I’ve been working with a healer for a couple of months to get my energetic house in order so that I can do my work (big picture work, not just my 9-5) with clarity and grace. At her instruction I’ve done some purging, some candle-lit journaling, some mantra chanting.
Last week’s advice was a bit unconventional.
Let me rephrase that: it would have been perfectly conventional advice, had it come from an SEO specialist or a business coach. But I was a bit surprised to hear that this week, my spirit guides are asking me to post more videos on social media.
And you know what? It’s the hardest spiritual challenge she has given me so far.
In spite of my full awareness of the practical (and apparently spiritual) importance of sharing video content, it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I can post a boomerang of my dancing feet or a video of other people at our coworking space, but am terrified of flipping the lens on myself. I can admit my ignorance in a meeting or bare my soul on a panel, but when it comes to video I think I have to be perfect. I’m touched and inspired by the vulnerable video shares of some of Shecosystem’s members – Barbara and Sam‘s instagram stories, for example – but when I think of doing it myself, here’s what floods in:
Negative personal associations
A tendency toward self-effacement
Pressure to be original
Any of these holding you back? Here are some of the hesitations that arise and how I’m flipping them.
1. Negative personal associations: Talking to a video triggers visceral memories of an ex who was a serial personal development vlogger, hijacking special moments by talking excitedly to his camera. The moment I flip that screen, I hear his Aussie accent shouting, “Live youah best loife!” The 5-easy-steps-to-success tone makes my skin crawl.
FLIP | Creating new associations: Is it really video that’s triggering? No. It’s the overblown, hyper-positive tone that so many adopt when they are speaking to perceived audiences of tens of thousands. But there are lots of others out there who vlog from the heart, with a full range of emotions in their videos. So instead of rejecting the entire medium, I ask myself
- Can I speak as if the video is just a mirror with only my own loving gaze on the other side?
- Can I speak as if the video is my journal, a record for me to flip back to when the only thing that helps is remembering my own resilience?
- Can I come to associate posting videos with MY voice, not (insert annoying video personality here)?
2. Self-effacement: My business is not about me – it’s about holding space for others to work and connect, so who cares about my voice? I don’t want this to be a cult of personality so I’d better stick to being the invisible hand behind the scenes rather than the star on the stage.
FLIP| Self-love: Today on the Becoming Wise podcast I heard Pico Iyer talking about the Icarus myth: that we deleted the part about Daedalus warning his son not to fly too low or the wings would become weighted down with moisture. We only see one side of hubris – flying too close to the sun – and forget that limiting our own ascent is equally destructive.
My business is about me. I brought it to life through my own creativity and my ability to connect with others. Reading reviews online, about half of my clients mention me by name – my smile, my vision, my commitment to service – and keeping myself out of the frame doesn’t help anyone.
Showing your face and speaking your voice do not equal stroking your ego, and erasing yourself only means that you are depriving others of this connection and this message.
3. Pressure to be Original: I’ll never be able to come up with original content. There’s enough of the same inspirational pap out there, why bother creating more useless internet noise.
FLIP | Honesty and Integrity are more powerful than importance or originality: First of all, the internet is a big place and by putting more content out there, I’m not displacing anyone’s “more important” or “more original” message. I know that what makes a text resonates for me is not necessarily its originality but often the opposite: it’s when I read something and think, “I know that is true in my heart of hearts! That’s just what I’ve been wanting to say!”
(Side-note: I’m laughing at myself as I think, “I should look up that thing by that famous person about why we don’t need to be original.” Please know that just as you don’t need to be “original” you also do not need to substantiate what is deeply true to you by quoting someone famous who said something similar).
Maybe you’re reading this and the Icarus thing made your feel the weight of your own waterlogged wings. Or maybe you were just scrolling around on Facebook procrastinating from recording your own video and this is exactly what you needed to hear. If I stop myself from recording because I think it needs to be original, I miss out on those small moments of connection.
4. Self-judgement: I sound like Ernie. My ‘s’ sometimes whistles. And what’s with that wrinkle between my eyebrows that makes me look worried all the time?
FLIP | Showing up authentically: This is the reason I started Shecosystem: a safe space for people – especially women – to show up in their work-lives without the social pressure to look perfect, hide their flaws and failures, and appear to be always on top of everything. If I can’t show my wrinkles on video, then say goodbye to #3 (Integrity!).
Practising the core values of my business with integrity means giving myself permission to show my imperfections in the same way I encourage others to. Instead of letting self-judgement make me feel ashamed and afraid, I let it be fuel for another courageous leap.
So here I go. Healing my energy body by pressing that red “record” button, going live with my imperfections, and sending an unoriginal but honest message to the people out there who just might hear an echo of their own soul in my voice.