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How to find the courage to put yourself out there

”The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”

– BrenĂ© Brown

I’m not ready.

I have nothing to say.

Who will listen to me?

There are thousands of people who said it before.

I’m afraid of what people will say and think of me.

I need a website.

I’m not qualified enough to speak about this topic.

I didn’t figure out my niche yet, so I need to wait before showing up.

I need to learn more about business, blogging, social media, and marketing…

What if they laugh at me?

Everybody thinks that I’m weird.

How many times did you want to start that blog, or that business, or speak your mind openly, but you just couldn’t force yourself to do that? All these invasive thoughts, self-doubt, and fears come out and you just stay silent. Probably you even felt guilty and beat yourself up because I couldn’t find the courage to show up.

The truth is you don’t need a website, a logo, a niche, or somebody’s else permission when you start putting yourself out there. Before you do it, everything is just a theory. Believe that you will be able to figure everything out on your way, have some faith in your abilities, give yourself a credit, and practice self-compassion. I wish somebody has told me these things when I have just started my first business.

Start taking action today

Even if you have no idea where to start, start somewhere, start small, start slowly, but just don’t be trapped in your head thinking, instead take an action. The truth is that doing will get you much faster than thinking and researching.

When I started my first teaching business I wasted so much time doing trivial stuff. I was building my website, creating my logo, learning tech stuff, and creating endless to-do lists every single day. I wasn’t aware enough to see that I was so full of fear and self-doubt and that I kept pushing away the hardest things I actually needed to do like blogging, connecting to people, reaching to people, and putting myself out there. No wonder I didn’t have any results in business.

It’s natural for us as humans being afraid of judgement, rejection, and the unknown. By putting yourself out there you’re executing the act of courage every single day, you train your courage by being courageous. You don’t know what the outcomes of your actions will be, but you still find the courage and do it.

I believe that not only it will help to train your courage muscle, but it will help you to start creating a community for your future business. You will learn to embrace and own your story, and your authenticity, and let go of fear to be vulnerable. It will help you to find your unique voice and the way you would like to show up. Isn’t it amazing and so needed before you even figure out your niche, have a website, and know your ideal client?!

Always be aware

You’re not your thoughts, always remember them. It’s so easy to start identifying yourself with your thoughts and don’t see any difference. Your thoughts can make you feel miserable and make you suffer a lot if you let them.

The natural state of our brain is to worry and search for the next bad thing that is about to happen, it’s what helps us to survive as species. That’s why you need to learn to practice awareness. The next time a negative thought will arise, when you try to put yourself out there, just stop, be aware of it, notice how it feels in your body and still do what you wanted.

You can even start practising journaling, to help you to analyze your negative thoughts and look at them from the side. Putting everything on paper will help to empty your head.

Awareness is always the first step, until you’re aware of something how can you even hope to deal with it?

Start small

You don’t have to be present on all social media platforms altogether. You don’t need to be making videos, stories, writing blog posts, or posts for social media at the same time. In fact, doing all this at the same time is a very bad idea.

If you like me had a lot of prejudices and negative thoughts tied to social media like: “it’s not for me, people go there to just show up, it’s stupid, I don’t need that,” you need to start slowly. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed, and anxious, and expect great results too fast. It leads to nowhere, and you will quit very fast.

If you don’t feel very comfortable in front of the camera, I will tell you a secrete, nobody is. It’s a skill you learn, practice and improve over time.

I avoided showing my face for so long on social media. I resisted and did everything possible to avoid doing that. If you feel the same, start with some photos of yourself, and small captions, and try microblogging on different platforms. With time you can experiment, try filming short videos, short stories, and maybe blogging. It will help you to figure out what platforms you enjoy using, what platform works for you and what type of content you enjoy creating and what brings you more results.

Starting small will help you to touch the ground, to see what you enjoy, find your style, and will help to open up in front of your audience more.

Be gentle with yourself and practice self-compassion

How many times did you try to do something new that you were very passionate about and failed? Were you blaming yourself for that by thinking that you’re not good enough, that it was all your fault, that you should have never started doing that in the first place and that you were naive to think that you actually succeed?

It’s so easy to start blaming yourself, to bully yourself. But who wants to hang out with a bully? Always be aware when it happens! Bear in mind that failure doesn’t define you and your worth. Ask yourself does blaming yourself lead anywhere? Does it help you to move forward? And if the answer is no, move on.

Learn from your failure, and see it as a part of your experience, and a possibility to grow. Practice self-compassion, and speak to yourself as if you were speaking to your best friend. Know that whatever happens, you’re always enough.

Be yourself

Just be yourself, it sounds so easy, but in reality not an easy thing to do. If you want to show up as you’re, at first you should actually find out who you’re, what are your values, what is important to you, what brings you joy and so on.

