This post is a part of our “Let’s get visible” podcast series. Check out the other episodes in this series by listening to A Conversation About Visibility and 3 Ways To Boost The Visibility Of Others.
Is fear holding you back from showing up and being visible online?
If it is, I want to share a secret with you. When I started this podcast 4 years ago, it freaked me out to record on my own. I was perfectly fine doing interviews but the solo shows made me break out into a cold sweat.
Recording solo shows meant that I had to stand on my own expertise, offer my point of view, share my insights, opinions, and overall try to sound smart. No pressure!
All of that brought up feelings around imposter syndrome, fear of judgment, perfectionism, and left me feeling vulnerable. I was convinced that someone was going to burst my bubble and expose me as a fraud.
What if people hated my voice? What if I received hate emails because someone disagreed with something that I shared? What if people found out I don’t know everything?
Spoiler alert! None of those what-ifs have happened and I don’t know everything.
Instead, this podcast has become the main driver of people wanting to work with me and has supported the growth of my business in amazing ways. It’s also provided me the opportunity to interview people who I admire and might not have had the chance to talk with otherwise. That is the power of being visible online. I’ve used it to build my platform.
How To Overcome Your Fear Of Being Visible Online
Maybe you have similar fears that are holding you back from showing up fully in your business. You know that you need to be more visible but you can’t seem to overcome the fear.
Well, you’re in luck because today I’m going to share my 6 step process for overcoming your fears of being visible online. These actionable exercises will help you dig deep into what’s really holding you back and reframe the fears so that you feel confident.
Step 1: Identify the root of your fear
Most of our fears fall into one of these three buckets:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of inadequacy
- Fear of uncertainty
None of these are actual physical dangers. They’re all internal but they produce the same paralyzing effects of not being able to take the necessary action that will move you forward.
All three of those fears can be traced back to a single unconscious thought process. It’s the belief that you are not good enough.
On some level, you believe that you are not up to the task of handling what comes after failure, feeling inadequate or uncertain. You’ve convinced yourself that you can’t do hard things.
But guess what? You’ve lived through ALL of those things before. You are more than capable of handling them.
The fact that you’ve survived this long already is proof. You’re going to use your past experiences to dig into the root cause of your fear.
Grab a notebook and do some stream of consciousness writing. Let it pour out onto the page. Don’t edit your writing.
- What am I really afraid of? Failure, inadequacy, uncertainty?
- Where do those feelings stem from? Try to identify examples from your life where you felt those feelings.
- Am I holding on to feelings associated with my past failures?
- Am I comparing myself to people on the internet?
- Are my expectations realistic based on my abilities? If not, how can I scale back my expectations so that I can meet myself where I’m at currently?
This is a good exercise to work through because it helps you to externalize your fear. By seeing your fears and the associated feelings written on paper you are able to process them. Then, you can do something about them.
Step 2: Get real about what not being visible is costing you
Have you ever thought about what is actually at stake when you let fear run the show? We tend to believe that by shrinking ourselves and not taking up space, that no harm is being done, but that’s not true.
Here’s what not being visible online is costing you:
- The opportunity to attract your ideal clients.
- The opportunity to successfully market your products and services.
- The opportunity to charge premium prices for your work.
- The opportunity to collaborate with others who could increase your network and reach.
- The opportunity to shatter your revenue ceiling.
- The opportunity to make the impact that you want to make.
Sit with this list for a moment. Those are some big consequences.
We don’t always recognize the cost of our fears. Ultimately the price we pay can be greater and more disruptive than the feelings of fear. Shrinking yourself and minimizing your gifts because of fear has a much larger price tag attached to it than you imagined.
Visibility has a compounding effect. Those who are most visible don’t have to work as hard to expand their visibility. They already have the attention of their audience and network. This is why you see them mentioned in every conversation and opportunity related to their niche.
It takes more work and effort to achieve the same results when you aren’t well known. That’s why it’s important to work through your hang-ups and start working to increase your visibility sooner rather than later.
Think about it. What is your lack of visibility costing you?
Step 3: Write down the worst-case scenario
Our fears are great at playing up excuses, distorting the truth, and blowing our feelings out of proportion. Most of the time things are not as bad as we think they are or have made them out to be.
What excuses are holding you back from getting visible?? What would be the worst-case scenario of you increasing your visibility? I want you to write it all down.
For example, if you wanted to start a weekly live video series, what is the worst thing that could happen?
It would probably be that no one showed up to watch your live stream.
While that is possible, you’d live. You could go back to your planning board and make a plan for attracting viewers. Then, the next time you decided to go live you’d be armed with the knowledge of what didn’t work so that you wouldn’t repeat that mistake.
Taking it one step further, think of a few ways that you could minimize the likelihood of the worst-case scenario happening. You already have a list of possible negative outcomes. What things could you do to lessen the possibility of them actually happening?
Going back to our example of starting a live video series, you could promote the series ahead of time and suggest people sign up for notifications. You could also ask a few of your personal cheerleaders to show up for moral support the first few times.
When looked at from this perspective the worst case isn’t that bad, it’s actually manageable. If you’re feeling extra saucy, try writing a list of your best-case scenarios. What would the best-case scenario of showing up in your business look like?
Step 4: Lean on your strengths
Stack the deck in your favor by figuring out which ways you like to show up and engage. There are many ways to boost your visibility online and you don’t need to participate in all of them.
Where do you feel that you shine? What are you already confident doing? Find ways to lean on your strengths.
If you’re great at writing… pitch yourself for guest writing opportunities on larger platforms.
If you’re great at speaking… pitch yourself to speak at events (both live and virtual) or on podcasts.
If you’re great at teaching… collaborate with your creative neighbors on webinars and summits.
If you’re great on video… get into regular live streaming or launch a YouTube channel.
Leveraging what you’re already naturally good at will lessen the fear. Build your plans to increase your visibility around those strengths.
Step 5: Practice showing up afraid
Fun fact: You don’t have to completely eliminate your fear to take action.
You can do it afraid. And yes! It still counts. Taking action builds your confidence. This makes it possible for you to do things that were once hard or scary.
Think about the first time you shared a piece of content online. You probably imagined all types of negative outcomes. But once you got the hang of creating and sharing content, you eventually felt confident enough to do more. After a while, it didn’t bother you to create because you knew that you could handle it.
Don’t worry about feeling afraid. It’s the practice that counts, not how you feel. Do it anyway.
Step 6: Give yourself grace
You had big plans to show up and show out online this week and it didn’t quite happen. That’s ok! You are deserving of grace (even if you are a raging perfectionist).
Running a business online is one giant science experiment and every failure is a chance to rewrite your hypothesis. If you fail once, try again. If you fail twice, try again. With each failure, you gain knowledge and experience which helps you improve for future attempts. Give yourself some grace.
Bottom line: you can’t afford to hide if you want to build a successful creative business. You have to have courage and you have to be visible. What you want most for your business is truly on the other side of your fears. So be bold friend.
Share your thoughts with me – Are you letting your fears of being visible online hold you back? What could really happen in your creative business if you allowed yourself to show up fully?
I needed this!
I’m very confident one on one with clients, and my safe space is as a doer behind the scenes. Questions about my voice/engagement, making weird faces when I talk are all dancing in my brain. I am currently making a plan to start and where I want to be.