I’ve always been one to stand in the shadows and avoid attention at all costs.
My whole life I was told that as you grow and mature a lot of things will change about you, but this is one thing that has never changed for me. As I started looking deeper into the Enneagram I’ve tried to be super honest with myself and the one question that kept coming up was, “Why do I play it low key?” I always told people that “I fly under the radar and don’t like attention”. Why did I do that? Maybe it’s because I wanted them to know I was still cool even if they didn’t see me. Or that I knew my “stuff” even if I didn’t speak up. But at the end of the day, I seriously want to know, why do I do that? Clearly I’ve spent a lot of time stewing over this and I have some personal thoughts that I feel I should share just in case this hits home for you.
Is it safer not to be seen or is it just a defensive mechanism?
-This is the question I started asking myself. Was I really using not being seen as a shield? What was I afraid of? A lot of people may look at this question and think, “That is ridiculous! Speak up woman!” and I can’t disagree with you. I should be speaking up more. It’s like this inner power that holds me back from saying what I want to. Sometimes it’s because I’m scared I won’t have a filter and nonsense will just come flying out. Other times it’s because I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other and choose not to say anything for fear of people thinking I’m wrong. But most of the time it’s because I don’t want what I have to say to upset anyone. When I started learning about my Enneagram number (where are my fellow type nines?), I realized that the inner power that was holding me back was actually a real thing. I swear it’s not an excuse, but a real observation in to who I am as a person.
And then I started thinking, is this why some people don’t grow as quickly on social media?
There, I said it! You can have all the pretty pictures, algorithms, schedules, know all the things but you still might not see any growth. But why?
My thinking on it is this, if you have a personality that will not talk about anything controversial for fear of causing backlash of any kind, you will grow slower. First let me say, I am that person, so I totally see you. It may seem like I don’t have a backbone, but I promise that I do. Challenge me one on one with anything I believe in and I will tell you exactly how I’m feeling. Ask me to do that publicly in a forum where anyone could come in and A) see me B) disagree with me and challenge me…… and I will most likely talk myself out of it.
But is this a problem? Yes, it totally can be if you’re trying to grow your business online and won’t show up for your followers in ways they can connect with you personally (uh hem). But, there is a solution if you’re ready to see change and show up differently. If you like where you’re at and are willing to see smaller growth, great, stay in your lane! But, if you’re trying to grow your business online and you aren’t seeing the growth and results you want, it might be time to put your big girl pants on!
So, how do you show up different especially when you’ve always been this way (and hey Melissa, didn’t you tell me that I’m perfect the way I am)? You totally are, but sometimes we need to challenge ourselves with a little change.
First off, change is hard. Really hard. But I didn’t say this was going to be easy. Second, I’ll say it again for those in the back, you are perfect the way you are at your core but you need to have room for growth and now’s your time.
Ok, so now what do I do to make a change?
-Write down some things that you are really interested in/passionate about. That can be fashion, coffee, golf, sewing, underwater basket weaving. I don’t care, write them down.
-Next, pick one of those topics and write about why you like it. Do this on Word or notes on your computer. Don’t publish it (yet) just write your little heart out and remember to say what you love about it (that’s the key).
-Read what you wrote. Don’t just skip over it and dismiss it as, “meh”. Read it like it was someone else writing it and make edits and changes to it. Don’t be afraid to start all over again if you have to, make it count.
-Publish what you wrote. On a blog, Facebook, Instagram, wherever you want. Copy and paste it and publish it with a photo. Actually hit the publish button and don’t freak out. You’ve got this.
-Pick one of two options 1) Dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to answering comments with heartfelt responses 2) Don’t look at any comments until a few hours later. But, once you do, you need to respond to people. If you need a trusted loved one to help you respond because it feels too personal that’s fine too. Just respond.
-Do this exercise at least 2x month. Once this becomes comfortable for you, consider upping it to 4x month. Then 6x month, until you start publishing things that matter to you a few times each week.
I’m gonna shoot it to you straight and tell you that it will feel like poop the first 3-5 times you do it. You’ll have a vulnerability hangover, you’ll probably consider deleting what you wrote (DON’T you dare) and you might even tell yourself that no one cares about what you published. A word of advice, don’t take the martyr card here. Hold your head high and repeat after me, “I am amazing, what I have to say matters.”
The more you do this, the easier it will be to start sharing the real you. It may take some time to get there, but that’s ok! Just keep showing up. That really is the number one piece of advice I can give anyone, just keep showing up.
And heck, someday, you may even decide that your opinions, voice, and presence matter. My prayer is that that “someday” is today.