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Alright, SO, what I wanted to share with you today are some very personal insights and breakthroughs – a bit of my personal story too. I was actually a bit nervous to share some of this, because I open up about some things that was quite hard for me. But, I know it will be really helpful to a lot of you listening, so here we go!
I’ll first tell you a bit about my background, and then weave it into marketing as an introvert and as a highly sensitive person. If you haven’t visited my website and read a bit about me there, you might not know that I used to be SO shy! So, to expand on that:
Before I started kindergarten, I was told that I was super excited about people and had no shame. Like, always happy, excited and thrilled to be with lots of people. However, when I started kindergarten and got into primary school, I started getting really quite insecure, shy and introverted. I pretty much had just one friend that I’d hung out with at school, and I remember thinking thoughts like, “I really don’t understand why she wants to be my friend”. I was super critical of myself and no matter what I did, I was never good enough. And, if anyone put me down, I full on agreed with them – I was so full of shame. This carried into middle school and high school. I was never really invited to parties. Like, it would happen once in a while, but I never had a group of friends that I’d hang out with or went out with. So, most of the weekends I would spend with my parents at the cabins just to have something to do. And when I was old enough, I started working as a waitress, mostly in weddings. I remember it felt good to have somewhere to go and be busy on Saturday night. Like I actually had an excuse as to why I wasn’t going out. I could say “oh… yeh I had to work”. I think it was actually mostly an excuse for myself more than anyone else. Like, it felt so bad that I wouldn’t be asked to join, so telling myself that I was busy anyway felt a lot better than sitting in the sadness, disappointment, shame and all of that.
Also, I don’t think people noticed that I was shy or particularly insecure because I’m highly sensitive and empathic and I was such a people-pleaser that I’d always make sure that the people around me would feel good. I’d always lift the vibe if it was a bit low. I’d sort of focus on them rather than myself. I suppose I put on this brave face and tried to go along with it.
Also, I should mention that being a highly sensitive person, the people close to me didn’t really understand me all that well – so I was often shamed for my feelings. I was asked to pull myself together and that I shouldn’t feel so much. If you’re highly sensitive yourself, you might relate. Now, I don’t blame those people at all, they just didn’t know any better at the time. And they’re just a product of their own conditioning and understanding of the world. Having said that, I think having worked through those things has made me an even better coach. Like, I’ve been to some dark places and worked my way through it and healed so much.
Anyway, I moved to Australia after high school to do a Bachelors degree – and actually ended up living there for about 7 years. And, while living in Sydney, for a while, I met this amazing girl, Lara, who is now a dear friend of mine. I remember distinctly that she said to me one time. “I used to think that being pretty would make you self-confident, but you’ve proven me wrong. In never thought someone really pretty could have such poor self-esteem”. This probably isn’t verbatim, but she was talking about me being really pretty and that she thought I’d automatically have high self-esteem and self-confidence. And I remember too, that I didn’t really understand what she was talking about, because I just see myself as a fairly standard girl, not ugly, but just… average – basically.
I’m NOT intending for this to be about whether or not my looks are average or good, but I want to highlight, that no matter what a person looks like, we all have our shit that we’re working through. And if you’re in the field of helping people, and if you’re a coach, it’s likely the reason why you’re so drawn to this work. That you’ve had your own self development, healing or health journey.
Anyway, the reason why I’m telling you about my background, is that most people that meet me – whether it’s in real life, through this podcast or on social media, thinks that I’m super out going, that I’m just naturally self-confident, that I’m just so comfortable in my own skin, that me marketing myself has never been an issue for me… Like, I just have this happy, go lucky personality that is happy to speak on camera whenever.
Oh, and just because I have such long experience with marketing, that it just is easy for me. Ehmmm… NO.
Let me tell you this: I have worked through A LOT and I’ve come a long way. And I STILL sometimes have to work on my own mindset to put myself out there.
And knowing the ins and outs of digital marketing does not make me any more comfortable marketing myself. Which is why I developed the concept of holistic marketing. You can google all of the marketing strategies and how-tos, but it’s our mindset about it that’s holding us back from actually following through and creating the best content.
Actually, in terms of being introverted… I’m an extrovert-introvert. So, I love meeting new people, but mostly in smaller groups or 1:1. Not larger groups. I’ll tell you this funny little story to illustrate all of this; When I moved back to Norway from Australia, I was invited to a family friend’s wedding. I knew the bride, her parents and her brother, and I had met some of the other girls there at her hen’s party. However, when we got to the wedding reception, it was some mingling time before we were asked to sit down – about an hour or so. I did not know where to place myself. I felt like a fish out of water. Everyone seemed to be so close – and I just felt like this awkward lonely wedding crasher. So, I did what any introvert in their right mind would do – I found the ladies room and hid there for a full hour. HOUR! I later found out that my, now boyfriend, was looking for me in that time. So, I could’ve probably had a great ol’ time had I not hid at the loo. But too many people, too much sensory input, oh, and too little to eat made the decision to go incognito for a while a done deal for me.
So, I know that we can easily come across people online and think that they’re just a natural. That they are just fine showing up on camera. That they enjoy putting themselves out there. It’s easy to think that if we’re shy or introverted, that it’s easier for others.
And, maybe it is a bit easier for some people! Some people actually DO thrive on attention. HOWEVER, most of those who do don’t put their heart and soul into it. Like, they’re sharing fairly superficial content. It’s not sharing vulnerably or openly about things that are hard for them etc. Anyway, I digress. Let’s not use it as an excuse that others like attention more than us – and that we’re therefore doomed to never do well online.
