I haven’t been feeling great recently about my forthcoming book ‘Live Out Loud – A Masterclass In Being Yourself’. There’s been a low-level anxiety creeping around the borders of my consciousness and I haven’t wanted to engage with it. But what I do know is that uneasy feeling has a lot to do with the fact it’s being published towards the end of June.
Every time that information enters my thoughts, I feel mildly despondent, then that despondency is swiftly followed by another thought that tells me that I shouldn’t feel that way. Instead, I should feel excited. I should be looking forward to it but even the idea of the launch party, usually a reliable mood-booster fails to lift my spirits.
It’s not like these are new feelings to be honest. For as long as I can remember, even from when I was quite young, I’d often embark on a project or plan to do something and you know, at first, I’d really, really want to do it. I’d be full of enthusiasm as I thought about how I was going to do something and what it would look like … and then, then the energy would drop … the other thoughts would come in … which basically resulted in my not wanting to put myself out there, not risk failing, not risk being seen or judged.
Especially not risk the discomfort of having those fearful thoughts and feelings at all. Far better to step away, find something safer for me to hide behind, even look reasonably successful but deep down know that I wasn’t playing fully out, not fully showing up in the way I wanted.
Facing Up To Myself
Well, that has been my work in the past ten years since I finally decided to follow my heart and become a coach. It’s been really, really hard fighting and then accepting my demons, facing up to my fears, stepping fully in to the spotlight and all that means. And it’s why I wrote my book, to show people the value of being Out Loud about who you are, deep down, to claim your worth and your brilliance, your fears and your vulnerabilities (because those are an integral part of being Out Loud), to do the things you want to do, especially, especially when you’re frightened.
To step out from the shadows and be fully seen.
Sitting on my bed last week, looking out of the window in the early morning as the buses trundled past and the birds sang in the garden, I had a moment of exquisite clarity. I realised that the way I feel must be how others feel too when they want to step away from themselves back in to the shadows. I realised – and I’m embarrassed to admit this, despite all those strict rules about getting clear about your target audience, I had still, even at this late stage, been super UN-clear – my book is for frightened people.
Frightened people just like me who yearn to be Out Loud and seen for who they really are.
The thing is publishing my book isn’t just for you – it’s for me too. You see it would be so, so easy to fade away, put that book in to the drawer (I’ve got another one nestling there from long ago so it would have company), tell people I wasn’t ready to share it or it wasn’t good enough. It was the writing of it that was important, I’d say and that was all that mattered; not that you’d believe me but you might smile politely.
Because you know as well as I do, that would be a big lie and I just don’t want to lie anymore, it’s so exhausting pretending all the time, don’t you think?
Share Yourself, Share Your Work
So here’s the truth as I see it (you may have another truth and that’s ok too) – when we create something, we need to share it, not keep it to ourselves, all locked away in secret. When we share our work, that gives us the courage to carry on creating, to do more work, expand what we are capable of. And hopefully, hopefully it speaks to someone who needs to hear or see or touch or feel what we’ve created. That’s not going to happen if we play safe and take all those creations and hide them. And it’s certainly not going to happen if we hide our true, glorious natures from the world. Because then we just get smaller and smaller and less and less able to be Out Loud.
So I decided to do what I’ve learnt to do when I doubt myself – and this might help you too. I decided to be Out Loud. I told the world about my fears on social media of all places. Which let’s be honest, doesn’t feel that safe anymore but maybe, who knows, we can make it safe again.
Because you know what I found there?
I found love, support, encouragement. I found other people who feel exactly the way I feel and they told me that it helps to know others feel the same. All that outpouring of love and positivity triggered a tiny, tiny spark of excitement in me which in turn gave me the courage and conviction to keep going and ultimately press the publish button.
I’ll be sharing more of my journey towards being Out Loud with my book as the days progress towards ‘P Day’. My hope is that if you have a something you’d like to share with the world but feel frightened – join me on my journey which can be your journey too.
We can do this together.
We can all be Out Loud.
If you’d like to pre-order a copy of the book, please add your name below (I’ll be sharing details as soon as I know what they are), or leave a comment and share some of your thoughts about what it means for you to be Out Loud.