There are times when it feels hard to show up for your business. These moments are inevitable. Business and life will ebb and flow, and there will be times when it feels a lot harder to show up for your business.
This could be something happening externally, maybe some circumstances came up which are really creating a lot of stress for you. Or maybe, you feel like you’re in a rut and don’t feel motivation or energy to create content. Whatever it is, it happens, right?
But then we add on the pressure of business coaches and marketers saying that you need to be consistently showing up on social media. This as a result makes us feel crap about the whole situation. So, let’s talk about this.
I want to talk about this from a few different angles.
First, I want to talk about the fear of showing up. Maybe it’s because we’re worried what people will think. Or maybe some of you are more on the quiet and shy or introverted side, and this whole putting yourself on the internet thing is just super uncomfortable and you’re not used to that at all.
Second, I want to talk about not having the energy to show up the way you want. Whether it’s because something recently came up for you or maybe you’re just legitimately tired. That can make it hard for you to show up.
For many of us, putting ourselves on the internet and showing up online is not inherently comfortable or natural.
As someone who identifies as an introvert and dislikes being in large groups of strangers, I can relate to feeling exposed and vulnerable when creating content on platforms like Instagram, especially in the early stages of my journey when my speaking wasn’t as clear or articulate and I haven’t developed my unique thought leadership yet.
From the outside, it may not have seemed like a big deal, but from the inside, it felt really scary.
If you’re feeling fear, doubt, or anxiety about building your business online, I want you to know that I see you, I hear you, and I feel you. I felt the same way in the earlier phases of my business, and sometimes those feelings still come up today, even though it’s been 2.5 years since I started my online journey.
But why do we still choose to create content and share our ideas, even though it’s not natural or comfortable and for most of us, we have a lot of worries and fears about what people will think of us?
Why would we even put ourselves through it?
I only have one answer here.
Personally, the only reason why I still chose to show up even back in 2019 when I was awkward on video, I didn’t know whether my ideas were “good enough” or if anyone cares about what I had to say and my speaking skills were a lot weaker was because I wanted my story, message, and content to help someone.
If I wanted to improve my skills as a speaker, I could just do that offline and privately. I could go to a speaking coach and work with them without ever putting myself on Instagram. Right?
I didn’t show up with the intention of using this as a skills training or self-development vehicle. Similarly, I didn’t do this to gain likes and followers.
Back then, I was extremely embarrassed of how I looked and sounded and the way I delivered my sentences. My content creation skills, confidence, and the way I spoke wasn’t very good at the beginning. So I definitely was not showing up online in hopes of becoming Internet famous or getting likes because it was SO uncomfortable to even post my content, let alone leave it there and make sure I don’t delete it because I felt so cringey.
In all honesty, the only reason why I chose to show up a few years ago was because I really just wanted to create value for others. It didn’t matter who and it didn’t matter how long it took. I knew that I’ve been positively impacted by other content creators and coaches online, and I wanted to do the same but sharing from my own lived experiences and perspectives.
Fast forward to November 2021, there are still times when it’s hard to show up. However, I do think for different reasons though.
There are still moments where I’d wonder what people would think. There are still moments where I worry about whether my sentences sound clear and coherent enough. There are still moments where I judge my own appearance.
But these thoughts are not as prevalent for me anymore, because I’ve worked really hard on my mindset throughout the past few years.
There has been another set of circumstances that I don’t openly talk about. I don’t plan on sharing too many details about this situation for my own personal privacy reasons.
The only details I will share is that since 2017, I’ve gone through a series of harassment incidents where an ex-acquaintance would severely harass me on Instagram.
Since starting my business in 2019, it actually escalated the harassment, to the extent where this individual would make threats against me and harass me via my Instagram posts or replies to my stories or in the direct messages (DMs). This has been ongoing since 2017, although it has been a while since I last experienced such an incident.
Now, the only reason why I’m sharing this is because I really want you all to hear me when I say I understand. I really, really mean it when I say I get how it can feel if you’re finding it hard to show up online for your business.
Because even since day one of starting my business, this person has harassed me on my business Instagram account. Actually, even before I started my business, when I tried doing Youtube for a few months, on my very first video, this individual was already leaving a string of hateful comments there.
I’ve personally experienced a lot of fear and anxiety about putting myself on the Internet because I’ve seen first hand how it feels to be on the receiving end of hateful comments or harassment on the Internet.
Even to this day, I have a lot of fears and anxiety around my visibility on the internet because I never know if this individual will create new accounts to harass me again.