I remember the first time I went live. I was shivering, cold sweating and stumbling in my own words. And afterwards, I had a severe case of post traumatic posting syndrome. Definitely not a real word or syndrome, but you get what I mean. I just swamped myself in shame, telling myself how ridiculous I looked, who do I think I am – you know, all of the borderline emotional self-abuse stuff.
But all of that really gave me an insight. I realized that by putting myself out there and having that vulnerability hangover, showed more of myself to myself. I got to see where I needed more self-love. Where I, instead of striving for it to look professional, have something really earth shatteringly profound to share or having it all be “perfect”, I could instead look to having FUN. I could reframe it to be a CONTRIBUTOR, and just have a conversation with likeminded people who were following me.
Another really big insight that I had (more resent actually), was that I had a big wound around thinking that I didn’t matter. You know when you’ve experienced that your emotions wasn’t right or didn’t matter, or that your opinions mattered – because someone else always knew better – that real sense that you can’t trust yourself, so you better just agree and follow along with other needs and wants… yeh, that was totally me. So, when it came to showing up on social media, one of mty predominant – and actually subconcious, underlying beliefs mostly – was that I didn’t matter. What I had to say didn’t matter, because someone else out there knew better. I told myself that if I didn’t show up for a while, people wouldn’t notice or miss me anyway – because I really didn’t matter. So why put myself in the uncomfortable situation then – right?
I also realized that I had another subconscious thought I had about social media was that I was speaking to a LARGE group. And I never felt safe in bigger groups of people (unless I was at a party and had alcohol). But having alcohol every time I’d post on Social media certainly isn’t a viable option. Even the thought of sharing on social media – and even on a podcast had my nervous system go haywire because it was triggering my sense of safety and fear of rejection and judgement.
And, when I recognized that… the whole staying-consistent narrative changed for me. It was a matter of healing, not just that I couldn’t stay consistent! Instead of beating myself up for not wanting to show up on social media, I had only love and self-compassion for myself. Of course, I didn’t want to show up when those were the underlying thoughts. Instead of coming up with all sorts of strategies for posting consistently, I sat with myself and shifted my mindset to one where it felt SAFE to show up.
I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in a previous podcast episode, but; when I first started sharing about coaching on Instagram, I opened a whole new account just for that. Then I blocked about 400 people, so that they wouldn’t get a notification from Instagram saying “follow Martine on her new profile”. I can’t recall exactly what it says, but it’s basically just notifying people about your presence on a new account. So, I blocked friends and friends of friends so that they wouldn’t find me. Even my boyfriend wasn’t allowed to see it. And, I remember showing it to him for the first time made me feel like vomiting – I was crying and cold sweating and shivering. All of the sensations you all – ALL of the sensations!
I wanted a space where I felt safe to express myself freely – and to likeminded people. And, so, for me – that looked like taking control of who was able to find my account. As you might know, a circumstance is ALWAYS neutral until we make meaning of it. But, sometimes, it can help to tweak our circumstance ever so slightly to make the mindset work easier. As my confidence grew, I started unblocking people. To this day, only a handful of my friends are actually following my coaching account. I don’t know if the remaining of those 400 people ever got notified and just wasn’t drawn to my material or if most of them still don’t know about it… But either way, if they ever ask, I’ll be happy to point them to my material.
So, what shifted for me, was my thoughts. It always starts with our thoughts, right. As I like to say, our thoughts are ALWAYS the first domino that has to fall – and then, the rest comes as an automatic consequence of that.
So, when I started thinking thoughts like; while I speak to several people when I go live or post on Instagram, every one person that sees it… are alone. And; I’m speaking from my heart to theirs. I have emersed myself in self-development, psychology, neuroscience, shadow work, inner child work and coaching for the past 15 years alongside a decade of marketing work. I KNOW that I have so much to contribute with. When I focused more on helping people than on myself and my potential short comings or weaknesses… When I thought about speaking to ONE person that needed and wanted help. Or when I thought about speaking to my younger self that didn’t have all the knowledge and tools that I have today, it started feeling so much SAFER to share my message. It felt so much more purposeful than just thinking that I was marketing MYSELF for my own gain. By the way, this is what I see with most of my clients that have resistance towards marketing. They think that it’s something that they have to do to GET clients.
But, changing the way that I thought about marketing to being a service, that I’m giving away so much helpful stuff for FREE every week, multiple times a week… it made me feel SO generous, helpful and connected to my people.
It’s not about self-promotion. It’s not about putting out posts to GET clients. It’s not about having to bulldoze ourselves and toughen up to share on social media.
It’s about helping people freely, about seeing where we need more self-compassion and healing for ourselves before we feel safe enough to show up. It’s about coming together and make social media a platform of positivity, growth, healing and connection. It’s about speaking to likeminded people who have willingly hit that “follow” button to hear from you – because they find it valuable.
So, what I want to leave you with is this;
If you’re shy, insecure, highly sensitive or an introvert – try to find the underlying reason for why you’re resisting putting yourself out there. What is it that you’re afraid will happen – or not happen.
And, what feels natural to you and your personality? Is there a platform that accommodates for that? Are you better in dialogue with people than talking or teaching on your own? Are you more of a writer? Play to your strengths and do what feels safest for you. Then, you can build from that.
As we grow confidence in one thing, it spills over to other areas. So, figure out where your resistance lies, work through that with self-compassion and love. And then, choose a medium that fits you best now – and expand as you go.
If you want help with this, I’ve got you! You can head to my website; martinethomassen.com and get a free consultation there. You can also find the link here in the podcast episode description box.
Alright darlin’s I’ll talk to you soon! Byyyyeeeee
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