For most of my life and adult career, I hid away from attention. I am definitely an introvert and genuinely never believed I was good enough to be seen, heard or celebrated. As far as I was concerned, I never looked good enough, sounded good enough or was good enough and the people out there in the spotlight, the high achievers, they were made differently. Despite the fact I was confident enough to start a business at 22, the truth was the business only ever grew through word of mouth, I never chased anything. I lived my life reactively and remained guided by what everyone else thought I would be good at.
I don’t say all of this because I feel sorry for myself, I say all of this because now I have perspective and I realise I was living in a prison I created for myself. I now also know for a fact, there are many exceptionally talented individuals who find themselves in the same prison. They have a desire and yearning to put themselves out there but the fears, insecurities, and preoccupation with what ‘everyone’ else will think, is too overwhelming.
For me, the major turning point and prison break came after my best friend Judith died unexpectedly. Knowing she had so much life left inside her, things to do and places to go, left me heartbroken. She literally had plans for the future, flights booked and all, though it was never meant to be. I was immediately confronted with the gravity of the sentiment ‘life is short’.
Since that moment, I have run workshops around the country, spoken to team members at some of the world’s leading companies and written articles for major media outlets. I still have moments where I want to retreat back into the safety of that prison but now I feel responsible to all the other individuals I have convinced to put themselves out there. It would also be doing a disservice to Judith’s memory.
For each and every person, the definition of putting themselves out there is different. Not everyone wants to be on the cover of a magazine or featured on live television. For some, it may simply be speaking up and allowing their opinions to be heard. For others, it is writing a blog or starting a side hustle. Whatever it might be, for those who have been considering putting themselves out there and allowing themselves to be seen, heard and celebrated, here are 3 surprising benefits that you might find encouraging-
You challenge outdated assumptions about yourself
One of the fastest ways to find yourself is to put yourself out there. Suddenly you become accountable to what you say you represent. One of my clients went against all her fears and insecurities and wrote a book. The journey was treacherous as she faced all the visions of it being a complete failure and no-one reading it. In fact, there were several moments she wanted to pull the plug, apologise to the publisher and simply retreat. Fortunately, she didn’t and the transformation she experienced was sensational. She is honestly like a new person and I take real joy in seeing her on social media featured in the media and on stages for some of the biggest companies in Australia.
Your world will grow bigger
There is absolute truth in the idea that some of us live the same day for our entire adult life. We think we are growing and evolving yet we do the same thing, spend time with the same people and visit all the same places. We can go on the occasional holiday and logically know there are different people, places, and opportunities out there, but we never change. When you put yourself out there you open yourself up to meet new people and with that, your world becomes bigger. It reminds me of a quote by Simon Sinek- “Life is beautiful not because of the things we see or do. Life is beautiful because of the people we meet.”
Your levels of confidence, courage and conviction will expand
We are shaped by the stories we tell ourself. The longer we hold ourselves back from being seen and heard, the more we reinforce the story of not being good enough. The only way to change the story is by changing our actions. If you normally say no to opportunities that scare you, begin to say yes, trust in the fact you would not have been offered them if you weren’t capable of achieving and/or learning from them. If you normally hide in the shadows or deflect recognition, begin to say ‘thank you’ and accept others mean what they say. If you have something to say, say it, today we are blessed with social media platforms that enable us to use our voice to make a difference. The average adult spends 2 hours a day on social media, the question is, are we spending that time in a way that is of benefit to our life and livelihood?
When you play small, the whole world misses out on what you have to offer. Break free from your prison and come join me. It is not about seeking fame or self indulgently wanting attention, it is about leaving a positive mark on the world and making the most of our life, while we still have it.