I’ll be honest here, I am not an expert in this. Like at all.
In fact, I really struggle with putting myself out there, and I constantly worry about what other people think about me. In fact, this fear of what people would think was one of the main reasons I stopped using Instagram for over a year.
So really, I’m writing this post both for you, but also as a reminder to myself when I’m trying to get over my fear of putting myself out there.
If you also struggle with putting yourself out there (i.e. keeping up with Instagram, expressing yourself in blog posts, reaching out to fellow bloggers, etc), you’re not alone!
Here are some things I suggest doing when trying to get over the fear of putting yourself out there:
1) Remind yourself WHY you’re doing it
For the most part, I think people who struggle with putting themselves out there probably aren’t the most extroverted people.
You’re probably a little more shy or reserved, or maybe you’re just not naturally someone who likes talking too much about yourself.
This is definitely true for me, and last year, when Instagram started to feel more like a chore rather than something I actually wanted to do, I gave up on it.
At that time, I didn’t feel like I had a reason to use it. Why force myself to post when it made me feel uncomfortable?
I didn’t want to be an influencer, and it’s not like Instagram was some great source for blog traffic (my priority at the time). And so, I decided to leave Instagram and focus more of my energy on Pinterest since that seemed to be a better platform for getting blog traffic.
Sidenote: If we’re just talking about traffic, Pinterest is better for traffic purposes, but there’s more to blogging than traffic. I talked about why I’m not currently focusing on Pinterest in this article.
I’ve only since come back to Instagram since realizing WHY I have a blog.
(and please note, it took me close to THREE years to figure this out…)
I want to be an author one day. More than anything.
I want to write a book, and I want people to actually read that book. This has been my dream since… honestly for since as long as I can remember.
And so, rather than sit around waiting for a publishing deal to come my way, I’ve realized self-publishing is totally available to me. The only thing I need?
And so, I’ve recommitted myself to building an audience so that I can one day release a book to that audience.
I now have a REASON for putting myself out there.
Now all those times where I’m worrying about what people will think, or I’m questioning why I’m documenting my life on Instagram, I can remind myself that it all comes back to that ultimate dream of being an author.
That, in and of itself, is enough motivation to keep me putting myself out there.
What is the reason you’re putting yourself out there? What do you want from it? Get clear about that, and you’ll likely have a much easier time with putting yourself out there on a consistent basis.
2) Remember that most people are more concerned with themselves than with what you’re doing
This sounds a little sassy, but it’s honestly not meant to be, it’s just the truth (in my opinion).
I’m definitely not trying to say that people don’t care about what you’re up to (of course they do!), but for the people who aren’t supportive and instead are just judgemental, they probably think about you for a solid minute tops, then they’re on to thinking about the next thing.
To the people who DO support you, they might think about what you’re doing for more than a minute, but if they’re supportive, then they’re only thinking positively about the things you’re doing (and that’s what matters).
Don’t think about the judgemental people (they don’t matter; harsh, but true). Think about the supportive people (those are the people you should worry about creating content for!)
And, to the people who maybe just don’t get what you’re doing, again, these people probably aren’t your audience and their thoughts over what you’re doing really shouldn’t impact you. Once again, they’ll think about you for a minute, and they’ll move on.
3) Quite simply, force yourself
To be honest, even when I do the first two things, I still struggle.
Even when I know what I’m aiming for, and I know my friends and family are supportive of what I do, I’ll still look at what I’m doing and worry about what other people are thinking.
But here’s the thing (and you’ve heard it before)…
You just HAVE to keep doing it. Even when it feels weird and you’re worrying about making a fool out of yourself, you have to push past that and just do it anyway. The more you keep pushing past this, the easier it’s going to get to put yourself out there. Promise.
4) Don’t obsess (seriously. don’t.)
After I’ve put something out there, I tend to obsess over it.
I’ll watch my stories back. I’ll reread old blog posts. I’ll even sometimes go back and watch old stories.
This sounds really narcissistic, but honestly, it’s more so just about…well, judging myself.
Not ideal and not helpful for anyone (especially not for myself).
There’s nothing wrong with going back to old work with the hopes to improve upon it, or to remind yourself how far you’ve come, but if you’re just going to obsess and judge yourself, catch yourself and stop ASAP.
The judgement from yourself is always much worse than from the third parties. If you expect other people to support you, you first have to support yourself. Don’t forget that.
5) Be careful with how much content you’re consuming (there’s a fine line between inspiration and comparison)
We’ve heard it all before, which is why I won’t spend too much time lingering here, but I absolutely tend to get more judgemental of myself when I’m obsessing over what other people are doing.
Why can’t I seem as natural on Instagram stories as her?
Why can’t I connect with my audience like that?
Why do they have such a strong personal brand when I can’t even commit to picking one brand color? (true story)
Thing is: If this is what you’re thinking about, you’re not going to want to put yourself out there, because whatever you put out is either not going to feel like you (you’re copying someone else), or it’s not going to feel “as good” (you’re comparing).
Use other people for motivation, but make sure you’re using them to inspire you, and not for comparison.
If you’re able to do that, you’ll feel much more inclined to put yourself out there.
When it comes to being brave enough to put yourself out there, I know the struggle all too well.
Hopefully by doing some of the things from above we’ll all be able to get over our fear of putting ourselves out there.
And remember: If you’re someone who has ever judged another person for what they’re putting out there, catch yourself. I am definitely guilty of this, but I know that if I don’t want people to do this to me, I can’t do it to them.
If someone’s message doesn’t align with you, don’t be a fake supporter. That’s not helpful. Find people you connect with and support them. This way we all be part of a thriving online community that’s less judgemental.