I was six years old the first time I stepped onto a stage.
Our 4-H group was performing a Christmas play for nursing homes in our area. I was Chris the Christmas Tree, the star of the show. I’d memorized all my lines, rehearsed for weeks, and felt excited and proud to be a part of this production.
My body was buzzing as we waited backstage for our first performance. The lights went dark, and I boldly strolled to center stage in my green leotards and hand-made cardboard Christmas tree costume. But when the lights flicked on and I looked out across the crowd staring back at me, the blood drained from my body, my throat closed up and I froze. My frozen silence lasted long enough for my fellow 4-Hers to start whispering loudly to me backstage. Finally, I ran off the stage and my understudy had to step in. I felt defeated, embarrassed, and like I’d let everyone down.
As a world-changing wellness entrepreneur, speaking is a significant part of our work. You have a burning desire to share that work, change lives and expand your impact, yet may also dread stepping into the public spotlight.
Without support and guidance through this dilemma, usually, one of two things happens.
We hide out or we push through.
When it comes to carrying out your mission or movement, hiding out won’t get you to where you envision. Pushing through may seem like the logical answer. You may overcome your fear of being visible when you push through, especially when you achieve what you set out to do. But when things don’t go the way you want or expect, pushing through can reinforce a survival pattern and belief that being seen is dangerous.
Until I figured that out with the support of coaches and colleagues along the way, I was stuck running back and forth on the path of hiding out and powering through, often triggering trauma responses in the process.
As you work on greater visibility, consider what might be possible when you give your feelings a voice. What wisdom might it share with you?
What if powering through your fear is actually traumatizing and harming your business, not helping it?
Pushing through resistance may be the path of most force. It may also be the path of most trauma. Your alarm bells, red flags, and negative thoughts have a purpose. Bypassing your feelings and beating yourself up for “playing small” won’t support you in breaking through and expanding your growing edge of visibility.
Treating your resistance as information is a much kinder, loving way of holding yourself accountable. Not every move in your business has to feel big, bold, and terrifying. Sometimes the wisest choice is to stop, listen and ask what the inner resistance is about for you.
The answers are already inside you and you have what it takes to discern when it’s time to take a bold leap in spite of the fear, and when it’s time to pause so you can explore deeper.
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