Fear of visibility is something many people experience at some point in their lives. You may feel a strong reaction in your nervous system if you even think of getting more visible, and you may find yourself consumed with worries about being judged or criticized.

However, what most people don’t realize is that it may not always be easily recognizable, as it can sometimes show itself in more subtle ways, particularly if that person has already done a load of personal development work and is self-aware.

You may find yourself running around keeping yourself busy with things that don’t have much impact on your business, or you find yourself shifting direction from one thing to another before it’s had a chance to take off.

Maybe you find yourself avoiding opportunities to be in the spotlight, avoid standing up for yourself or spend most of your time planning and creating without actually pressing play on them.

You could even find drama erupting all around you, your laptop crashing at a crucial time, or you get caught in traffic on the way to an important meeting. You may even feel yourself getting sick or injured. Things that are seemingly out of your control… but are they?

They can be… and they can also be symptoms of a fear of visibility. Let me explain.

These events that seem to be out of your control may actually be manifestations of an underlying fear of being seen. This fear can manifest in various ways, including through unconscious self-sabotaging behaviours such as drama, laptop crashes, traffic delays, and illness or injury.

Is it possible that you are actively getting involved in drama when you could simply not be available for it? What about your tech issues, could it be that you weren’t prepared with a backup? And instead of blaming the traffic for your being late, perhaps you could have left earlier. What about the illness or injury? Have you been looking after yourself or getting stressed and burning yourself out?

Here are five, not so obvious signs to look out for that may be symptoms of an underlying fear of visibility:

  1. Procrastination: If you find yourself avoiding tasks that require you to put yourself in the spotlight, such as going live on social media or getting interviewed on TV, podcasts and so on, it could be a sign that fear of visibility is taking control of your actions.
  1. Not taking credit for your successes: This can take the form of underselling your accomplishments or downplaying your talents. Giving all the credit to other people or luck for things you’ve achieved.
  2. Drama erupting all around you: Arguments with your loved ones just before you’re about to go on stage, your devices playing up as you’re about to deliver an online training, getting sick or injured as you were just getting into the flow of pitching regularly for media opportunities. These are all signs that you are unconsciously running away from visibility.
  3. Lack of assertiveness: If you struggle to speak up for yourself or assert your needs and boundaries, this is a way to tell when fear of visibility is blocking you. You may worry that if you speak your mind, you will be judged or rejected by others.
  4. Distracting yourself: Do you find it difficult to complete projects? Maybe you start one thing and find yourself with several other amazing ideas, so you start skipping from one thing to the other. Maybe you get bored, or you could find very logical and plausible reasons not to carry. But if you are doing this regularly, it may be time to dig deep and ask yourself if fear of visibility is the cause.

There are several strategies that can be helpful in combating the fear of visibility:

Firstly, identify the root cause of your fear: take some time to reflect on your past experiences and identify any specific events or circumstances that may have contributed to your fear of visibility.

Secondly, challenge negative thoughts: don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts. They literally shape your beliefs and impact how you feel and the actions you take. When a negative thought pops up, don’t just accept it- challenge it! For example, “I’m going to go blank during my TV interview may become “I may go blank during my TV interview, and that’s OK. I will be prepared and will know what to do if that situation ever does arise.

I would highly recommend practicing mindfulness if you suspect you may have a fear of visibility. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions without judgment. It can be helpful in combating the fear of visibility because it allows you to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and to respond to them in a more balanced way.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable by stretching your visibility on a daily basis. This means regularly putting yourself out there in a way that makes you feel slightly nervous- deliver a live stream, post a vulnerable story, be interviewed on a podcast, have that conversation with your husband or wife that you’ve been putting off. Get used to taking action alongside fear over and over again.

Begin putting these strategies into play today. Pay close attention to your thoughts and behaviours and watch yourself rapidly gliding into your next level of visibility.

BIO: Luana Ribeira is a bestselling author, international speaker, and the founder of Dauntless PR, which helps personal brands to explode their reach, credibility, and impact by orchestrating daring publicity campaigns. She has appeared on FOX TV, ITV, BBC, Forbes, The Telegraph, and Business Insider, among others.

Luana’s tried and tested PR strategies — delivered through her programs, Media Impact Accelerator and Media Impact VIP — transform experts on a specific topic to credible leaders in their space who are creating real impact. http://www.dauntlesspr.com/

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