Last summer I met a gorgeous blond surfer from New Zealand…you know the type – the hot bad boy. We shared a bottle of wine by the water on a sultry summer’s evening and swapped life stories. I mentioned that a few years ago I had bought a little cottage in the forest and lived there, alone with my cats (yeah, I just know I am going to end up as Aunty Best, the crazy spinster cat lady who smells of wee!) It was kind of a year out when I studied design and personal development, reflected on things, and basically had the space to get out of my mind-numbing 9-5, non-authentic lifestyle.
When I told Mr Surfer about that chapter in my life, he looked completely puzzled. Not about the cat thing (I think you can just tell by looking at me!)…but about the solitude thing. ‘But… you’re gorgeous…why hide yourself away?’… Swoooon…You can see why I got a major crush on this exciting and sexy creature, can’t you?
I reckon you can learn at least one thing from any person you meet, and what he said really resonated with me. Not everyone does a bonkers thing like move to a foreign country and buy a house in the middle of nowhere, but I come across so, so many people who are just, metaphorically speaking, hiding out in the woods. And I am certain I am not the only one who looks and them and their amazing talent and thinks ‘but you are gorgeous….why hide yourself away?’
So why do we hide ourselves away? Why, when we can get so much pleasure from working with what we are passionate about and help so many people at the same time, do we downplay ourselves and play it small? We may think we are doing everything to the book, but if things don’t go right – with our work/business – we blame other things (the economic climate, our past, other people, our health). Or maybe we don’t even get to that stage. Maybe we have spent years saying ‘when x happens….I will…’ or ‘if only I had x then I would …’
Hiding ourselves away is actually very energy draining. Part of us really wants to grow and shine, and by suppressing that need – by allowing things like fear to control us – we are using our creative energy in the wrong way by finding excuses, sabotaging our efforts, or finding external things to blame. And then we feel frustrated and unfulfilled and may even find other unhealthy ways to try to make ourselves feel better – alcohol, caffeine, drugs, junk food.
Indeed, fear is one of the main reasons we hide away and find excuses to not take our lives one step further. Our most common fears include:
• Rejection (if no one buys our service/product/ or reads our articles/blog)
• Looking foolish (if we don’t get it right straight away. Also we may fear that because we don’t know ‘everything’ about our area we will not seem an expert…but we will never know ‘everything’ anyway, so why worry!!)
• What other people will say or think (‘You? Run a business?’ ‘Who do you think you are?’ ‘Do you think you are better than us now?’ ‘It will never work’
• Investment in ourselves and our business (time, money, energy) – will it be a waste? Do I deserve it?
Part of the process of overcoming the barriers that prevent us from succeeding is to identify them. When we can actually label what it is that holds us back, it is much easier to address it. So instead of just not doing anything to work towards our goal (like procrastination, for example!), or coming up with excuses (‘I can’t because…’), if we can admit to ourselves ‘hmmm…actually I am just a little fearful that I will fail’ then we can work on practical and emotional things that can help overcome that precise fear.
1. Be honest and ask yourself ‘what exactly am I afraid of?’ Write down anything that comes to mind. Don’t judge what you think, you don’t have to tell anyone, and there is no right or wrong answer!
2. Now, ask yourself whether it is a reasonable fear and what you can do about it.
For example, if you are afraid that you don’t know enough to e.g. hold a talk or workshop or write an article, then have a think about the things that you do know, and think about the people that don’t know what you know rather than thinking about the people who know more than you! There will always be someone who knows more than you. But, on the other hand you will always know more than some other people, and it is those people who look to you for your knowledge and experience. Empower yourself by allowing yourself permission to admit it if you don’t know something. It’s OK if someone asks you something and you have to say ‘actually I would just prefer to double check and get back to you’.
3. Anytime you feel a twinge of resistance when working towards your goal, remind yourself of your list. Boot down that barrier, give a little smile, and say ‘ahh, it’s OK, I am feeling this because I am just a bit afraid….but you know what, my talent is greater than my fear and I am not going to let it hold me back because I am gorgeous and I refuse to hide myself away!’
So, what happened to Mr Blond? Did we end up happy ever after? Hmm, well I have kind of spoiled the ending by revealing my spinster, cat lady prediction…so you probably have guessed the ending! Shortly after we met, he surfed off into the sunset and moved to Australia. But as I said, those words stay with me today, and when I feel I am not living to my full potential and sharing what I have with the world, I say to myself. Miss Best, you are gorgeous…why hide yourself away?…
And guess what? You are gorgeous too….and if you are not taking the brave steps you need to take to refine yourself and launch your amazingness into the world, you are denying us of your beauty. So do try the above tip, and shine a little light onto those dusty corners of fear and doubt. Feel free to share your thought and experience with me, I love to hear about your lives!
Have an inspiring and lovely day!