Hey friend! How is your week going? I hope it’s going GREAT!
Today I’m going to talk about one of the most important skills you have to develop as an entrepreneur. To run your own business isn’t just about all of the things you have to DO. It’s not just about refining your coaching or business skills – although that’s obviously a big part of it. However, something that’s even more important than that, is what’s going on inside of your HEAD.
I always say: You can have the best business and marketing strategy IN THE WORLD, but if you don’t have the mindset to back it up – you simply won’t execute it or stick with it.
What has helped me A LOT, if not the most, on my journey as a coach and entrepreneur is practicing EMOTIONAL BRAVERY. And, as coaches, in the beginning, we are generally solopreneurs. We work alone – we don’t have a team. Doing everything alone, without someone to lean on when doubt arise, emotional bravery becomes even more important to practice in your business. As an entrepreneur, you have the sole responsibility to market and sell your offer, deliver a top-notch service, do your finances, and all of the admin involved. If something doesn’t work out the way you wanted, there’s no one but yourself to blame. So, running your own business is therefore one of the greatest self-development paths you’ll ever embark on – in which emotional bravery is the cornerstone of that.
So, let’s define emotional bravery: What is it? What does it look like in practice? How does it serve you and your business?
I first want to add in a BIG DISCLAIMER: Developing emotional bravery was NOT easy for me. And, it’s still a work in progress every single day. I am a highly sensitive person who has been shamed for being “too sensitive and emotional”. NOT TO MENTION! I used to be SO shy! And, that’s something that I’ve worked through over the years. So, when I say that now, people don’t believe me. But in school, I pretty much just had one friend. I hardly looked at “the cool kids” and I got my first boyfriend just before I turned 18. Had I travelled back in time and told my 18-year-old self that I would one day DARE to speak my TRUTH on social media – I’d laugh. In a “that’s-fucking-ridiculous” kind of way.
Historically, I’ve also been very agreeable. Very much like “as long as they’re happy, I’m happy” mindset. I would rather talk about something I found profoundly boring than risk making the other person even the slightest bit uncomfortable by talking about what I’m passionate about. I was a chameleon, catering to any color the other person found the most pleasant. And, it horrified me to let people in on my views of life – especially my more spiritual insights – even the thought of it would make my skin crawl and nervous system go haywire. You know when your chest and throat feel tight and you just want to disappear? That feeling!
But being a chameleon doesn’t offer ANYONE growth. Not them, and not me. It’s called PEOPLE PLEASING, and it’s a coping mechanism that was first established in our childhood. It’s a subconscious strategy that our inner scared part plays out to stay emotionally safe. Or, in other words to avoid emotional discomfort.
To stay SAFE, however, most often prevents you from TRIVING. It’s like building a great concrete wall around you to protect yourself as a child, because you didn’t have any other ways to cope back then. But now you’re all grown up, and you’re stuck in a small, square space with these high concrete walls that now prevents you from growing and exploring. We don’t need them anymore. And, as soon as you recognize that you’re preventing yourselves from growing in this way, you can start working through it.
But here’s the thing: If you want to pave a new path, you have to sacrifice of some of the vegetation. (That’s probably not a saying… well it is now! I make up sayings all the time – my boyfriend always makes fun of me for that). Anyways, you have to ruffle some feathers – that’s what I’m saying. Not everyone will like you. “You’re not vanilla ice cream” as one of my coaches says. One important thing to remember is that, when you don’t share your truth, people don’t like who you actually ARE anyway – they like the fabricated façade of you. So, I came to the conclusion for myself, that I’d rather have SOME people like me for who I AM, rather than a bunch of people liking me for someone I’m actually not. This is totally an art and a work in progress – I’m not 100% there yet by a long shot (and I might never be). BUT, I’m strengthen those muscles every single day. I keep reminding myself what my values are and what I want to spend MY life doing. So that, when I’m old and lay on my death bed, I don’t regret how I lived my life. That I didn’t spend this ONE LIFE making the most of it.
One of the reasons why I developed the Holistic Marketing concept, is that the number one reason why coaches market in a way that don’t attract many clients, is because they haven’t developed the habit of practicing emotional bravery. And most of all: Emotional bravery to say what they want to say, be who they want to be and take up space as who they really are.
