me back to work I did for my master’s. This post makes me think of “Diving into the Wreckage,” a poem by Adrienne Rich and how I discovered women writers always “dive down” into themselves (lots of water images)and bring something back to the surface (self included in my thesis “creation” poem). Love that this understanding is so in the world today – it’s a shift from 12 years ago. So this post is an “angel” in my path to remind me of what I already know. Thank you!

  • Caren

    I facilitate drum circles, and I used to facilitate from the circle itself, by playing my drum with the group. I still do, if it’s a smaller intimate gathering. As I move forward with facilitating, though, there’s a need to – literally! – stand in the middle of the circle. I can’t facilitate a group of 100 drummers by sitting within the circle itself. Talk about center of attention!! But, yes, as I’ve learned more and more to be centered in my deepest self, I am more comfortable standing in the middle, conducting the energy.

    In my other work, I also feel like I stand out, with offering intuitive readings. I’m working with my life coach to see that kind of standing out as a good thing – I can give a different perspective that way. And, again, being super-in-touch with my own center, helps me to be more effective.

    This post brought tears to my eyes! Just what I needed to read this morning. Thanks!

  • LisaLarter

    Christine, you step out and stand out in all that you do! you are a uniquely beautiful and inspiring people and you challenge us all to take the step out in all that you do.

  • Kathleen Krucoff

    A friend and I were just discussing something along these lines. So insightful. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Nancy

    This is so insightful. I’m discovering, myself, that yes-to stand out means to go deeper within yourself and to “stand in”. As you said, “after all, it’s WAY easier to remain distracted and deflect their desires into a mountain of excuses.” Yet, it’s so worth it to be courageous and step in :))

  • MC

    Yes, I like the point Leo makes about flaws. We live in a world that rewards sameness and what appears to be perfection. And yet we never view ourselves as perfection, even when we do something that is perfectly beautiful. And when someone calls attention to our beauty, our uniqueness, it feels weird. I’ve had to fight this strange feeling.

    Here’s my trick: When something goes right or someone gives me positive recognition, I say to myself, “Yes, that’s what I intended.” It helps me get over the hump of discomfort and move onward.

  • Christine Kane

    Hey Miranda! One time a mentor of mine looked at me funny and she said, “You SO do not see yourself, do you?” (Meaning that she could see all these big things for me that I couldn’t see.) And that’s how it works sometimes! We need those people who can see us OUTSIDE of those small boxes where we place ourselves. And YES, I’m EXCITED to be that person for you! You go girl – and thanks for flying across oceans to be at the retreat. It was awesome to meet you and spend time together!

  • Connie Rose

    Terrific post, Christine. Thanks! I’ve felt the same way all my life, basically afraid to stand out, to take up space, to be heard. I’ve done it, but with immense discomfort. I do have to say that now, at 60, I’m getting better at it! But it feels like a lifelong journey!

  • Mindful Mimi

    Funny, but this is exactly how I felt when you told me that you could ‘totally see me as a creativity consultant and that I need to totally do this’. I was like ‘Really?’. I mean ‘REALLY???’.
    But then again, I do know. And it feels good when someone tells you, and it feels weird and strange and scary at the same time. It’s like putting your intention out there to a group of people and then thinking ‘Oh my G… I now kinda have to do this’.
    And I know I do, and I know where I’m going, kinda. And it feels great. And although I’m this big seven, I can be a small number too. And getting this push from you just felt SOOO great.
    Thank you for this retreat. I had expected a lot of help with the standing out. And what I got was silence, grounding, focusing, centering and standing in. And I am ready to stand on my two feet and show the world where I’m heading.

  • Christine Kane

    Wow! Thanks for these awesome thoughts! And, Leo – you put that well. There is so much of that fear that you’ll be “seen” as the fraud that you really are! 🙂

  • sue

    Wow! Your timing couldn’t be more perfect here! Think I will post this somewhere I can read it daily. So true and so perfectly stated. I sure felt that need for going deeper this week and to really hold my center. I love the phrase, “grounded in awareness”. Thank you for this. Much needed. 🙂

  • Tracy

    Thank you, Christine. This post is just the contribution I needed to my intentions for today.

  • Christine R.

    Wow. I have never thought of this.

    Usually your posts are so spot on with my life that I nod and smile and thank you for putting it all so well – and know I now have more tools to play it forward.

    Not being a center of attention kind of person, standing out isn’t something I seek. However, after reading this I have an absolutely different way of thinking about it and I can already see where some pieces I just haven’t quite been able to fit together will now really start to mesh.

    Interestingly, just yesterday I noticed a very strong feeling as if a real revelation was ahead…

    A heartfelt thank you, Christine.

  • @BenDawe

    Very insightful. So many successful people fall because this lesson is not taught to them. This is one of the most important posts I have read this year. Thank you.

  • inge

    ‘Few people ever discover that this is the ultimate reward of standing out.’

    thank you!

  • Leo

    This is a great way to looking at things. Many of us have had those same experiences, where we get what we want, and that makes us very uncomfortable. I think part of the Standing In is that not only do we have to look inward, but that the inner parts of us that we have held behind a shell must now be allowed out. And that can be very scary.

    It’s very easy to get the feeling that you aren’t what you present, that someone will see that you are flawed, not perfect.

    But the reality is that we are all flawed, all imperfect. It’s what makes us who we are. But the process of looking at ourselves has to include becoming comfortable with those things we are afraid to show others.

    A great post. Thank you!

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Christine, This is really a great post. What you wrote here: “That’s because most people feel the discomfort and they give up. After all, it’s WAY easier to remain distracted and deflect their desires into a mountain of excuses. They forget the key component of Standing Out or Moving Up or Stepping Out: that it’s really about Standing In and Moving In and Stepping In.” All I can say is WOW. Those words are a call to action. Thank you. This one is a keeper!