What are you ashamed of?
What have you been hiding?
What are you afraid to show?
What are you afraid people will “find out” about you?
Whether you have a streamlined, successful business or you are just starting out, visibility is misunderstood and scary. It doesn’t matter how confident you are, and there may be old paradigms you’re living with such as shame that affects your business success with a negative impact. It doesn’t have to feel draining or be a negative experience.
I know what it feels like to be in your shoes. I do. It is not easy to sit in front of a screen and believe that someone out there wants to know who YOU are. I felt that no one wanted to know and understand who I was. I felt like a needle in a haystack. When I started following my mentors and people I looked up to online I admired their bravery. I began looking at their brands and the way they spoke through videos and posts or website content, and it was perfect! I thought if I could achieve a great look (which of course I can, I am an artist and designer) that people saw as credible I would then be taken seriously and within time, after lots of planning and strategizing….I would MAKE IT. But I fell flat on my face, and I couldn’t understand why! My brand was impeccable, my work spoke for itself, and everything I wrote was from my experience working in the publishing industry with major brands. It was right in place, and I worked so hard, but still, money was only trickling in, I was tired and unhappy. I felt like I always felt….far away from my actual goals and no one understood the real me. And deep down? I didn’t want anyone to know the true me because if they did, then they definitely would not pay for my creative services and would know that I was not the greatest thing since sliced bread as I touted!
Yep, you guessed it, and I was ashamed of who I was. I didn’t ever realize it either. I was too busy building my business and doing everything I could to make it possible for me to work from home and live the life of my dreams.
What were those dreams again?!
When I jumped into the online business and social media world, it was a rash decision. I knew the corporate life and spent my entire career building myself up to become a famous art director. That was my dream. (It’s a pretty good one too.) Well, it was until I found out the details from close friends who had already “made it”. Apparently “making it” as a great art director required that I work myself to the bone at the office. Then, all my ideas and effort were implemented by a team of creatives and marketing executives that turned everything I came up with into *mush* and then some asshole in corporate who could care less about me, my family and dream would take the credit.
I couldn’t believe the truth of it all. PLUS, they preferred male directors at most agencies. Whether they admit this or not, I was told by multiple art directors (male and female) that YES this was the case. And even if I were to manage all of this….most likely I would be paid less. And the cherry on top? I STILL would not be able to pay off my school loans for years…maybe ever.
This dream felt gross to me, and I was devastated but not entirely surprised. Most of my life had been filled with disappointment after miserable disappointment. I was exhausted and felt like quitting life. Everything I did wasn’t working out, and I felt ashamed. Who wouldn’t?
Life went on of course, but the weight of shame that my life wasn’t working out drove me to work harder and for less. I felt like I was always one day away from someone finding out that I was a fraud or something. I felt so much shame that I was in my thirties and my dreams were non-existent. Everything I had worked so hard for was a delusional dream. Now it took everything inside me to shower and get ready for a job where people asked me “Why are you here Alley? You seem better than this.” That comment made by someone on a day when I didn’t even know myself. I couldn’t even respond. I went into the bathroom and cried carefully enough that when I left no one would see the evidence of the tears.
My hidden shame was leading me down a road where I felt the desperate need to HIDE my real personality and dreams from everyone. WHY? Because it didn’t work out before. I was a failure so now I was punishing myself through odd jobs and freelancing. I couldn’t even really talk about it with my family because to me it seemed like if I brought up my shame and regret that they would agree with it. I was so afraid that they too thought of me as a total failure. So for years this seed of shame was planted by me and grew into a horrible but beautiful weed.
I have clients that create amazing 10k, 20k, and even 60k months but still, struggle with their true visibility, so it integrates seamlessly with their personal and professional lifestyle. That’s important because most of them have a fear that if they let their hair down and dance a little online that no one will take them seriously. When the reality is that if they were more visible, more approachable, more creative in the way they show up in their biz? Well, that 60k month would be a 100k month. It can always get better and early shaming from family, friends and former bosses can affect even our successful friends in a big way that they do not see because they’re too busy to open up that can of worms. It is easier to stay on the road they are on right?
Shame destroys your online dreams. I carried guilt and other bad habits and thought patterns, from my corporate years, into my online life and business that sabotaged and almost closed down Red Unicorn Media for good!
There are ways to spot shame:
- You don’t feel you’re interesting enough
- You think you will sound goofy on video
- People don’t really want to know you as a person
- You are already successful and don’t need more visibility
- You don’t like the way you look
- You don’t like the sound of your voice
- Business and personal life are separate
- You hate your picture taken
- Finding the right words takes many revisions before approving any writing
- It ‘s hard to put into words how you feel about your business
- You don’t tell your family a lot about your online business
- You do not think your creative
- Your pricing on services or products you offer is low
- You never show your face online
- You don’t like speaking in front of groups
- You don’t feel comfortable on video
- You find yourself taking too much time to prepare for writing or video for your company
- You think you are perfect with so much experience that you don’t make mistakes
- You find yourself thinking “no one really knows me.”
- Nothing ever seems good enough or at your standards
- It never seems you can get a person to complete a task as good as you
- You feel hopelessness or depression
- You avoid anything to do with any event or place deemed a failure
- Someone gave you negative feedback, and you’re taking it to heart
Often, leaders in business never admit to struggles with shame because it’s seen as weakness. A company that shows weakness will inevitably fail right? So in this race to demonstrate to the world that we are good enough we definitely do not have time to DEAL with the shame. It is much easier to move on from it, skip it, hide it, shove it way down and FORGET IT. The problem is, our brains are super computers and do not understand forgetting. Our brain wants to keep computing and because of this what we think is forgotten got computed or morphed into something else…and then something else again. So we may not really SEE that it is still with us every day because essentially it is in disguise! Yes, most of our shortcomings that we think are way in the past are in our everyday personality, and everyone SEES it or FEELS the energy from it. Because we do not fully recognize that this thing from the past is wearing a different hat and sunglasses we outwardly live in full view our issues of shame every single day without ever knowing it sometimes. Shame can and will affect numerous areas of your life, including business success, whether you recognize it or not.