Before you read on, you should know that this article is part of a series on developing a visibility strategy. This is chapter 3 in that series.
Thus far in the series we’ve considered your deeper why for creating a visibility strategy, as well as the resource commitment you’re willing to make when it comes to implementing your visibility strategy. Before we dive into the various visibility opportunities there are, and which suits you best, let’s address the elephant in many a room; visibility blocks.
Visibility blocks can show up at many different stages in the planning and implementation of a visibility strategy. So when we take our students through our visibility planning process in detail, we include block clearing at multiple stages.
For now, it’s important to take some time to review some of the stories you have about visibility that might be stopping you from going further with strategy development.
Stories we tell ourselves
The realm of visibility attracts an extraordinary level of story telling. It’s a #fakenews haven. And when I say #fakenews, I mean the stories you’re telling yourself about visibility. Let’s dive into a few of those groups.
I’M NOT ENOUGH
The ‘I’m not enough’ story manifests itself in multifarious ways. I’m not good enough. I’m not ready. My website isn’t perfect. I’m not expert enough. I’m not educated enough. I’m not articulate enough. I’m not attractive enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not confident enough.
Whatever your favourite ‘I’m not enough’ story is, the deeper truth is almost every human being on the planet is carrying around a ‘not enough’ story. Get to the heart of yours (you’ll locate it in your childhood experiences), heal the wounds, release the untruths you took on at that stage,1 and you’ll find your ‘not enough’ stores disappear not only in relation to visibility but in so many other aspects of business and life.
I DON’T NEED TO BE VISIBLE
Then there’s the group of stories around visibility not being your thing. I’ve heard more than one woman in the spiritual realm say ‘I’m just going to let the students find me’. You know what that is? A woman who has a lot of blocks to running a business. Visibility blocks for sure. Money blocks too, in all likelihood.
Yes, the law of attraction can support you in attracting people to you. But not taking action to let people know about your business is usually a strong indicator that you’re hiding out and possibly uncomfortable with running a business which means, you can use law of attraction until the cows come home but you’ll be blocking its effectiveness at every turn. Which leaves you in a very frustrating place.
Your behaviour tells you everything about how clear you are as a channel for visibility. If you’re taking action to be visible, then you can use law of attraction to really maximise your efforts and grow with ease. But if you’re hiding out and are unconsciously fearful of being seen, nothing can buck that energetic trend. Not even the universe itself.
Yep, you’re that powerful.
If you genuinely want to serve people, you’ll make it easy for them to find you. Think about your favourite shop. Aren’t you thrilled that they did everything they could to let you know they exist? You can choose to think that they’re trying to scam you out of your money by marketing to you. Or you can see that they’re actually doing you a service by notifying you of the products and services they offer. They’re acting as though you’re a powerful human being who has a choice about how she spends her money. They’re engaging with you on the assumption that in exercising that choice, you’ll want to know as much as possible about how and whether their service or product meets your needs. Are you doing the same for your community?
If you’re not, it’s time to seriously question whom your business is serving. You or the customer?
I’M AN INTROVERT
Another popular group of stories relates to being introverted. I too am an introvert so feel very strongly the desire to close down my social media accounts, buy a house in the countryside with lots of land and neighbours a good distance away, and completely disengage from society.
That’s exactly why – in this series on building a visibility strategy – we established your ‘why’ first of all. If I didn’t have a strong ‘why’ for the School of Visibility, I definitely wouldn’t have the anchor I need to show up everyday and continue building the business.
Because our why is focused on getting you and your work out into the world – and because I have a vision of the kind of world we can create when women’s voices are more prominent and our wisdom more influential – then I’m inspired to get up and support you. So if you read the article about establishing your visibility intention, but you didn’t then identify that for your business, jump back there now and read through that article again and be sure to establish your ‘why’ as soon as you can.
