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Putting Yourself Out There: The Risk of Being Seen Versus Being Small

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

Have you ever put yourself out there? “On the line,” online? It’s probably one of the most terrifying prospects for me, and I am sure for most people. In some ways it’s comfortable to be silent, stay small and not risk judgment or possible rejection with your opinions and initiations. The truth is you are never going to please everyone and not everybody is going to like you or resonate with your message, so why not be you, expose yourself and take on risk more often?

I have a client who at the beginning of our sessions together really wanted to please everybody and thought he could attend to all needs, always. He did not like to feel “emotional distance” and he was deeply afraid of any real or perceived judgment or criticism. It took some time to “poke a hole” through the unrealistic expectation of Super Achiever and Pleaser, but he was coming around.

Fast-forward a year, the same client tells me one of his 2017 goals is to “put himself out there daily.” I was struck when he said that because I, too, was thinking the same thing; if not daily, then more often. His words reverberated through my body: it was visceral and powerful. It was also inspiring. Now, if my once Super Achiever/Pleaser client can put himself out there, by golly, I can too!

That’s when I decided to start writing a blog. You may think that is no big deal, but to me it was Herculean. I was the Mighty Hercules[1] running up the cliff carrying Daedalus over top my head about to toss him off. ‘Daedalus’ was my fear, doubt and negative self-talk: “Isn’t it obnoxious to put yourself out there consistently? Do you have the right to take up space? Why should your opinion be heard?” Blog writing was one thing, but then I started to become more active with posting on social media and then began to speak and do talks. This did not happen over night, it was a systematic stretch: painful at times but, I felt, necessary. My next task is to do video and Facebook Live. Talk about all my anxieties being tossed over a cliff! I am reminded of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Anyway, stay tuned for that!

By doing this, I am expanding. I don’t want to contract anymore. Yes, it takes guts, but courage is not the absence of fear -as I have read and heard- it is with it and through it.

What is something you can do today or this week that stretches you? How can you put yourself out there... whether being seen, heard or any other type of risk? Is it asking your boss for a promotion? Is it initiating and coordinating an event? Remember, choosing to be small is also a risk.


[1] The Mighty Hercules: A 60s cartoon that reran in succeeding decades

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