In the last Well Said Wednesday post, I shared the fairly ridiculous story about how fear of being seen got visceral for me earlier this year when I finally got new headshots done. If you missed it, here's the link to Part One.
When an undercurrent of fear of being seen hits us when we're at the keyboard, the results can stunt our business.
A blog post goes AWOL because you procrastinated your writing time away.
The email response to the potential client who reached out sounds like a bland, canned response with no glimmer of the energy and passion you bring to your work.
Your website hasn't been updated in…years?
Working on the ebook you've been meaning to write gets pushed to next week's To Do list, again.
If you nodded "yes" to any of these scenarios, I have three questions for you. I asked them in the original post and they are worth repeating here:
Did not taking those steps make you feel safe?
Did not taking those steps create the results you wanted?
Can you really feel "safe" if you're not attracting the right clients?
Safety and results. I have no scientific proof that those two concepts have never been seen in the same place at the same time (like Superman and Clark Kent), but it sure feels true.
You can't get closer to results when you maintain a death grip on safety.
When we're communicating about our businesses, safety's well-meaning but ultimately destructive alarms appear as the following questions. Notice how reasonable they appear:
- What will "people" think?"
- Will I get trolled?
- Will I make a fool of myself?
- Um, can I say that?
I've been a communications professional for decades. I know that these questions don't go away easily.
I also know they are not going to help you make an emotional connection with your ideal client. They are not going illuminate and make irresistible the great results people get from working with you. They aren't going to break you out of the pack of competitors. This is why:
- "People" are not your concern.
Your audience is not a faceless lump of humanity called "people." Nor is it a collection of individuals from various parts of your life non-business life, including your aunt, your neighbor, your old boss. You're not writing for them.
Your audience is the specific individuals, with very particular needs and desires that match up with what you offer. Those individuals are your concern.
- Well, sure, you might get trolled.
Because that's how people are online these days. Having a point of view and setting forth your beliefs means some people might disagree with you. That's their right. You can respectfully disagree with their disagreement. You can delete or block them if they're too disruptive.
The reality is the chance that you'll be trolled is minuscule in comparison to what you stand to gain by putting your message out there. Be mindful of how much time and energy you give to the worst case scenario. You are not here to be everything to everyone. And some things, like other people's reactions, are simply out of your control.
- Okay, you could make a fool of yourself, but it's not likely.
What would "making a fool of yourself" actually look like, anyway? Getting a fact wrong? That can be embarrassing, but as humans, we make mistakes. Fix it, move on, bask in your humanity.
Every word, phrase, example and metaphor should be in your business's unique language. If your unique language isn't foolish, how could you be? If you have a clear handle on your core messages and your intent for writing any given piece, it's nearly impossible to babble. Unlike trolls, this one is within your control.
- Yes, you can – and must – say that.
Our audiences want specificity. They want humanity. They want to know that we've been where they are. They want to know that writing about fear of being seen is grounded in some serious experience with fear of being seen in the form of a headshot freak out. It's the only way we keep our content from sliding into the void of bland, lifeless, generic corporate speak.
No one wants to work with bland. No one connects with lifeless. No one learns from generic.
Fear of being seen causes the best of us to do weird things that are incompatible with creating the businesses or coaching practices of our dreams. Recognize it, then take a stand against it.
Dig deep for your inner Eleanor Roosevelt who reminded us that we "must do the thing you think you cannot do." (That happens to be my second favorite quote about fear and risk. This week's Friday Inspiration on the 4.23 Facebook page will feature my first favorite quote about fear and risk.
How do you get past the fear of being seen and speak up for your business? Share it with me on the 4.23 Facebook page. Fair warning, though. You'll be seen.