The issue of introversion is also why, in the next post in this series, we’ll talk about different styles of visibility. Many people assume visibility looks like being an extravert. It doesn’t. Think about your favourite author. A vast majority of authors are introverts because the job of writing a book is such a solitary exercise. (Extraverts have a lot more hurdles to overcome to write a book than introverts do.) Despite this fact, the books you love have all become sufficiently visible to make it to your bookshelf or bedside table.
The book has become visible.
Take a moment with that. I didn’t say, the author has become more visible. I said her book has become visible.
Visibility can be about you or it can be about your work. You don’t have to be the face of your business. You can be, but there are many more successful business brands than there are successful personal brands. More on this next time, but for now, suffice to say, if you hate being in front of a crowd or regularly engaging with people, then:
- make sure you’ve chosen your brand – business or personal – wisely, knowing that once you’ve grown your business to a certain level, if your brand is a business brand, then you’ll certainly have visibility tasks as a CEO, but you won’t need to be on socials everyday talking to people and selling ‘brand you’, and
- choose your visibility opportunities wisely. If you’re an introvert you’re not going to choose conferences, networking events, or speaking gigs as the highest priorities in your visibility strategy. They’re just too draining for you. (Although I personally love speaking gigs, you do have to leave the house, so there’s that.) You’re also going to think clearly about your social media strategy. Pinterest, for example, is a social platform where there’s virtually no engagement but which has the potential to draw plenty of traffic to your website. It’s an introvert’s dream! So is writing (as I’ve mentioned). Writing and sharing your words is a way of being visible in the world. Not everyone needs to do video or be engaging on socials all the time. Find the method of visibility that works for you.
MY LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE DIFFERENT
Next in our list of #fakenews stories is the ‘out of my control’ stories. They sound like this; I’m exhausted. I’m a mum with small kids. I don’t have time. I’m physically unwell. I have poor energy levels. I’m too busy. I don’t have time.
All of these things both feel true and are often objectively true in the moment. So what to do with them?
Be more specific when you talk about your circumstances. Become more refined in your appreciation of what’s actually happening.
‘I’m exhausted’ is a very general statement. I’m exhausted after a day with my kids is a more refined understanding of your situation. I’m exhausted on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because they’re the days I spend doing these tasks which I find draining, is also a more refined understanding of your circumstances.
Yes, your energy levels might be low. When I had chronic fatigue my energy levels were virtually non existent. But four years into the illness I’d learned exactly how much energy I had and how to manage it so I could still have some sort of a life. In other words, I’d established how much truth there was to the statement ‘I have no energy’. I’d refined my understanding of what ‘no energy’ meant to me. From there, I was able to see what I had to work with to build my business. Initially it was about 3 hours a day in 1 hour sessions. I’d work for an hour and then I’d sleep between 90 minutes and 3 hours. Then I’d work again for an hour and sleep again for as long as I needed.
This same strategy can be used in sooo many circumstances; as a mum, for people working a full time job and building a side gig, for people with chronic health issues, for people who travel a lot, for people who are homeschooling or caring for elderly parents and who don’t have a lot of spare time.
Start by seeing the parameters of your circumstances. What’s genuinely out of your control and where can you carve out some space for you?
Rather than making blanket statements about your circumstances, try making very specific statements and see what space opens up as a consequence.2
Join the club my friend! Overcommitment is one of the biggest problems of the 21st century. We live in a world which offers sooooo much choice and we’ve embraced that fully without simultaneously developing our discernment muscle.
In other words, we keep saying yes without also saying no.
I have a loose rule in my household that if I’m going to make a purchase of anything other than food and general household items we use all the time like washing powder, I need to first consider whether there’s anything in my home that I can repurpose, rather than buying something new. If not, then I try to identify something I no longer need and give it to a friend, donate it to charity, sell it, or otherwise remove it from the house (landfill is always my absolutely last resort for all items in my home).
