“Fear of being seen.”
It sounds goofy and like the ultimate made-up problem, but it is an actual thing.
I know. I’ve been pummeled by it.
It doesn’t show up as “I will put this bag over my head because I don’t want to be seen,” of course. It slides in sideways and keeps you from doing things. Like putting off getting new head shots. For years. (Note the use of the plural.)
That was me even though I have a number of talented friends who are professional photographers. My excuses to not call them piled up wide and deep.
- I should lose 10 pounds first. (I didn’t.)
- Maybe I need some botox first. (I don’t.)
- How am I going to coordinate getting my hair and makeup done for the shoot?
(It’s called a phone.)
- What the heck should I wear? (Any of the dozens of things hanging in my closet.)
They were all decent questions to consider (except maybe the botox one) and completely answerable. But fear of being seen held me back and fused those questions into an insurmountable hurdle.
One day in a fit of boldness, I got out of my own way long enough to call friend, photographer and all-around fun and non-intimidated person Elizabeth McQuern. She had an open slot at the end of the week.
Sh*t. An ounce of bravery slipped away. I wasn’t prepared to dive in so quickly.
I concocted a perfectly plausible excuse to delay, telling Elizabeth I didn’t think I could make arrangements for hair and makeup that quickly (after all, if I was going to do headshots, do them right, right?) But Elizabeth had a solution for that, too. Her very talented hair/makeup person Briette Madrid was available to come by and fix me up pre-shoot on her way to another appointment nearby.
Excuses could no longer be made.
I was panicky and self-conscious on my way to Elizabeth’s, during the shoot, while scrolling through and selecting from among her many lovely shots. And when it came time to update my Facebook profile picture with my new photo, holy hell, I thought I might puke.
Yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds.
I was being ridiculous. It was an extreme manifestation of fear of being seen. It’s creeping up on me again as I write this because this whacked-out experience doesn’t exactly paint me in the sanest light.
But it’s real, it’s my story and there is at least one person out there who can relate at some level. And for that person, my words provide a service.
That service can’t be delivered if it – and the person offering it – can’t be seen.
Fear of being seen isn’t limited to physically being seen (live or in a picture). It also holds us back from writing about our businesses in meaningful and authentic ways – or at all.
Have you ever frittered away your writing time or watered down your voice to something more “acceptable?” Did it make you feel safer? Did it create the results you wanted? Can you really feel "safe" if you're not attracting the right clients?
Sure, It’s possible you’re procrastinating on copy because you’re lazy. But it’s far more likely that a hint of fear of being seen and exposing the unique, authentic language of your business is creeping up on you. The idea of speaking up, putting yourself and your ideas out there can be unnerving. But it doesn’t have to paralyze.
In the next Well Said Wednesday blog*, we’ll talk about the antidotes to those “reasonable” questions that are really just the henchmen of fear of being seen:
- What will “people” think?”
- Will I get trolled?
- Will I make a fool of myself?
- Um, can I say that?
Fear of being seen wants to keep you from being the writer your business needs you to be. It will not win.
*Well Said Wednesday blogs are posted here every other Wednesday.