“Come out! Come out! Wherever you are!” by Mary Lou Stark
Are you one of those people who live on the fringes of life? Do you fear having the spotlight turn your way yet secretly want to be known and respected as an expert in your field? Do you find yourself playing the childhood game of hide-and-seek in an unproductive way?
Let’s look at some of the ways people hide. Do you see yourself in any of them?
Physical appearance and behavior
- Sloppy appearance
o Super skinny or overweight – people overlook you no matter how much space you take up
o Poor clothing choices
- Always slouching whether you are sitting or standing
- StandIng with your weight on your back foot – give the appearance of being an observer rather than a participant
- Hugging the outside of the group or room
- Low energy – move slowly, respond slowly
- Full of self-talk about how ‘small’ you are
o “I’m not really an expert.”
o “I’m not far enough along the path to teach or share what I have learned with others.”
- Caught up in the Imposter Syndrome – “If I try to put myself out there people will discover the truth of my inadequacies.”
- Full of fears that you won’t be liked or understood
- Always follow the lead of others in conversation
- Never bring up your own interests or ideas – whether in a personal or business setting
- Never ‘blow your own horn’ – speak of your own accomplishments
- Don’t ask for the business
So, you recognize some of these characteristics in yourself. What next?
- First you have to decide if you really want to change. This is a basic, fundamental decision that we tend to skip over. If you act before making this decision, none of your changes will be permanent.
- I have found that by myself no change is permanent. I need to include God, the Divine, Divine Intelligence, my Higher Power, in the process to have the results I want.
- I need to ask for help and support, expecting to get it. I need to remind myself on a regular basis that it is safe to change, that I am loved, that the Divine wants the best for me.
- Then I look for help and support from the people around me. I can work with a health coach on weight management. I can ask a friend whose fashion sense I respect to help me update my wardrobe and makeup (or work with an image coach).
- I can spend time changing my self-talk, including some regular time in a spiritual practice to reinforce these changes.
- I can take a few moments before entering a group to identify one or two topics I could to bring into the conversation.
- I can confide in one or two close friends what I am working on and ask for their emotional support and active help in moving out of the wallflower mode I have been in.
Especially in the early stages you don’t want to alert a lot of people to what you are doing. Like learning any new skill there will be some stumbles along the way. At this point you are looking for congratulations as you succeed in making baby steps. You don’t need the discouragement that comes from people pointing out your failures.
One of the more difficult times to get past is when the responses you get are ‘yes, but.’ “Yes, you made some progress, but if you had only done it this way it would have been so much better.” You are looking for ‘yes, and.’ “Yes, you made a great first step and next time you can add some discussion of your latest special project.” Or “Yes, I love that color on you and next time you might add a scarf that brings it up closer to your face.”
It’s time for you to come out of the shadows and share yourself freely with others.
Everyone will benefit.
Latest posts by Mary Lou Stark (see all)
- Was Yours a “Normal” Family?
When I was growing up I thought TV programs like “Father Knows Best,” “Ozzie and Harriet,” and “Leave It to Beaver” were models of normal families. - August 15, 2017
- How to Use Your Words to Build Bridges Rather Than Fear
In today’s world speaking with respect seems to be disappearing. - July 15, 2017
- It Didn’t Really Happen
Not talking about it didn’t keep it from being real. Talking about it has made a difference in my ability to live with this reality. - June 15, 2017