What this does is keeps the overwhelm at bay. (I’ve now eliminated so much clutter from my home that my wardrobe is literally half empty. I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to look into my wardrobe in the mornings and see every item of clothing and not feel overwhelmed by choice.)
I take the same approach with commitments. Before I say yes to something, I ask myself, ‘What do I have to say no to in order to say yes to this?’ In other words, I bring the exchange to the forefront of my mind before I commit to it.
For people who have a chronic problem with saying ‘yes’ this is a critical habit to develop. So often we say yes for reasons that have nothing to do with whether we actually want to take up an offer. When we anchor our ‘yeses’ into an understanding of the cost to ourselves in saying yes, we make better choices. Choices that work well for us. We don’t overcommit and we don’t overwhelm ourselves.
We become discerning individuals.
Of course, considering the cost/benefit of saying yes is a habit. And building this habit doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why habit building is a core component of our visibility strategy planning process. And something I’ll speak more about later in the series.
The ‘I can’t’ stories sound like this; I can’t make live videos. I can’t write blog posts. I can’t do podcasting. I can’t do speaking gigs. I can’t show up each week. I can’t say that. I can’t stand for that. I can’t be seen doing that.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever heard – and it’s something parents have been saying to children for a long, long time – is when we say ‘can’t’, often what we mean is ‘won’t’.
Shifting from ‘can’t’ to ‘won’t’ can lead to a visibility breakthrough. As a child, I would often say ‘I can’t’ to my parents. Their response was invariably the same; ‘You can, but you’re choosing not to.’ (See Mum and Dad, I was paying attention!)
The beauty of having that same conversation with yourself, is that it pulls back a layer of untruth and reveals something you can actually work with.
Let’s assume your ‘can’t’ story is ‘I can’t do fb lives’. If you have a computer or a phone and you have a Facebook account (and as you know, they’re free, so there’s really no barrier to entry there) then you can do fb lives. Starting from the point of ‘I won’t do Facebook lives’ then gives you an excellent point of investigation. Rather than accepting at face value that the thing you say you want to do is an impossibility for you, you can instead ask yourself a very important question; ‘Why won’t I do Facebook lives?’ Now you’re all set to locate the deeper stories holding you back and to clear them out.
So those are our 6 #fakenews categories;
- I’m not enough
- I don’t need to be visible
- I’m an introvert
- My life circumstances are different
- I’m overcommitted
- I can’t.
Which resonates most strongly for you?
Keen to free yourself of some limiting beliefs?
The Visibility Challenge is happening soon.
It’s 4 days of exploring how visibility blocks work and what to do about them.
Register to join us here.
- For some people, I’ll say ‘heal the wounds and release the untruths’ and you’ll know exactly what to do. You’ll have your own modalities and techniques you use to do this. For others, you might appreciate facilitation with this. If that’s you, come and enrol as a student in the School and we’ll take you step by step through healing and clearing work, supporting you to dig deep and uncover all the blocks and wounds that are holding you back.
- In case you were wondering, this approach works when addressing issues of inequality and economic circumstances as much as it does for time related situations and health conditions. Your statement might be ‘As a woman, I don’t get chosen as much as men for speaking opportunities.’ Yes, that is a fact. There are vastly more men than women speaking on stages around the world and we need to keep working to change that. One of the best ways to do that is for more women to put themselves forward for speaking gigs. When you apply the ‘be specific’ approach to that statement you might find yourself saying, ‘In the banking and finance industry women are rarely chosen for speaking gigs. As a woman who wants to build a speaking career in the banking and finance industry I have a unique opportunity. I’m a rare bird. I’m something different they haven’t seen much before. I’m going to use that as my unique selling point when I pitch myself for gigs.’ Or you might decide the boys club is just too deeply entrenched and so turn your gaze to the forums which focus on women in business. With that in mind, and taking the adversity you encountered in trying to get speaking gigs in banking and finance, you might decide that one of your core topics when speaking to women might be ‘The Challenges of Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling and What to Do About It.’