fear of being seen

Fear of being seen is common in new solopreneurs

If you’re experiencing the fear of being seen or the fear of being visible in your business, you’re not alone. A lot of new heart-centered coaches, healers, and creatives find themselves in this place, especially when they’re new.

This fear hinders their ability to show up, put themselves out there, be their authentic self, share their work, and make an impact — which ironically, is what drove them to this work in the first place!

So if you struggle with the fear of being visible in your business, know that you can conquer it.

Read on to see how you can manage this fear and start showing up with courage and confidence.

What is the fear of being seen?

Of all the fears that can plague solopreneurs, the fear of being seen or being visible can be one of the most insidious, because it can stop you from showing up and growing your business.

Many times, when you’re gripped by this fear, what you’re really afraid of is not being liked, being rejected, or being seen as a failure. (Ever get that sinking feeling when no one likes your Instagram post? Now imagine it on a much larger scale!) 

This fear can stop you from starting your business venture and from marketing your business, which can hinder your ability to connect with clients, build an audience, and get known for what you do. 

And it can also limit your impact, because while you do wonderful, amazing work, if you can’t share it, no one will know they can hire you!

Visibility is a common fear of introverts, empaths, and HSPs

You might be picking up on a big inner conflict here: The heart-centered entrepreneurs with so much to offer can be paralyzed with fear of putting themselves out there.

The fear of being seen tends to affects certain types of personalities more than others, namely:

  • Introverts, who because of their very nature aren’t comfortable showing up in certain venues or traditional networking.
  • Empaths, who may shy away from showing up for fear of taking on the emotions of others and getting overwhelmed.
  • Highly sensitive people, who may feel it takes too much energy and therefore is too draining for them to show up and market authentically.

But even if you resonate with the qualities above, there are ways to conquer your fear of visibility, so you can show up confidently and effectively.

How the fear of being visible holds you back

The fear of being seen can hold you back from achieving your full potential, sharing your message with the world, and making the difference only you can make — in your business and beyond.

Here are just a few ways the fear of being visible holds you back:

1. The fear of being visible prevents you from showing up as your real, authentic self, which is important to attracting the best fit clients for you.

2. The fear of being seen doesn’t just make you nervous, it can stop you from showing up and being seen altogether, leaving opportunities on the table.

3. If you’re not putting yourself out there and you’re not being your true self, you’re missing business — and personal — connections that can positively impact you.

4. Only you are you and only you can shine the unique light that you have. By holding back, you’re not shining your light and you’re depriving yourself and the world from seeing your full potential

fear of being seen infographic

What fear of being seen looks and sounds like

When you fear being seen or being visible, you might:

  • Believe you will come off salesy or inauthentic
  • Worry that you won’t look or sound good enough 
  • Get in a cycle of self-doubt and imposter syndrome that leads to analysis paralysis

But just because these thoughts arise doesn’t mean they’re the truth. 

You have valuable work to share and more clients to serve, and you can make an impact just by showing up and being who you are.

It’s not about eradicating the fear, but managing it

There’s good news and bad news: The fear of visibility may never totally go away. It’s like a muscle, the more you strengthen your visibility by actually showing up and being willing to be seen, the more your confidence grows.

Remember that no matter the fear, it doesn’t have to hold you back from doing what you really love.

As Liz Gilbert so eloquently illustrated in Big Magic, put fear in the backseat. Here’s an excerpt:

10 ways to manage the fear of being seen in your business

Does the fear of being seen hold you back? If so, there’s hope for you. Here are 10 ways to manage your fears of visibility so that you can move forward.

1. Reassure yourself it’s safe to be seen.

Fear can trigger a primal instinct in us that makes us feel like our very livelihood is at risk. So often, the fear of visibility can bring up past trauma around being seen and heard from our childhoods. If that’s you, you will likely benefit from working with a trauma-informed business coach who can help you examine these past fears, so that you can heal them, and show up more powerfully in your business.

2. Take baby steps to being visible.

If you imagine going from hiding behind your laptop to doing a Facebook Live every day, you’re likely to freak out. And if you’re freaking out, it’s unlikely that you’ll follow through. Instead of leaping into visibility, identify one small baby step you can take today, like posting something about yourself on an Instagram story, sharing a personal photo, or applying to be a guest on a podcast with a smaller audience.

3. Remember that you’re in control of what you share.

Being visible doesn’t mean sharing 100% of yourself and your life, 100% of the time. No one is saying you need to tell the world about your divorce, your miscarriage, or the really hard time you went through when you lost your job. As Brene Brown says in Rising Strong, share from the scar, not the wound. If it’s something you’re in the middle of, you might not be ready to share. Instead, wait until you are healed or healing to talk about what you’ve gone through.

4. Learn to work with your fear of being visible.

Fear doesn’t go away when we avoid it. In fact, when we avoid it, we strengthen our resistance to it. Instead of avoiding or running from the fear, get curious about it. Be willing to examine it and learn from it.  When you can learn to notice the fear and listen to its concerns, you make the unconscious conscious, which is the first step to addressing the thoughts underlying your fears.

5. Believe in your vision more than your fear.

Many of us started our businesses to do what we love and make a positive impact in the lives of others. Reconnect to your why for starting your business. What change do you want to make in the world? In the lives of your client? What do you want to believe is possible in your business? And can you see how being visible can help you achieve what is possible? So often, we make our fears bigger than our dreams.

6. Remind yourself that you are valuable no matter what.

You are valuable just because you’re alive. You’re valuable whether or not someone criticizes or judges you. You’re valuable even if no one likes your post, listens to your Live, and even if no one signs up to be your client. The key is not to rely on your external results to give you validation.  When you practice detachment from external results in your business, you feel solid and secure, no matter what.

7. Trust that you can handle whatever arises. 

Many of our fears are unfounded and future-oriented. We imagine the worst-case scenario, while there are actually a ton of possible outcomes. Consider the upside and trust yourself to be able to manage whatever arises. When you strengthen that sense of self-trust, you know that you can navigate whatever comes your way.

8. Keep your perspective.

It’s common to feel paralyzed with fear about what others will think: whether they are complete strangers on Instagram or if they are your friends and family. It’s important to remember that every single person on this planet has their own sh*t going on, and they likely aren’t thinking about you as much as you think! And even if they are, so what? Will you let someone else’s opinion stand in your way of achieving what you want? It’s an act of self-care to prioritize yourself and your needs.

9. Use this fear of visibility as an opportunity to heal.

Many of us experience fear of being seen because we weren’t seen and heard as kids (either for cultural, societal or familial reasons). We learned that we had to be someone other than we are to survive in this world. Your first step to reclaiming your own power is to recognize that is no longer true for you. What you once adopted as a coping mechanism is no longer serving you. Allowing yourself to get visible now is part of the healing process.

10. Ask for support in your visibility efforts.

Doing the inner work is necessary to managing our fears, and it can be difficult. What makes this process easier is when you have a supportive, qualified coach by your side: one who can help you navigate the inner work to getting visible and create a strategy and plan that allows you to shine… so you can grow your business and make the positive impact you want to see in the world.

You can overcome the fear of being seen and show up powerfully

The fear of being seen and heard for who you truly are can hold you back. But it doesn’t have to. You can learn how to overcome the fear of being seen and step into your power, so you can show up as your authentic self. When you do, you reclaim the freedom and power that come from being who you truly are.

Want more support around the fear of being seen?

This free guide can help. Get “How to Manage the Fear of Being Seen” and learn 5 ways you can start conquering this fear today.