Are you Afraid to Be Seen?
I was on a Zoom call last week with Alice (not her real name) talking about a fundraising event she’s hosting in October.
As she explained her vision for the day:
- Women gathering
- Panel conversation and/or mini workshops on leadership
- Handful of vendors
I noticed she had taken herself entirely out of the event. So I asked, “Alice, at what point, as the founder of this organization, will YOU speak?”
Alice froze, eyes wide as if she were in the middle of watching a horror movie.
A few moments later she said,
“I don’t want this day to be about me. I don’t want to talk just to talk.”
It’s Not About You
Have you ever been tasked with:
- Running a team or client meeting
- Presenting at a conference
- Organizing your own workshop or event
And thought “I don’t want this to be about me?”
If yes, great!
Your meeting, presentation or event ISN’T about you. It starts with you – your energy, your message, but at go time, it’s about the experience and connection you create for your listener.
This reminds me of the bunnies I noticed on a walk last week. They were sitting on the side of the walking path, ferociously gnawing on grass, when one-by-one, as I approached, they froze in place, stared at me and then ran into the brush. They didn’t show themselves again.
It’s easy to run and hide.
In my work I see this all the time (raises hand from experience):
Visionary, accomplished, thoughtful, driven professionals at all levels – business owner, executive, emerging leader, coach, consultant who, despite their success and credentials, for one reason or another feel uneasy putting themselves or their ideas into the world.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- Don’t like the spotlight
- Don’t want to look foolish
- Who wants to hear what I have to say?
- Who am I to say this?
- Don’t want it to be all about me
- Don’t want to bore people
- I’m better behind the scenes
Don’t get me wrong, these are all legitimate reasons NOT to speak.
But you can’t advocate for yourself or your genius when you’re hiding behind perfection, “I’m too busy”, collaborators who get all the credit, the need for more credentials, etc.
When it’s YOUR business, idea, vision – YOU are the one best qualified to talk about it. And you MUST talk about it if you want to create a community of others (clients, peers, employees, donors, etc) who eventually talk about your business, vision or idea on your behalf.
It’s time to come out of hiding
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it because it’s a driving force behind everything I do.
The world needs you and your ideas.
Not some made up or hidden version of you.
The world needs YOU. Your energy, your personality, your insight. Is it scary and vulnerable and risky? You bet.
Is it necessary to have freedom, purpose, joy, income and impact? Yes, again.
When you 1) have the support (check out upcoming events) and 2) commit to the WORK of getting at the heart of what you want to say AND how best to say it* you become the VEHICLE for the message.
It’s no longer about you. Instead it’s the impact your message has on others.
(*You don’t have to give a formal speech to get your message across. There are different ways to do it so it feels natural for you, engages your listener, AND gets the results you want. Curious to know more? Book a call and let’s chat.)
The Bottom Line
Look, it’s harmless when the bunny runs away as a stranger approaches. But if you run away when an opportunity to share your vision and ideas comes up, that can be harmful not only to your work but to your relationships and emotional well-being.
So, this fall, #shedtheformality, come out of hiding and dare to step boldly into your vision, business or ideas.
Your turn to talk to me:
- What’s your favorite wildlife to see on a walk?
- Do you have a vision, idea or cause you care deeply about?
Leave a comment or send me a note and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Like what you read?
Become an insider (it's free!) and get insights, inspiration and event invitations twice-monthly, delivered straight to your inbox.
Shed The Formality at one of our events.
Fun, relaxed, productive settings to build the skills and relationships you need to make great sh*t happen in your business.
About the blog
Insights & inspiration to make human interactions like speaking, networking, facilitating less awkward & boring and more natural & engaging.
Topics include presence, getting your message across, relationship building, staying poised under pressure, running a meeting, dealing with burnout and more.
Get our free newsletter so you never miss a post!