5 questions to soothe the fear of standing up and standing out

August 9th, 2011 by Patty Bear

Managing the tug of war between fitting in and standing out can be exhausting!

Fitting in is a basic human need. In our caveman days those who didn’t fit in could find themselves ostracized and that meant death- literally.

Today, there are so many ways of meeting our basic survival needs that not fitting in doesn’t kill you, but it can feel like death. So it’s no wonder that it comes in direct conflict with some of the things we most want to do.

Why? Because at the heart of what we most want to do in life is to make a difference in some way that really matters to us. And to do that means that at some point we have to stop being invisible. We have to stand up, stand out, take a risk, be willing to look like a failure and express WHO we are through what we do. And that’s frightening because it puts us in direct conflict with our need to fit in.

The Australians call this “tall poppy syndrome” It’s a term used to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.

And even if you’re not the one being “cut down” seeing successful people who are sends a clear message of the perils of standing out. It’s a potent warning not to be daring, adventurous, passionate, or gasp…. more successful than those around you. The tall poppy syndrome says “stay silent, safe, small, just like everybody else- OR ELSE”

If you stand out above the crowd you’re going to get your head cut off!

OUCH! Now there’s a deterrent to success.

Think about it, what actions would you take in your business or your life if you weren’t afraid of standing out and being really visible?

would you?

-take more risks

-be more ambitious

-be more of who your really are

What would be different and how can you move beyond this fear?

You can grit your teeth and power through it, but that’s a high maintenance, energy intensive method that will borrow energy from your physical and emotional health. Or you can use your logic and your feeling to navigate one step at a time until the things that used to be scary simply don’t have any power over you anymore.

Use your logic and your feelings to answer these questions

1. Is my fear of standing out real or imagined in this situation?

2. What’s the worst that could happen- really? And WHO would be doing it?

3. If that happened am I willing to live with it?

4. What am I willing to challenge in order to show up passionately with my unique gifts to the world?

5. What difference could THAT make?
Drop me a line and let me know how this worked for you (or not).  I’d love to hear from you!

In Joy,

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