I have a confession. This is a little hard for me to say, so bear with me….
I’ve been feeling a little bit jealous of Samantha lately.
There.. I said it. *Sigh*
In case you don’t already know. Samantha Parker is my biz partner — the pink-haired, other half of Badassery Magazine. I noticed it this weekend when I was reading through Facebook and saw that Samantha was going to be part of a podcast Q+A along with some other really awesome podcasters and Facebook live pros. When I saw it, I thought.. Oh cool! Badassery is going to get a lot of visibility from this. Then I thought.. Why wasn’t I included? I’m part of the podcast, too. I’m the cohost! Then I put my big girl panties on and thought… It’s all cool. It’s awesome that we are getting that kind of exposure. No worries. I’m cool with it.
Jealousy!?! Really, Kathy. I seriously thought I was over feeling this way — that I’d conquered that asshole voice in my head that made me feel “less than” someone else. But now that I’m writing this, I think it isn’t really jealousy that I was feeling. I was feeling left out and excluded. I was feeling invisible. Suddenly, I felt like I’d flashed back to 1992 high school debate class where I’d sit on the sidelines watching the “cool” kids having fun and winning trophies. The only reason I was included in the activities was by default of being in the same class.
My whole life I’ve struggled with feeling like I didn’t belong. In most social situations, I felt out of place, like an outsider or a third wheel. I started spending more time by myself and limited my social interaction to closer friends and family. It was the only way I felt inclusion, comfort and belonging. I learned to become very comfortable with myself, which is all fine and dandy if you want to be alone and invisible for your whole life, but when you are building a business, invisibility is the last thing you want.
In order to change the way I feel, I come to grips with four undeniable truths of being included.
#1 — Invisibility is a choice
I was 28 years old when I had one of the greatest epiphanies of all time. I realized that all of the feelings I had, all of the situations I’ve been in, all the experiences I’ve had in my life didn’t happen out of circumstance, they happened because of my choices.
I chose to feel like an outsider because I acted like an outsider.
I chose to feel like I didn’t belong because I acted like I didn’t belong.
I chose to be invisible because I acted like I was invisible.
And now, at 41, I’m find myself choosing to be invisible again. I frequently find better things to do than write that post, push the GO LIVE button, comment with something meaningful on someone’s post.. all because it’s easier.
It’s easier to sit in the background and watch what’s happening because it takes effort to be interesting. It’s safer to stay quiet because when you speak up, you risk someone not liking what you have to say.
But when I’m choose to stay where it is easy and safe, I’m missing out on all of the things I’m longing for as I’m sitting on the sidelines. I won’t start like I’m part of the group until I start acting like I’m part of the group.
#2 — People only know what you tell them
When you think about it, there is a reason people immediately think of Samantha when they hear Badassery Magazine. It is because she works her ass off to show up every day and talk about it. Seriously. She talks about it everywhere.
I, on the other hand, have stayed comfortably behind the scenes and focused on other things, like client work, projects, systems, and the like. I’m still working my ass off, but out of public view.
No one sees all the dragging, dropping, cropping and adjusting that goes into putting the magazine out each month. They only see the issue magically appear on the first of the month. No one is watching while I my fingers fly fast and furious over my keyboard as I answer emails and Slack messages. They only know who I am and what I’m capable of if I tell them about it.
The burden of someone knowing about you falls on YOU. No one will seek you out to learn about you unless you’ve already been out there, introducing yourself, sharing and showing your expertise. Why should they? They don’t know who you are. They don’t what you do. They don’t know you exist.
The more I share about me, my story, and my expertise on social media, the more interaction I get. The more I talk about what I do, the more people ask me questions to find out more.
#3 — Relationships from consistent interaction
It’s not enough to introduce yourself, join the Facebook group, or post on social media. It’s not something you check off your todo list and never have to worry about again. You have to continue to consistently interact with people in order to build the relationship.
Think about it. What would you think if you never got a phone call or text after you went out on a first date? Would you think he had a good time, liked you and wanted to go out again. Probably not. You’d likely think that he was an asshole and never wanted to speak to him again. The same goes for social interactions. If you show up once to say hi, never to be seen again, people may not think you’re an asshole, but you won’t have a relationship with your audience. Relationships require effort and communication.
#4 — Get used to your uncomfort zone
If being comfortable and safe is leading to invisibility, the only way to stop feeling invisible and out of place is to get uncomfortable — to get out of my comfort zone and into my UN-comfort zone. So, I’m throwing down a challenge to myself.
DO ONE THING IN MY #UNCOMFORTZONE EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Yep, that’s right. I’m going to do one thing that is outside of my comfort zone to increase my visibility and build relationships with my audience EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Believe it or not, just posting this is Day 1 for me. You don’t know how many times I’ve deleted this section over and over again because I know it will be hard for me to accomplish. How easy would it be for me to just hit delete instead of publish? So easy. And none of you would ever know about it. No risk. No worry about judgement. Just the bliss of ignorance and invisibility.
But I’m done being invisible. I’m done making the easy choices. I’m done being silent. It’s time to make some noise!
Get uncomfortable and make some noise with me by joining my Facebook Group, We Are Badassery. Let’s hang out in our #uncomfortzone together, show up and stop being invisible.
About the Author
Kathy Rasmussen is the Cofounder and Artistic Director of Badassery Magazine and Cohost of Badassery Podcast. She’s passionate about giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to follow their dreams and live a life of happiness and purpose.