Halfway through 2022, it’s time to reflect on my word for the year and what I’ve learned so far.
For the last three Januaries I have chosen a word to guide me for the year. I’ve found it to be transformative to have a word that acts as a compass to direct my year and an anchor to keep me from drifting.
I’ve always preferred being behind the scenes, rather than the spotlight. At school, I loved Drama but was always backstage, helping to make the costumes and props then scuttling on to the stage as the lights went down to help with scene changes.
Then I realised that’s what I’ve been doing with my life.
In January, I reached the conclusion that I can no longer be behind-the-scenes in my business or my life. I need to find the courage to step into the spotlight consistently and stop waiting in the wings.
So, on to what I’ve learned so far about visibility…
Being visible is uncomfortable
The main reason I struggle with being visible is because I cringe inwardly as I do it. I feel exposed, like a hermit crab without its shell. I think it stems from years of being bullied at school for just being myself.
It felt like I was too much and not enough all at once.
Along the way, I absorbed the comments and they became part of my inner voice. This critical voice makes me second guess decisions, tone down parts of myself, and keeps me small.
So what have I been doing about it?
Borrowing a trick from Brene Brown, I have a tiny post-it note with the names of the people whose opinions really matter to me. I originally did this a few years ago, but after rewatching Brene Brown’s talk where she said:
“If you’re not in the arena, also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
I reviewed and edited the list. There are just three names on there.
I’ve lowered my expectations of myself. One of my barriers to posting on Instagram stories is hair and make-up. I found myself in a cycle of only showing my face if it was a good hair and make-up day and not showing up on videos otherwise. I decided that for people to connect more with me, I have to show up as I am, however that looks on the day.
Being visible is intense
As a natural introvert, I find it difficult to be visible for prolonged periods. Before I walk into the arena, I have to prepare myself. Brene Brown discusses what happens to her before she walks up the steps and into the arena.
“I don’t know what you do down here, but I set up camp down here. I string up twinkle lights, I order take-out food, I live down here, just dreaming of the day that I come up.”
Here’s the thing: without vulnerability, you can't create.
In order to have the courage to step into the spotlight, away from my cosy camp behind the scenes, I’ve started to say to my inner critic:
“I see you, I hear you, but I’m going to show up and do this anyway.”
Being visible is exhilarating
Putting myself forward for opportunities like artisan markets and launching workshops has lit me up inside. Watching people come to my stall, chat, pick things up, put things down and watch them decide what to buy is a little taste of owning a bricks and mortar shop.
Creating and holding online workshops has allowed me to connect more deeply with you and use the mentoring and coaching skills from my teaching days in a new and liberating way.
How did I get myself to the point where I could do it?
Sending the emails, writing the ideas down, breaking the ideas into small steps to be done each day.
Taking the first steps, even when feeling deeply uncomfortable.
Being visible is habitual
In June, I went off the boil after struggling with a muscular injury that’s been excruciating. Now we’re into July and I’m starting working my way back to the momentum I had gained up to then.
I’ve found that like most things in life, showing up and being visible is a habit, so I’m consciously taking the steps to make it a habit again.
I’m writing the materials for my upcoming Autumn workshops The Key to Your Year: Bloom and Gather, which will launch in September, in time for the Autumn Equinox.
I’m also writing the sales pages for my forthcoming hygge mentoring services, as well as writing the materials for an upcoming course on hygge habits for busy people - Pockets of Cosy.
Being visible feels risky
Six months on, from choosing to be visible, it still feels risky showing up and being seen. The sudden death of my dad at 69 made me realise that it’s not as scary and dangerous as getting to the end of my life and thinking ‘What if I had shown up, taken risks and lived a life less ordinary?’
Called to be creative?
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