As I continue to grow my business, one of the challenges I often come across with clients, and indeed myself, is visibility – being seen! Really allowing my voice to come to the fore and expressing my views.
So many of us struggle with visibility, and many of the creative entrepreneurs I work with talk about their issues around being seen and becoming more visible. Some of the issues are unique to us and our own upbringings, others are because of how we have been conditioned – especially as women.
I remember as a child, whenever I went to my granny’s house with my mother, we were not allowed to talk! It was “adults’ time”. I know the pendulum has shifted somewhat, but visibility still is an issue for many people who want to bring forth their own unique strengths, talents and passions. It’s my view that we owe it to ourselves and the world to get past these issues so we can bring more of ourselves to the world.
What are some of the issues behind being visible?
Fear of being judged
If we allow ourselves to be seen, often there is a worry about what people will think. Some people may not agree with us and with what we say, or what we express about ourselves and our business to the world. They may decide that they don’t like us, they may think we are crazy, full of our own importance or perhaps we may even fear more serious consequences from them.
Fear of messing up
Some fear that if they become more visible, they will mess up, This is largely a confidence issue. That if they get seen, they may fall short or may not deliver as they said they would. Often this can be traced back to when we were younger and at school. We may have been shamed or scolded for getting something “wrong” or doing something badly. It can take time and of course awareness to shake off and move on from these early messages we took on !
Another issue is that we may feel a loss of control with becoming more visible – we can’t manage what other people think of us, but some people fear that by becoming more visible, we will have less control of how we are perceived. This is true, perhaps, but I often say to clients that what other people think about us is their business and to remember that people’s views and opinions – perhaps like our own – change frequently anyhow!
When I hear clients talk about fear of “getting themselves out there”, I tend to ask why and also where is it that they are imagining. It may not be that frightening once its narrowed down a little to what exactly they mean and where! It could mean getting business cards made or creating a website or going on national media – but get clear an where you mean by “getting yourself out there”
Some tips I would suggest are:
Start from where you are. You don’t need to go anywhere you are not ready for. What is your next step? Is it business cards, a website, doing ads? Everything happens step by step, and we just need to start!
And do this in a way, that feels safe. So if you want to give a talk – maybe try for a smaller group first of all. Make sure the topic is one you are familiar with, and prepare well beforehand. If it’s visibility for your business, only use social media in a way that feels okay for you. Keeping ourselves safe is good – but remember that we also can then move out of our comfort zone. Growth, as I see it, is a balance between staying safe and then also stretching ourselves out of our comfort zone, but we need support to do this.
Get support. As with most things in life, we need to support ourselves, first and foremost. We need to remind ourselves why we are doing something, what our experience is and the skills and strengths we are actually bringing. Seek outside support – this could be friends, partners or allies you have in your work – or get a mentor. Find someone who can help you to see your own abilities and strengths and can give you the support you need to carve your path and grow your visibility in a safe way.
See the support you already have. When I first started as a trainer and speaker, I would feel nervous because I couldn’t see the audience, and so I didn’t feel any response and had no idea how the talk was actually going. As I have gotten more experience, I realised I need to be able to see the audience, observe their response and so get support in that way … I need to know that I am not talking to a vacuum.
Visibility gets easier with practice – just do it! Start in a way that feels safe for you and grow from there.
Seek to understand your issue with Visibility . Sometimes it helps to try to “get to the bottom “of what exactly your unique issue is. In some of the female entrepreneur groups I ran, I found that when women talked about visibility, there were many different reasons and issues behind their difficulty. The support of the group always helped, and also to identify this was actually an issue for them. And we learnt that visibility is always an INSIDE JOB -in that it is a mind set that we can look at and seek to address!
So get clear on what it is you want to achieve and who do you want to be seen by.
Remember: small steps or bites are always the best!
Visibility is just one of the issues we deal with in our Creative Entrepreneurs ongoing programs and groups-get in touch if you’d like to join our next group. (Still some spaces in the next wed group -more info here)