While last week I wanted to focus on those at risk of burnout, this week I want to talk to those who are feeling ready to be ‘seen’ in work and life and who want to ‘show up’.
In this episode I cover what I believe it means to ‘show up’, how we can become more comfortable doing this and how we can deal with the inevitable vulnerability hangover when we do.
You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or listen here:
LINKS AND FURTHER READING:
- What showing up really means (if you’d prefer a written version)
- Showing up as our whole selves
- Connecting with your audience
- How to cope with vulnerability hangovers (if you’d prefer a written version)
So last week I talked about avoiding burnout. But this week, I wanna talk to those who are feeling ready to be seen and want to quote-unquote “show up in the world.” We’ll talk about what showing up actually means, how we can get more comfortable doing it, and how we can deal with the inevitable vulnerability hangover when we do.
Hello everyone! Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you’re all doing okay. So today’s episode is all about this concept of showing up and being seen. And this idea I think is really, really prevalent in the online business world. But I actually think it relates to all of us, both inside and outside of work.
So I wanted to start by really nailing down what this idea of showing up means and I should start this by saying I think it means different things to different people. But I personally pick out a couple of different meanings.
The first of which is being brave and taking action when you’re scared. So, let’s face it, in life there are a lot of scary moments. And showing up, I believe, means facing that fear, taking it by the hand, and doing the scary thing anyway. Taking action is a really important way for us to learn and grow but it’s importance doesn’t make it any less terrifying. Because kind to yourself, acknowledging that it’ll be scary, and then continuing to put one foot in front of the other, is the epitome of showing up, in my eyes.
The second meaning I take is a little bit more literal and it’s this: being visible and putting yourself out there. So, actually showing up online or in person, showing your face, your voice, your personality to the world and expressing your opinions. Talking to the camera, posting pictures on Instagram, writing blogs, sending newsletters, and recording this podcast are all my ways of showing up in the world. This aspect is particularly important if you’re trying to grow a business or an audience for some reason, because connecting with your audience in this way helps them get to know you better and it can start to build a relationship.
Outside of business, though, I also think just being able to express yourself and be truly seen by those around you is imperative. But of course, all of this comes with its own set of fears. Worrying about what people think, comparing yourself to others, you know. All of that fun stuff.
So, how can we get more comfortable with being seen?
One exercise I’ve used with a coaching client is called ‘words to describe you.’ And what I recommend here is to write a list of words that you would use to describe yourself and then ask someone close to you, whether a partner, a family member, or a friend, and get them to do the same. Then take some time to look at those two lists and notice what the differences are. How do the words there make you feel?
I just find this exercise can help us put into black and white how we see ourselves and how others see us. It really gets us to challenge our thinking about this and to consider how it is we want to show up in the world.
And something I’ve personally found when it comes to this idea of being seen is that the more I do it, the easier it gets. You have to take really small steps to gently nudge the edge of your comfort zone. So for example, setting yourself a series of small challenges, such as sharing an opinion with your colleague, sharing a picture of yourself online, or, if showing your face feels like too much right now, starting by showing your hands or a silhouette even. Introducing yourself in an Instagram caption, sharing some of your beliefs. And if this feels good to you as well, working your way up to talking on Stories.
But between each challenge, the most important thing here is to give yourself time to rest and recharge. I think a lot of us can get a bit over excited when it comes to these things and we might push ourselves too hard and too fast. And this can make us want to give up altogether. So by treating yourself with compassion and understanding this, that if you do push yourself too hard too fast, you might give up, is really, really important here.
Now, what you share and how much you share is totally up to you. It’s a real fine line between pushing yourself to share something that may be a little bit personal but ultimately helpful or something that you know will connect with your audience and sharing something that’s just too raw. And my advice here would be to really trust your gut. And if something doesn’t feel right to share, if it feels just too raw for you right now, and if your self esteem rests on other people’s reactions, then put a pin in it and come back to it later. Sit on it, let it percolate, give it some distance. And then, once you’re feeling a little bit less attached to the reaction, feel free to share. You may still worry about what people will say, but hopefully you’ll be in a stronger position to know that you’ll be okay. There really are no medals out there for who can be the most vulnerable and you have to take care of yourself first.
With that all being said, if you have shared something that’s left you feeling vulnerable, you’re definitely not alone. I have 100% been there and the first time I shared about my anxiety on Instagram Stories, I remember panicking so much afterwards, even though, in hindsight, I’m glad I did it, the vulnerability hangover wasn’t great.
So if you are feeling like this, I have a few suggestions for you.
So the first thing I would suggest is walking away. It’s really common for us, if we’ve just been a bit vulnerable online, to keep checking back on it, check the stats, check the comments. I think it’s because we’re scared of what people will say, so we’re just looking out for it and we become really hypervigilant with things like that. And that just is not fun and it really can increase our anxiety. So instead, turn off your phone or your laptop and walk away.
The next thing I’d recommend is distracting yourself. So stop yourself from going over and over what you’ve done in your head with some distraction techniques. I remember this was something I really needed because I was constantly thinking about what I said and whether or not what I said was right, or whether or not I was going to upset anyone or, you know, it’s just – we’ve all been there, when we’ve had those those cycles of negative thoughts in our heads. So distract yourself. Make a phone call to someone. Go and cook a tasty meal. Play some games. Have a bath. It’s just about getting away from what you’re stressing out about.
Next thing I’d recommend is just telling yourself some positive statements. Remind yourself that you’re loved. Tell yourself that the people who truly know you and care for you will always have your back. Tell yourself it’s gonna be okay and argue with that inner critic of yours, who’s probably having a field day right now.
And lastly, get a little bit of support. It’s totally okay to freak out about being vulnerable and gather up your friends to listen to your worries. That’s what friendship is for, right? Supporting each other and holding hands through the scary bits.
So before we wrap up this episode, I really want to take a couple of minutes to talk about what it means to show up for ourselves. Because if we’re constantly showing up for other people, for our businesses, and not ourselves, we can burn out pretty quickly. And this is what I was really talking about in last week’s episode, so if you haven’t listened to that one yet, I definitely recommend catching up.
So to me, showing up for ourselves really means just looking after ourselves. Checking in with how we’re feeling, noting our energy levels, and understanding when we need to focus on ourselves and not our work or other people. This could mean doing some sort of mindset work, it could mean working on your self-care routine. It could also mean stepping away from certain aspects of your business for a while. It’s all about looking at the wider picture. I mean, for example, as I record this, there’s a lot happening in the wider picture right now, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. But ultimately, showing up for ourselves encourages us to seek support when we need it, ask the hard questions, and accept all of who we are. And I think that’s something we could all really benefit from right now.
So there we go. I really hope this episode was helpful. I’m really keen to hear your thoughts on this one – definitely reach out to me on Instagram. I’m @katbluejay. And I feel like I’ve covered a lot of information in here! But if you are keen to learn more about this and to feel more comfortable being visible, then my new coaching offering called Grow Confidence might be right for you. It’s a one-off, 90-minute call where we’ll go through some practical tips and tools to help you feel more confident in a specific area. And if you wanna find out more about this and my longer-term packages on self-belief and self-worth, take a look at my coaching page on bluejayofhappiness.com.
I’ll be back next week to talk about all things comparison, but until then, please take care of yourselves and I hope you have a lovely week!