You love what you do, it’s why you went into business for yourself. Connecting with your clients or customers is easy for you but marketing, oh marketing, that’s a whole other beast! And you really have a tough time putting yourself “out there” in the spotlight.
I get it, I felt like that for a very long time in my business. I would avoid doing video on social media, had lots of anxiety before consultation calls, and did barebones networking. I didn’t like calling much attention to myself because it felt uncomfortable and strange. And I’m an extroverted Empath and Highly Sensitive! I was just used to focusing on one-to-one services and not the business side of making things work as an entrepreneur.
A lot of people would say to me “feel the fear and do it anyway” or “you’re gonna be fine” and part of me believed it and another part didn’t. I just never felt like I was going to be fine.
If this is you as well, I’m going to walk you through why this happens for Empaths and Highly Sensitives and what we can do to overcome it so our businesses can grow.
The real reasons we hate the spotlight:
- We’ve been criticized our whole lives for being Sensitive so taking risks in business feels like an extra scoop of anxiety to our brains and nervous systems.
- Throughout our life we’ve developed habits to stay safe and the things we need to do to market our businesses are frequently outside our comfort zone, WAY outside.
- Our business usually feels like our baby, like we’re wearing our heart on our sleeve. Then, when it’s criticized, we feel personally attacked as a result.
Did any of those hit home?
It’s not because you can’t handle being in business, what’s happening is your Sensitive brain and nervous system are going into fight or flight. It’s a low-level fight or flight and you’ve adapted to feeling it so you might not even notice it a lot of the time. The thing is, staying here is getting in your way of business success, and you know it. So what can you do about it?
You can’t muscle through; you’ve tried that and you can do it for a while but then you are exhausted and have to take extra time to recover. This might look like pushing through a launch of a product or service, getting that new podcast off the ground, or hosting that workshop that you’ve had on your mind for a while. You do everything to get it out the door but when it’s over, you crash big time.
You can’t pretend you aren’t anxious because then it pops up at the most inconvenient times. Like you’re in the middle of a presentation and your voice gets shaky and you can’t make it stop. That’s the stuffed anxiety rearing its head whether you like it or not. You make it through the presentation, but it didn’t go well and you’re really upset.
What you need to do is this
Realize that being visible in your business requires self-acceptance and self-trust. There’s no quick fix here and no bulleted list I can give to create these things overnight. Accepting yourself as an Empath and/or Highly Sensitive Person is a process as is learning to trust yourself.
Here are some ways you can get started that will benefit your business right away:
- Realize that you and your work are separate. Sure, you’ve put a lot into your business, you’re probably doing something you love, but it’s not the sum totality of who you are as a person. Draw a line around your business and the work you do in it as a separate entity from you as a human being.
- Look at what your Empathic and Highly Sensitive traits bring to your life in positive ways, not just the challenges they pose. Appreciate how your unique vantage point makes you who you are and able to do the work you do.
- Remember that it’s possible that your opinion is the most important opinion in your business and about your business. When people say things about your work or business that feel critical or negative you have a choice about how to listen to that opinion. You can make it more important than your own opinion if you want but I suggest you at least knock other people’s opinions of your work down to at least position #3 or #4 and see how that feels for a while.
Choose just one of these at a time and put your focus on it for a while. You won’t regret taking it slow and truly implementing what I’m saying here. Plus, you really don’t want to make too many changes at once, that just might trigger more overwhelm rather than less and no one wants that!
If this resonated for you and you’d like some help implementing the ideas I listed above (+more) this is what I do with my private coaching clients every single day. We remove the roadblocks their Sensitivity has put in the path of business success. Finally, they are able to bring to life the entrepreneurial journey they had always envisioned in their minds.
Entrepreneur | Life Coach
Laurie Carlson is a life coach for Empaths and Highly Sensitive women who are tired of living in overwhelm and exhaustion - they are ready to have a vivacious life from their strengths. Laurie brings her over 30 years of experience as a Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker, and corporate training Project Manager to her work as a coach. She has a Bachelor's degree in Counseling and Social Work, a Master's degree in Organizational Development and Leadership, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
Laurie is an Emotional and Intuitive Empath and Highly Sensitive Person herself so she has a keen awareness of what the Sensitive life is like. She's been coaching for seven years and the sole focus of her practice is helping Empaths and HSPs find a path to fulfilled living. Laurie is also a mom to four Highly Sensitive almost grown kids which is the adventure of a lifetime. When she's not working, she likes to try any recipe that has lemon as the main ingredient, reads historical fiction and self-help books, and is learning all she can about her Danish ancestors' tradition of hygge (or 'coziness').
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