The super short version of this post:

  • Being visible and putting stuff out there = terrifying. But also appealing.
  • And all sorts of biggifiers yell at us to hurry up and get big. Gah! Stressful!!!
  • However, there’s a Very Useful Piece of Truth hiding under that pressure.
  • We can take that part and toss the rest.
  • Things that help sneak around the scary so you can uh, have your safety and eat it too.
  • Some stuff about popcorn machines and mustaches and pirate monkeys.

This is on my mind a lot and now more because — excitement! — Camp Biggification is coming!

Being visible and putting stuff out there = terrifying.

So … you resist bringing your thing and your you-ness into the world because it’s freaking scary. Me too. Sometimes.

Totally legitimate.

And then we go more into resistance because there is so much pressure to do it already.

When our desire for the safety of invisibility runs smack into our desire to be seen by the people we want to connect with, we get stuckified.

There’s a way to sneak around this problem, but it can take time to get there.

Partly because of the biggifiers.

The biggifiers. They do a lot of yelling.

You know how it is. It’s supposed to be “motivational”, although it usually doesn’t motivate me to anything other than feeling crappy.

get out there what’s wrong with you be bigger be louder get over yourself why waste your life on fear sign up for my special asskicking service come on you can do it what’s stopping you the time is now go go go go

Of course, for some people this is useful.

And if it happens to work for you, rock on. People vary. So if this is what “lifts your luggage”, as Dan Savage would have us say, that’s great.

Some of us can’t get very far with this school of thought, though, because it doesn’t acknowledge the scary, hard and painful bits involved in stepping out into the sun.

And because it doesn’t recognize that feeling safe is a legitimate value.

Safety is important.

It just is.

You can’t function correctly if you don’t feel safe. You can’t learn, or grow, or be totally you.

And you do not need to be dragged kicking and screaming from your comfort zone. You’re allowed to expand your place of safety instead of forcing yourself to leave it.

You’re allowed to want to feel safe. And there are ways to build in safety and protection to everything you do.

At the same time…

There’s a beautiful, important truth to what the biggifiers are yelling.

And we need that truth too.

Here it is.

As I’ve said in the Blogging Therapy series:

There is generosity in allowing yourself to be seen.

You do not have to be seen by everyone. You’re allowed to find your own way — and your own safety mechanisms (from invisibility cloaks to invisibility hacks).

But it’s vital that you stop hiding from your right people. Because they need you.

When you take that risk and agree to let your right people see you, support shows up.

Becoming more visible to the people who need you the most is what helps you grow.

And that’s the way to nourish a business or a writing career or whatever it is: with safety, love, passion and fun.

And now I’m going to break my own rule and say something motivational.

Actually I’ll just repeat something I said here in ohmygod, February 2008:

You have spent your life accumulating the ideas, information and experience that have made you who you are. You are not serving anyone by keeping yourself small.

Of course it’s scary. Of course you are allowed to have the fear. Just remember: keeping yourself small is not helping anyone; it’s only struggling with your path.

There are people in this world who need exactly what you have. They need your gifts as those gifts are right now. And they are actively looking for you.

They are wondering where on earth the person is who can give them the thing that you have to give. It’s not fair to them that you’re in hiding.

You don’t need to shout from the rooftops, you don’t need to accost anyone or sell to anyone. All you need to do is put up a light so that the people who are looking for you can be drawn to you.

You don’t need to shine your light for everyone. You just agree to shine for the right people. But if you don’t turn on the light, the people who need you can’t find you.

It’s not about claiming that you’re better than anyone else. It’s just about letting your light have a place too.


Sneaking into visibility

So. We have to find ways to connect the good parts of visibility to the good parts of invisibility — in a non-scary, mindfully biggifying kind of way.

That means the shining your light part and the being as YOU as you can stand part.

While still getting to keep the I am allowed to feel safe and supported and do things at my own pace part.

Here are the four best sneak-arounds that I know of:

1. Finding your Right People.

Because when you only have to show yourself to them, everything gets safer and easier.

Right People and getting them to come to you — we’ll spend an entire day of Camp Biggification on this. This is what I call the art of hard-to-get marketing. Fun stuff.

2. Accessing safety.

Finding comfortable, unlikely ways to put your stuff into the world, without having to be seen by people who don’t need to see you. We’re devoting the second day to that.

3. Getting out of isolation.

As Barbara says, “isolation is the dreamkiller”.

And as Hiro says, “isolation perpetuates the fear”.

So part of mindful biggification is learning both how to connect to your internal resources and to create an external support network of people who believe in you but won’t make you feel bad when you get stuck.*

Once you have this you can run around in your pajamas yelling things to yourself like ACTIVATE THE NETWORK and it’s awesome.

* Yes! This is what we’re doing the LAST day of Camp Biggification. Without pajamas. Unless you want to wear pajamas, which is completely fine by me.

4. And making it fun.

I so wish you could see my notebook of scribblings for planning Camp Biggification. I’d post pictures but my writing is unintelligible.

It’s just full of craziness, wackiness, wall-talking, meditations and silliness. And excitement for the first thing we’re doing at the Playground.

My notebook says things like this:

Okay. We need a great big circus tent! Of safety!

Hard hats. Metaphorical popcorn machine. Zap the cape.

The announcer needs a handlebar mustache. The ushers should definitely be pirate monkeys. In striped vests! Eating things on sticks.

Eeeeeeeeee! I love this!

Anyway. When you figure out how to have fun with the process of creating (at the same time as you’re making room for the scary and the hard), weird, magical things happen.

What I wish for you.

A spark of possibility.

Room to breathe, grow, experiment, change things at your own pace.

And a sense of what it feels like when visibility helps you feel more safe rather than less so.

It’s a ridiculously counter-intuitive concept, so that’s why I’m wishing you the sensation of it — in the hope that the rest will grow from there.

(And if you can make it to Camp Biggification, it would be a joy to have you there playing with us.)

Comment zen for today.

Mindful biggification is challenging.

And this being seen / not being seen stuff can be super trigger-ey.

So we tread gently with our stuff and make room for people to have their own experience. Big love to all the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and anyone else who winds up here through the magic of the internet.

The Fluent Self