Vision and Visibility: Conquering the Fear of Being Seen
"The power of visibility can never be underestimated." (Margaret Cho)
In the world of creativity, there exists a powerful force that can propel you to greatness. Visibility is the spotlight that turns your work from a whisper to a resounding echo in the hearts of those who witness it. Yet, a curious phenomenon can seriously hamper your progress: the fear of being seen.
Let me share a transformative insight that shattered my own glass wall. Years ago, in the heart of Chicago, I found myself in a monologue class at the Victory Gardens Theater under the brilliant coaching of Chicago icon Steven Ivcich. In that tiny theater, he bestowed upon us a simple yet profound mantra: "Before you step up onto the stage, invite them to watch."
His words reverberate still, unveiling the core paradox within each of us. We yearn to be seen while simultaneously dreading the exposure. This internal conflict is the first curtain that must rise before the external one ever does.
In the theater of our minds, two characters stand before the audience:
- The Fear of Being Judged: We humans are driven by an innate desire to express ourselves, to contribute, and to be loved. Yet, lurking in the shadows is our ego, whispering its demands for attention. These dueling aspects, with their roots in our childhood, are woven into the tapestry of our creative existence.
- The Need to Be Seen: We want to be seen and heard, to be "gotten." It's the craving for recognition, the pursuit of acknowledgment, and the quest to be understood. This yearning is harder to admit. And it too is tinged with fear of judgment, leaving us oscillating between embracing our uniqueness and fearing that we are not enough.
This dichotomy resonates with many, including myself.
My personal story paints both sides of this creative dichotomy. One day, I stand shakily on the side of fear, vulnerability, and uncertainty. On another, I crave recognition, resent the lack of spotlight, and spar with the shadow of jealousy. These sides, often in conflict, are both part of the landscape of the creative mind.
No matter which side of the fence you find yourself on, remember this: there are no guarantees.
But when your vision evolves beyond personal passion to a resolute mission, it takes root deep within you. It propels you to engage in the profound work, both within and without, to transform that dream into reality.
So, how can you quell your fear and step into the light?
The answer lies in acknowledging the complexity of this journey and pushing forward despite the uncertainty. I've encountered countless walls and contemplated quitting many times. Then I've remembered my deeper purpose. The fire that drives me, which fuels the mission I've undertaken, is bigger than me. It's a calling, an unshakable belief that anchors me through the ebb and flow of external validation.
Six steps to conquer the fear of visibility:
- Show Up: Invite the World In. Step onto the stage of your creative journey, inviting the world to witness your magic. Imagine the spotlight as an embrace for your inner thoughts and ideas, a personal invitation to share your passions openly. By choosing visibility, you illuminate your own path and inspire others, weaving a tapestry of inspiration that reaches far beyond you.
- Do Your Best Work: Embody Excellence. Your creative endeavors are messages to the world. Each word, brushstroke, or note carries a piece of your soul. Pursue excellence, infusing your heart into every creation. This dedication bridges your internal world with the universe, pushing the boundaries of your creative potential.
- Do Your Inner Work: Confront Your Fear. Like an actor delving into a character's psyche, introspection fuels your creative journey. Face fear, uncover its roots, and dismantle its barriers. Confronting fear frees your authentic creativity. This ongoing exploration shapes your evolution as a creator.
- Let Go of the Outcome: Create Beyond Validation. Creativity is a dance between your essence and the world. Release the need for approval as a measure of worth. Understand that your creations have value, irrespective of how they’re received. Letting go gives you freedom to create authentically, unburdened by others' opinions.
- Keep Believing: Trust in Yourself and Your Vision. Amid the inevitable doubts, unwavering belief will guide you. Trust the spark that ignited your journey as a beacon through uncertainty. This conviction propels you even through setbacks. Your belief testifies to your commitment and has the potential to resonate with those you want to reach.
- Remember: There are no guarantees. Embrace the journey of growth. What matters is your persistence through the journey. Each step contributes to your growth and impacts the lives of others. Your journey isn't just a destination; it's about your evolution. Embrace uncertainty, where your creativity thrives, and your impact deepens.
In the grand theater of life, your visibility matters. The fear of being seen is just a curtain that can be drawn back, revealing the brilliance within you. By stepping into your spotlight, doing the inner and outer work, and nurturing your belief in yourself and your vision, you transform that fear into a powerful force that propels you toward your creative destiny. Embrace your paradoxes, and let your creative light shine brightly, illuminating the hearts of those fortunate enough to witness your journey.
Your visibility has the power to touch lives, to spark inspiration, and to transform the world. So welcome the paradox, for within it lies your brilliance. Step onto the stage, invite them to watch, and let your light shine.
If you’d like to learn more about conquering the barriers that stand in the way of your creative potential, and realizing the vision you came to earth for, then check out my free live training, The Visionista’s Gateway. Learn more and register for the next available date.