That’s why when I’m coaching my clients who are going through these types of thoughts or worries about showing up online, I simply cannot give blanket advice such as to just show up or screw what people think.
Rather, I understand that there are often so many layers to peel back.
I approach these conversations with a lot of empathy because:
1) I understand that putting ourselves on the Internet, for most of us, is not something we’re used to or comfortable with. It takes a lot to put content out there and
2) More often than not, there are legitimate past experiences that have really shaped our thoughts about being in the spotlight. Especially for my clients who are naturally more quiet or introverted. Actually, for anyone! I’m sure most of us have at some point been discouraged to stand up for ourselves or to speak up on things that we disagree with, or even just share our honest experiences because apparently that was “too much” or we were made to feel like we were seeking attention.
For most of us, we’ve been through past instances which have shaped a lot of our present day thoughts and beliefs about showing up or speaking up, which have therefore affected our fears and worries about putting ourselves out there online in order to build this business.
3) Some of you may have encountered actual experiences online which have created fears for you.
For either or all three of these possible scenarios, I get it. I really get it.
Wherever you currently stand in regards to showing up, if you’re finding it hard to show up because of fear, one thing that has helped me a lot is trusting that I’m doing this to help someone. That’s all I wanted to do.
I know that content has the power to help someone out there, particularly the right people. I deeply believe that I can create valuable content that can teach or provide a solution to a problem, or share experiences that can give hope and inspire others. It can also offer new perspectives or thought leadership on a topic.
I’m sure we’ve all consumed content that has touched us or helped us in some way.
That’s what I choose to believe about my own content and that’s why I’m really committed to creating the best content possible from my brain. Because I believe it can be of value to someone.
We can look at our content and us showing up online as a way to help others.
We’re not doing this to make ourselves feel better. Most of us probably have way more mind drama about our content than our content making us feel good about ourselves.
Rather than focusing on whether our content sounds clear enough, whether we look good on camera, or whether we sound eloquent or intelligent or seem like an expert, something that was helpful for me to think instead was: This can potentially help someone.
My honest thoughts, experiences and perspectives can potentially be of value to someone. When I leaned into that, that gave me the courage to show up more, especially in the beginning of my business where it felt like all eyes were on me and people would say unkind things about me.
And unfortunately, people are already saying or thinking not so nice things about us, even without us building a business or creating content online. It’s already happening, and we’re still here.
We’re still moving forward no matter what others are saying or thinking.
If that’s the case, is it worth not showing up because we’re scared of what people think, especially if they were already having thoughts about us even before we started showing up?
The thing is, you don’t have to put yourself out there the way other business coaches say you have to.
For example, I know a lot of coaches will strongly suggest you to do videos very regularly on social media. Instagram apparently made an announcement recently and said that they’re shifting towards being a video focused app. I’m not sure. Whatever people are saying you “should” be doing to show up for your business – always question that.
I have several clients who simply aren’t into it.
For example, one of my clients in the group coaching program recently made back more than the investment of our program but he doesn’t have an Instagram presence at all. He doesn’t post weekly content on any platform, for that matter.
Now, he tried, but it’s just not his thing. Instead, we leaned into his other strengths, which is relying on referrals and building trust with those already within his existing network.
He literally signed his first two high ticket clients ever and made back more than the investment of our program without doing weekly or consistent social media content.
In fact, I checked his Instagram just now, and in the past 4 months, he posted only 9 times on his Instagram feed and 2 or 3 times on his Instagram stories. Instagram content just isn’t for him, and that’s okay. He found other ways of showing up online that work for him, which is super important.
Please remember that you can choose the strategies you implement in your business. You have a choice.
You don’t have to do something just because some big business coach online says you should. This is something I discuss with my clients as well inside our programs.
If I had to make a guess, perhaps 85% of you who feel this way is because you’re tired. Like, you’re TIRED.
Whenever clients come to me and they tell me they don’t know why but it’s just so hard for them to show up.
More often than not, they’re literally not getting enough sleep because they’ve been stressed or drained from all their commitments and responsibilities outside of the business.
It’s usually not because they’re worried about showing up or they’re doubting how clear their messaging is. Usually, it’s because they’re legitimately just tired. If that’s the case, I tell them to go to sleep. Go rest. Go enjoy their life. Then come back to the business. Really. I’ve assigned this to many clients before.
I’ve actually had several clients who, after taking a few weeks to rest, saw their business bounce back and blew their minds.
One client experienced doubt and stress from her career after hitting a major milestone in her business, leading to anxiety about her finances and affecting her ability to create quality content and show up for her audience.