It seemed to me that I knew who I was when I first decided to show up online for my business. Although, I can distinctly remember a cringing fear of not knowing what to say, the fear that nobody will listen, that everybody is going to judge me. It made me compare myself a lot to others, trying to imitate what everybody else was doing. It created a lot of anxiety, and prevented me from looking inside, and finding ways to express my authenticity in my own way. I didn’t permit myself to do that for a very long time.

If you feel the same, I would recommend doing some self-discovery work to help to find yourself. I believe that every person has value, that every person is unique and that it can be an enormous power if you take time to discover what are you standing for. It will change the way you show up, the way you connect with people, and the way you conduct your business.

Be honest and vulnerable

“The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

― Brené Brown,  Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Don’t try to be somebody you’re not when you show up online. People can sense that. Moreover, you will most likely attract the wrong people.

It’s always easier to be silent, don’t share what you really think. As it can be dangerous, some people might not like it. But you need to learn to be okay with that. Accept the fact that you’re not for everybody and it’s totally okay. You don’t need that, you don’t need to be liked by everybody to have a successful business.

It’s something that I still struggle with. Speaking my mind openly and being vulnerable makes me feel so damn uncomfortable that I want to run away and hide. Although, I’m practising doing that more because I understand that it’s exactly honesty and vulnerability that creates real, authentic connections between people.

If it’s hard for you at the moment, start small. Share some of your values, struggles, and thoughts with your audience, and be open about that. With practice, it will become easier and more natural.

Find your unique style, embrace your authenticity

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough. Authenticity demands Wholehearted living and loving—even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. Mindfully practising authenticity during our most soul-searching struggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives.”

― BrenĂ© Brown,  The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Realizing your authenticity and practising it daily will help you to stop comparing yourself to others. You will stop looking behind your shoulder to find out who is performing better than you. It will help you to stand out and feel proud of yourself.  Even if there are thousands of people in your industry who’re doing what you do, everybody is different, everybody has a unique style, and unique personality, and because of that, your clients will choose you.

It will change the way you show up, you will actually enjoy it and have fun. When you’re in a relaxed state, you are capable of producing extraordinary results. Anxiety and worry block your creativity, it paralyzes you and don’t give you the possibility to move forward and share your gift with the world.

Enjoy the process

It’s important to set goals and plan. It gives you a sense of direction and structures your work. But with time you can discover that achieving goals sometimes don’t bring you the joy and happiness you were hoping for. The moment you achieve it, your brain starts to search for something that isn’t okay and stress out about the next thing to do.

Most of your days consist of mundane work that you need to do. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s boring, and sometimes it feels like you don’t make any progress. That’s why it’s so important to find joy in simple everyday things, to enjoy what you’re doing every single day, and to celebrate small wins. Sometimes the best thing you can do is do the work because of work, creating art because of art, but not because somebody asked you to, or because you feel obliged to. Play, don’t treat everything too seriously.

I often hear that you need to do what clients want to do, create products that they need. You need to consider that, but it shouldn’t be your only motivation. I personally believe if you genuinely enjoy the process of your everyday work, you’re generous and passionate, and the things you create will be extraordinary.

Let go of perfectionism and be okay with imprefection

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”

― Brené Brown,  The Gifts of Imperfection

Accept the fact that you will probably suck, when you decide to show up for the first time, the second time and maybe ten times after that. Practice will make the biggest progress, you will learn by doing. You will build courage, skills, and self-confidence. You will feel so proud of yourself.

Nothing is perfect, nobody is perfect, the life is all about imperfection. Although we keep beating ourselves up because we show up imperfectly. In reality, it’s just a protective mechanism. It’s another way of preventing us from showing up, as we might be judged, hurt, and feel uncomfortable.

People don’t want to see perfection, everybody is pretty tired of that. We all know it’s just an illusion, a picture that was sold to us for such a long time. So show up as imperfect, share your struggles, and fears, and be real. Most likely a lot of people will be able to recognize themselves in you and connect with you on a much deeper level.

Will the fear go away?

By making small steps and showing up day after day, the fear might get weaker. Although, it will probably totally disappear as long as you try to stretch your comfort zone.

I believe that getting rid of fear is not the point here, the fear will always be there. You can still learn to show up with fear. You don’t try to resist or make it go away, but just recognize it, and take a decision to show up anyways.

Elizabeth Gilbert has an amazing quote about it:

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. (…) There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Final thoughts

Finding the courage to show up can be hard. It can make a lot of self-doubt, fears, anxiety come up. Although, you can find the courage to do that. Only by doing and showing up day by day step by step, you will be able to weaken your fears, find your voice, discover your authenticity, enjoy the process, and let go of perfectionism.

Be yourself, be honest, practice self-compassion and always believe that there is value in what you have to say.