Getting Comfortable with Visibility
Regardless of industry, offering, product or service, I’m yet to find an authentic businessperson that hasn’t, at some point, struggled with visibility. And the key word here is “authentic”. It takes guts to be authentic in your brand and brand message; to put yourself out there and bravely accept what comes.
But how important is authenticity, and consequently, visibility in building a business?
Ok, here’s the hard pill to swallow; your personal brand and your business brand are intrinsically linked, whether you like it or not. What you portray personally will naturally manifest itself in your business and its brand – and if you want to have an authentic business that attracts the right customers and supports the right people, you have to be your authentic self.
Think about dating; let’s say you create an online dating profile that says you love hardcore rock and partying till the wee hours because you think it makes you seem ‘cooler’ than the truth (which is you really like nothing more than homemade vegan grub, a little classical music and an early night). You’re more than likely to attract people who resonate with your ‘mask’; the version of yourself you’ve created rather than who you truly are. The result? Some really crappy dates.
It’s exactly the same in business; as scary as it can be to put yourself out there (and, believe me, I know it can be really scary), you must be a reflection of your brand. Your morals, values and beliefs need to be naturally infused into your work through your brand vision, your brand mission statement, your brand messaging and your brand tone. They need to be the bridge between you and your customer – otherwise, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’re not going to attract what’s right for you and your business.
Your brand is a beacon for all of the people that you’re going to help and support. If you’re wearing masks in business, hiding aspects of yourself, covering the shadow parts that you don’t want anybody to see, how will those people find you? Since people buy from people (and they essentially buy from you when they buy from your business), the customers you don’t want will continue to be drawn to you – and the ones you do want will run a mile.
Now don’t worry; I’m not saying you need to share everything with your target audience. They don’t need to know what you ate for dinner last night or what that argument with your partner was about – but what they do need is to believe in you and what you stand for. They need to believe that what you’re telling them is the truth. Consumers are savvy as hell – and they can see right through a facade. This is why brand awareness is key.
Ok, so visibility and authenticity is clearly important in business – but what if you have issues with exactly that?
I get it. I SO get it. This is hard work. If you’re like any of my clients, I’m guessing you’re totally supportive of being open and vulnerable and will champion and celebrate those that do it – but when it comes to doing it yourself? Eek. You know you should be doing it, but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying.
These fears often stem from experiences when we’re a lot younger; at a primal level, when we’re born, we need attention to survive; we need to cry, scream and show our vulnerability in order to be cared for, fed and watered. So it makes sense that, as children, we’ll have found it entirely natural, instinctual even, to speak our truth. However, we may have found that doing exactly that left us rejected, mocked or cast aside – and those early experiences can hugely shape our feelings and beliefs around visibility. We begin to develop limiting beliefs that tell us it’s better and safer to blend in and not truly be seen. We may project this through our words, tone of voice, actions and our body language. Even our energetic vibration and attitude can change in a bid to keep us small and – in our minds at least – safe. Add to this the societal and cultural stigma of vulnerability, and it’s clear to see why being our true selves can be so difficult.
As always, the key to overcoming these difficulties lies in working on our limiting beliefs, becoming familiar with aspect work, and (the hardest part, I know) feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I find a good way to combat this fear (or at least reduce it) is to return to your “why”. Why are you building your business? Why do you want to help and support yourself, your family, your customers? This reason, this driver to keep going even when it’s difficult, combined with doing the necessary healing work on ourselves can help us smash through our visibility issues, creating a business (and life) that’s truly authentic.