Today we’re talking about three stories we tell ourselves that stop us from speaking up.
It’s so important to recognise these stories, because once you see them, you can do something about them.
It’s when we don’t see them that we get stuck with them, and the reality we unconsciously create limits our visibility.
Story number 1: I’ve got nothing to say
You may have had a thought like this when you’ve sat down to write a blog post or a chapter of the book you’re writing or a script for a video you’re trying to create. We see a blank page in front of us and suddenly the pressure to fill it overwhelms us. And because the words don’t flow within 5 seconds, we tell ourselves, ‘I’ve got nothing to say!’
When this happens to me, I notice the story, give myself some time to relax into it, and then remind myself that it’s ok to have nothing to say. The last thing I want is to start panicking.
So I just accept that nothing is here right now.
Then I breathe and ask myself, ‘So, if I did have something to say, what would it be?’
I find this to be a really useful trick. Instead of buying into the premise that you have nothing to say, if instead you ask yourself, ‘If I did have something to say, what would it be?’ you’ll shift the brain from focusing on absence to searching for content.
The brain loves being given a job like that!
The other way to counteract this thought arises when when other people are talking about subjects they’re passionate about. Take a moment to notice your response. If all you can think is, ‘Why aren’t they talking about veganism instead of Marie Kondo?’ Then veganism is your topic. That’s the one people are waiting to hear from you about/learn from you.
Story number 2: Everyone’s already saying it
Once we’re able to identify what our topic is, then the story that often comes up is ‘But everyone else is already talking about this! They’re already speaking about it. All the ways to talk about this topic have already been covered.’
Of course when you start focusing on a particular topic and think about speaking up about it, you’ll see people everywhere talking about it. (It’s like when you decide to buy a car. Once you decide on a certain brand, you’ll notice you see that same brand everywhere.)
Whatever you put your attention and focus to it, you’ll see more of it. So then the question naturally arises, ‘Well where’s the space for me?’
That’s when you want to dig deep and consider, ‘What’s my particular take on this topic? What do I bring to the picture that’s not already being brought? What do I think is missing from the conversation? When I look at the breadth of the conversation, is there a component of the topic where I wonder, ‘But what about this?”
Personally I do this with feminism. There are lots of feminists speaking out about gender issues and there are incredible women talking about all aspects of feminism. So it would be easy for me to assume there’s no need for another voice. But when I look at feminism and consider what’s missing or what I can bring to the table, I know I can talk about the relationship between our experience of systemic inequality in the world and internalised oppression. I know that understanding personal development and linking that with my background in social justice is a unique that I can bring to the world.
So here are some questions to ask yourself;
- Where are areas of your life that seem to be disconnected?
- How can I bring them together?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help to bring out your unique voice.
Story number 3: No one else is saying it – I must be wrong
The third story we tell ourselves is ‘But if this is my take and no one else has thought about it, what does that mean? Does it mean I’m wrong or that my idea isn’t worth anything?’
Let’s assume the topic you’re passionate about is gardening and your background is as a colour therapist. By combining your knowledge in these two areas, you’ve decided that the best type of garden to create to combat depression is a garden that contains lots of yellow.
If no one else is saying that, your first thought may be, ‘Will people think I’m crazy? No one else in the gardening community says that, should I?’
If you continue down that path, you may decide that the thing you want to say is too unique and different and thereby stop yourself from speaking up at all.
Here’s what’s important to know about that; you’re supposed to bring something unique and different to the world. We all are. That’s why we’re here. To enrich the colour and texture of life. To expand our understanding of what’s possible in this human realm.
Visibility blocks will use any excuse to stop you from speaking up and being judged.
Because that’s the ultimate fear; the fear of being judged, of being criticised, or of the industry you’re a part of either thinking you’re mad or ignoring your completely.
So when you get to this third story, the thing to consider is, ‘Who am I saying it for? What am I trying to get out of saying it? Am I doing this because I feel the pull or call to share this with the world? Or am I doing this for attention (i.e., my inner child saying ‘Mummy, Daddy, please pay attention to me’)?’
At The School of Visibility we’re interested in connecting you with the words you’re being drawn to speak. When you act from that place – and you’re not looking for acknowledgment for others – when you’re simply sharing because there’s something calling to be shared and you’re the vessel that’s being asked to share it, then you don’t worry so much about what the response is because there’s a whole commitment to oneself to voice what’s here to be voiced.
At any time you can choose to gift the world with the words you’re being drawn to speak. Then, those who need to hear it will hear it, and those who aren’t ready to hear it won’t hear it, and those that get triggered by your message will find themselves invited by their highest and best parts of themselves to heal some wounding that’s ready to be healed.
It’s not your business to consider how your gift to the world is received. It’s not your business because you can never anticipate that. You can create a gift with all good intentions and people can be triggered by it and you can never know that will happen. But if you’re clear on your intention and you’re responding to the pull and you’re in integrity in that, then that’s all you can do.
And that, my friend, is you making a positive contribution to the planet.
Need some more support you to help you speak up and be seen and heard in the world? Grab our free training here.