We intentionally scaled back her expectations for social media posting, focused on coaching her hard on her thoughts and mindset, and after two weeks of intentional rest and mindset work, she signed a new client for her high-ticket coaching program.
When we analyzed how this happened, we realized that once she took the time to rest and work on her money mindset in relation to her career and financial situation, she was able to rekindle her energy and spark when creating thought leadership content.
By rewiring her beliefs about financial security and how her business or career should support it, she was able to regain her confidence and clarity. So, for this client, taking a step back to work on her relationship with money, career, and taking time to rest, coupled with coaching her thoughts, resulted in more energy that fueled her content creation, which ultimately led to signing high ticket clients again.
For another client, she recently navigated a lot of big things, including a break up, a major career shift in a very demanding and competitive industry, preparing for exams required for her profession or industry, and building a business. It’s a lot to handle, and she was feeling exhausted.
For a month or so, her action plan was to simply rest, live her life, and take care of herself. We stripped away all the business to-do lists and expectations because that’s not what she needed right now. The only thing she did was document and share how she’s taking care of herself despite all the things on her plate.
She was leaning into more of a lifestyle approach to marketing. Surprisingly, she signed a lot of clients. It was incredible!
As a coach, we have to lead by example, and for this client, she showed people the importance of taking care of her wellbeing, which is the area she coaches in. When she led by example, her clients recognized that and it was so good to see.
Personally, I recently experienced a form of exhaustion. In the last two weeks of September 2021, my boyfriend visited me after we hadn’t seen each other for 19 months. We got to spend a solid 14 days together, and it really felt like the best two weeks of my life.
Given the context of the reunion, it really was the best 14 days of my life. When he left on September 26, 2021, it was really hard. As of today, November 20, 2021, it still feels really hard for a number of reasons.
But basically, I’ve been rethinking my priorities in life when it comes to being with my partner, my career and the PhD degree, my business, and so on. I’ve had to be brutally honest about which of these things is most important to me and how they fit into my life.
So for the past 1.5 months (almost 2 months now), my energy has really dipped, mostly due to emotional reasons. This has made it really hard to “show up” in my business.
This change in my energy level led to me doing way less video content in my business than before. Prior to my boyfriend’s visit, I was very proud of myself for being someone who was “consistent” on Instagram Stories, specifically with video content. I identified myself as someone who would show up no matter what, because I wanted to create value for my audience.
I still operate from that energy. I still show up because I believe what I have to share can help someone.
However, what has changed is my relationship with consistency.
Many business coaches will tell you that you need to be consistent on Instagram or any other platform, because people will forget about you. That you need to stay top of mind.
While this makes sense intellectually, I am not so sure about it practically.
What I’ve been doing instead is being extremely flexible with how I show up, and focusing more on the quality of my touch points with my audience rather than the quantity.
In the past two months, I only do video content on Instagram stories maybe twice a week at most. The other days, I’ll just post boomerangs or text-based content on Instagram stories. I might still post on my feed, but now it’s twice a week compared to three times a week.
Rather than letting my brain spiral into thoughts like “I’m not posting as frequently anymore, people will forget about my coaching programs,” I had to 1) give myself grace and 2) double down on the quality of each time I do show up.
This means that on days when I have the time and energy to create more thought leadership or long-form content, I make the most of it and give it my absolute best.
Then on other days where I need to be kind to my energy levels, I post other types of content that don’t require me to give intense amounts of value. For example, when I do have the energy, I write outlines or scripts for my podcast episodes or create video content for Instagram stories that showcase my thought leadership.
On other days, I focus on lifestyle or behind-the-scenes content, or I showcase social proof. Sometimes, I play around and don’t share anything related to the business. It’s a lot more lighthearted these days, and I think having this balance of value-packed thought leadership content versus more lifestyle or lighthearted content has been serving me well, especially for the season of life I’m in.
I strongly encourage you to take a break and focus on taking care of yourself.
Remember, you’re a human being first and foremost, before you’re an entrepreneur. If you don’t take care of your human needs, it’s difficult to show up for your business needs.
1) If you’re struggling to show up due to fear of judgment or what others might think, I encourage you to consider how your story, message, or work can help someone. While I understand that showing up may not come naturally or easily, if you’re building a business to help others, it’s essential to step up as a leader and share your ideas with people to add value to their lives.
2) If you’re finding it hard to show up because you’re literally tired, please prioritize taking care of yourself first. As a coach who cares about your own wellbeing, leading by example will have a positive impact on your marketing.
Clients want to work with coaches who value themselves and their lives. By taking care of yourself first, we can be an example of what’s possible for others.
But also, please rest. Go get some sleep.
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