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How Fear of Being Seen Keeps Us Small

For several years now, I’ve been supporting entrepreneurs to write and publish their books. Our goal to get them to bestseller status. Together, we’ve experienced excellent outcomes. It’s always thrilling to witness their success. I feel a little like a mother hen watching proudly over her brood. I helped them overcome their fear of being seen.

The problem is that I hid behind their successes. I was the proverbial Wizard of Oz working my magic from behind a computer screen. I remained hidden, which is my safe zone. I’ve spent most of my career (and life) hiding, doing meaningful work with credit going to others.

So when the first book in which I’ve been published launched this week, My Camino Walk #2, I felt a combination of terror and excitement. I wanted to hide and not share with you my chapter, my story, of walking a portion of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

I’m proud of my story in My Camino Walks #2. That doesn’t mean there’s no fear associated with sharing it. My ego whispers, “It’s only an anthology, not your own book.” True, but it’s a fantastic anthology of twenty stories, full of wisdom, challenge, and joy. It’s an inspiring read for anyone who has ever set a goal and worked through fear to achieve it. (Read more about my Camino experience.)

What publishing this book has done for me is elevate my self-confidence. In fact, I opened the box containing my draft novel—a box sealed for over two and a half years—and finally feel ready to tackle the last major revision and get it in front of an agent. Publishing this first book has reignited excitement to publish my next book—and the one after that!

Where are you hiding behind your computer in a way that doesn’t serve you or your clients? I encourage you to push through that fear and climb that next big mountain. Trust me, the view is amazing!

If you find that you’re hiding and want to unpack why I invite you to join me on a Journey to discovery and changing the words we use in our stories.

 

On Toe Socks, the Camino, and Being Stuck

Camino Backstory

For those of you who follow me regularly, it may come as no surprise that I’m focused personally on my upcoming pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. In September, I’m walking over 200 miles from St. John Pied de Port on the French/Spanish border to Burgos.

Last year, I trekked with five other women for about eighty miles along the Camino in rural France. The first day of our five-day hike I got injured. To add insult to that injury, I also got blisters. HUGE blisters. On my heels, the balls of my feet, and on my toes. Leave-scars-on-my-heels kind of blisters.

Considering that I’ve been a long-time hiker, I was shocked. It never entered my conscious mind that it was even possible for this to happen. But, alas, it did. I examined all the reasons: shoes, socks, inserts, knee issues. One-by-one, I resolved them. New shoes, check. Remove inserts, check. Eliminate dairy, check. The socks puzzled me as they had never before been an issue.

Getting the Answer

Photo credit: Deborah Kevin, 2018

Last summer when I had the chance to talk to a long-distance runner at a party, I asked him what he did to avoid blisters.

He said, “Toe socks.” And he went on to regale me with the miracle that is toe socks.

I bought one pair at REI and shoved them into a drawer where they sat for over six months. One hot morning, I decided that enough was enough and put them on. They not only felt weird, but they also looked ridiculous, like little gloves on stubby fingers.

Guess what? I loved them. They kept my toes from rubbing against one another and creating friction, which is how blisters happen. I bought a couple more pair and had been experimenting with them.

While the jury is still out on how they’ll perform on the Camino, one thing is for sure, I learned a valuable lesson already—and it also relates to business.

When You Ask, Listen to the Reply

I had a problem I wanted to solve. I asked an expert and received a solution. However, it was a solution I didn’t like or wasn’t open to trying. I did the half-assed thing by purchasing the recommended item but set it aside for traditional items—the same items which caused my problem to begin with. I was stuck in the belief that toe socks would be too uncomfortable to wear.

When I finally broke down after hearing a second friend rave about the same item, I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. (Truth be told, they were mildly uncomfortable for about thirty seconds.)

Getting Unstuck

That got me to thinking: how many times in my business have I gotten an answer to a question or problem I had, only to ignore the answer because I didn’t like it or integrating it felt uncomfortable. The answer: too many times to count. (Have you ever acted similarly?)

Why? I believe it all comes down to fear. Fear of change. Fear of being wrong. Fortunately, growing to understand how our ego works using fear to keep us “safe” has transformed the way I look at discomfort. My mantra is “Lean in and trust all will be well.” And the only way to do that is to put one foot in front of the other, taking one step at a time. Wearing toe socks, naturally!

If you’ve struggled with change, worried about others’ opinions, or side-stepped upleveling your life, you’re invited to a Masterclass: The Healing Power of Words being held on August 16 at 11:30 a.m. Register here to attend live or via a replay.