As a child, I loved the idea of singing in the school choir, but I was terrified of anyone hearing my voice. Even when I did sing, no one could hear my voice. I felt so much embarrassment and shame that I would mime every song.
My desire to sing speaks to the human desire within all of us to be seen and heard - to be able to express ourselves, no matter how afraid or insecure we are - we are innately wired for the joy of expression. It’s as fundamental as breathing.
And yet, we feel torn. Case in point: In my work as a coach, I sometimes crave the spotlight and recognition, and then other times I cringe at the thought of that spotlight and want to remain hidden and out of sight due to fear. It’s an odd paradox, but also understandable because when we put ourselves out there, we run the risk of being judged and criticized, and we so want to just belong and fit it.
But for all the years I’ve suffered from insecurity – for all the years I’ve been in hiding and played small – there was a part of me that was always pulling me toward being heard and seen. In the same way, you can’t hold down a beach ball on the water, I just couldn’t hold down that part of me that wanted to be fully expressed.
I run a private Facebook group made up of coaches – called The Magnetic Coach – and the purpose of the group is to help coaches feel more confident about putting themselves out there. And yet so many of them have an uncomfortable relationship with self-promotion – talking about their unique gifts, talents, and the work they do – fearing that others will think they’re too full of themselves.
The fear we feel about putting ourselves out there is because we’re not used to expressing ourselves in public. And when we start doing something we’ve never really done before, our brains are going to have a hissy fit. They’re going to remind us that we don’t do that kind of thing. And our brains want to let us know that it’s far too risky. Good to know.
But there’s also something to be said for developing skill sets and honing our craft for anything we do, especially before going public. When we write our first shitty draft, we intuitively know that it needs more work before we press the send button. When we’re considering giving a talk or doing an interview, we know that preparation is necessary before we open our mouths.
But there comes a time, after all the editing and after all the practicing that we have to send out the blog, publish the book, give the talk, step up for that interview, or share something on social media. There comes the time when we have to trust that we’re not going to die if we do this - that we’ll survive all of it no matter how it turns out. And that if we do screw up, so what?
Have you noticed that when we turn to our fear - when we retreat to our fear – when we continue to hide and not speak out – your fear offers nothing in return? It offers no solution except placing you back on the couch watching Netflix - your fear always asks you to do the same old thing and that thing is Nothing.
And that’s why a life controlled by fear becomes a very small and restricted life. There’s nowhere to go.
The next time you feel that fear - and you will - take your focus off you, and instead remember why you want to share in the first place. Don't make it about you. Make it about serving others.
If you'd like to join my private FB group - The Magnetic Coach, message me on FB or email me and I will invite you to join. I'd love to have you!