Because – that shit is super confronting! We have been conditioned by society and within our family structures to think that parts of us are not loveable, “good” or “right”. And, as a result, we compare, we glorify other peoples’ strengths and downplay our own as “not important” or “not as good”. But the truth of the matter is that WE ALL HAVE OUR STRUGGLES. Every single human being on planet earth has something about themselves that they are ashamed of or think they need to hide to be liked or accepted. We also have different strengths, experiences and knowledge that will help us get the results we want. It might just not look like the journey that someone else are on. The fastest way to get good at your marketing, to attract more clients, to build the business that you’re now dreaming of – is by leveraging YOUR unique zone of genius AND practice having your own back while doing it. Meaning: practicing emotional bravery!
I want to add in an important side note here too. When I say practice emotional bravery, I DO NOT mean that you should bulldoze your feelings and suppress your thoughts. Not at all. We want to look at how our thinking affects the way we feel about our marketing and then find ways to bring all of our inner parts on board. If you haven’t listened to my episode on partwork – make sure to listen to it after this episode. It will transform your relationship with yourself!
SO, taking a deeper look at emotional bravery in marketing; ask yourself “Why am I not sharing more content on social media?” I asked my followers on Instagram the same question, and some of the responses I got were:
All these reasons for not marketing more are a symptoms of trying to avoid emotional discomfort – consciously or subconsciously. Let’s quickly run through each of them:
I feel like I’ve said emotional discomfort a million times in this episode – maybe I should abbreviate it and just say E.D. for the rest of the episode! Jokes!
I invite you to write down all of the reasons you don’t post more on social media – what are you afraid will happen – or not happen. What you put down on this list is your THOUGHTS about posting on social media. Now, below or next to each thought, write down the feeling that this thought evokes in you. When you’ve done this, recognize that this list shows you the feelings that you are unwilling to feel in order to grow your business.
Can you see how practicing emotional bravery will help you grow your business?
Now, with the examples I just mentioned, we see that they don’t post very frequently because they want to maintain emotional comfort. Frequency is one thing. Another is the QUALITY of what you share. And, this is hugely important! The content where you practice the most emotional bravery is BY FAR the most valuable for your followers – and therefore also for you. It’s like the stock market: When you trade in a high risk market, you can get huge rewards – but you equally experience huge loss. When you invest in funds, you take low risk, but you get a low reward. It will take longer to grow your money. To translate this into marketing, when you take high emotional risk regarding what you share, you’re likely to experience a high reward in the sense that people LOVE you for saying it how it is. You say outload what they may think but don’t dare to say themselves. You give them validation for who they are – and it touches them deeply. They will seek out your content, stop scrolling when your post pops up – and therefore develop more and more of a relationship with you. If you want to get all technical about it – the algorithms also notice if your followers engage more with your content and therefore show your stuff more in your clients’ feed. Now, when exercising emotional bravery, you also run the risk of feeling completely shitty! All of your imposter syndrome thoughts bubble up, your inner critic is not only screaming at you – she has brought a speakerphone too. What the fuck are you doing? Who do you think you are? People are going to think you’re crazy! You look like an absolute idiot! – These are just some of the lovely thoughts that is likely to appear in your mind in the wake of sharing a post where you practice emotional bravery.
I recently read an article that said: When scientists placed people in functional MRI machines and asked them to recall a recent rejection, they discovered something really interesting. The same areas of our brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain. That’s why even small rejections hurt more than we think they should, because they elicit literal (albeit, emotional) pain.
A lot of people talk about the time when we were hunter/gatherers and that being rejected from our group meant death. Now, what many people tend to forget is that we have personally lived through these vulnerabilities. If our caretakers had rejected and abandoned us when we were babies, we would have died! So fear of rejection is not just in our ancestral make-up, it’s also cognitive programming from our childhood.
NOW, THE GOOD NEWS ARE. When we practice emotional bravery and self-critical thoughts come up, it offers you an opportunity to grow. You know what thoughts are holding you back. This is one of the reasons why it’s so incredibly helpful to have a coach. To have someone to work through our limiting beliefs through any stage of our growth. Not to mention, that the growth will happen faster with a qualified coach!
When you work through your own drama and dare to practice emotional bravery, you create way more value for your followers. And, what I mean by creating value is that you’re helping them. People like those who say out loud what they think. There’s kind of a relief in that. You’re finally being seen, validated and understood. It makes it easier for them to step up to the plate too. So, it creates a strong community around you. People want to hear what you have to say – they seek you out. You’re establishing thought leadership!
When people connect with you in this way and see how great you are at helping them through your content, they will want to work with you. They will want to HIRE YOU to help THEM PERSONALLY.
To be able to exercise emotional bravery in practice, it’s very helpful to know exactly what emotions are. Emotions are undoubtedly a complex matter – involving neuro signals, chemicals in our brains, electrical impulses through to our nervous systems and so on. We also need to count in trauma responses and subconscious patterns as a result of cognitive conditioning. There are many great books written around the science of this – including “How emotions are made – The secret Life of the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barret PhD if you want to dive into the intricacies of it. I’ll link to it in the show notes. All of Dr. Barret are actually great, so I highly recommend them!
HOWEVER, I want to help you simplify this concept as much as possible, so that you can easily apply it in your day-to-day life. You really don’t have to geek out on neuroscience to use your emotions in a way that help you grow your coaching business. So, the way I’ve come to regard my emotions through all of my research as well as trial and learning, is that emotions can simply be seen as sensations in the body. Sensations that can be felt in the body as a result of the thoughts we are thinking. Yes, we can argue that, in the case of trauma response, the sensation can come first. But, on a day-to-day basis, your thoughts create a feeling response. And, recognizing them as a neutral circumstance of certain sensations in the body is super helpful. This is what mindfulness looks like. Neutral awareness of our minds and bodies.
So, how do you use this awareness? Here’s an example: You want to post something on Instagram. You sit down to write and you find yourself starting to scroll on the Instagram instead. What’s happening here is that you start procrastinating because you have a thought that makes you want to avoid the emotional discomfort. You might think “I don’t know what to write, this isn’t good enough, this is hard, or something along those lines. You feel slightly uncomfortable. You, instead, tell yourself that you need to find inspiration but end up scrolling endlessly and comparing yourself to others. The result is that you don’t post. You’re avoiding emotional discomfort and instead seeking instant gratification.
Now, this is just the posting in and of itself – now let’s look at what you’re actually writing. You have written something to post, but what you write is like vanilla ice cream. It’s general, and it’s nothing special. It might be okay, but you’re not risking anything by posting it.
When you actually write something that will require emotional bravery, when you dare to say the hard thing, to be brutally honest and blunt, people will stop and read it. It has a scroll-stopping effect. It will make an impact. You will change people’s perspectives, make them say “I’ve never thought about it this way” and “this transformed me”. They will share your content and you will attract people from their networks. It’s easier for them to share what someone else said and write “so true” and a laughing emoji – than to say it themselves.
Practicing emotional bravery in your marketing will also polarize. As my grandma used to say “An opinion is like a butt, it’s split.” Good onya grandma – she was onto it! Now, you will have people disagreeing with you. That’s okay – having diverse opinions is what makes us evolve as humans.
The people that don’t like your honesty and authentic expression just aren’t your people. You might have heard of the concept “a thousand true fans”. In his book, Kevin Kelly says it’s way better – and more profitable, to have a thousand true fans than lots of people kind of being into what you do.
SO! I want to invite you to notice your feelings when you’re about to post – or procrastinate from sharing. What emotions are you feeling? What emotions are you trying to avoid? Try to feel them in your body as a neutral circumstance. Is the feeling tight? Pulsating? Solid? Sharp? What color is it? What texture? The more you play with this, the easier it is to take actions towards your goals. You know that you’re just having sensations in your body – and that’s what’s holing you back from pursuing your dreams. Is the feeling of rejection in your body more important to avoid, than to allow it to be there and then figure out ways to make it feel safe to share?
Okay, my friend – that’s everything I had for you today! Now, go feel your feelings and let me know how you go! I mean it! Tag me on Instagram – I’d LOVE to see how you go with it!
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