Becoming an entrepreneur has opened up a whole can of worms for me internally, causing me to reflect a lot on my leadership journey. Something about running an online business and having to put yourself out there more is apt to reveal all sorts of insecurities.
I have gradually come face-to-face with all the ways I previously hid in my leadership and kept myself from really showing up in my life. I had a fair amount of success as a leader and I believe those I led would say that I influenced them for good.
However, I also know that I held back from really letting my light shine. As Marianne Williamson says I played small because playing small felt safer than allowing myself to be fully seen.
As I work with more and more women leaders, I realize this is not unique to me. Too many women leaders are playing small. You are hiding in your leadership and not fully showing up in your life either but you’re barely aware of it.
Today I thought I would share some of the most common tactics I’ve found women leaders using to hide. I wonder which of these you are prone to doing.
This one is easy to do because you genuinely love your job. But you are working 60,70, 80 hours a week and in the process you are missing out on the life that is happening around you.
You’re checking emails at night instead of engaging with your partner. You’re responding to text messages instead of being fully present at your child’s event. You’re taking a quick phone call instead of enjoying the too infrequent girl-time you have with your friends.
Work has consumed every area of your life and you make excuses that you “have to” do it. But I wonder if overworking is not just a way for you to avoid having to deal with the life you’ve created. A life that maybe no longer works for you but you don’t know how to change it so you overwork in order to not have to think about it.
This takes the overworking one step further to making sure that there is little to no downtime in your life.
Your kids are involved in more activities than perhaps they really need to be because if they stay busy then you stay busy too. You say yes to invitations for events that don’t really interest you but you go anyway because it’s something to do.
You wear your busyness as a badge of honor but the honor feels hollow. You sense deep inside that something is not right but you’re “too busy” to try to figure out what it is.
This is just how I am
This was perhaps one of my favorite ones to use. I prided myself on being the “behind the scenes girl”. I didn’t need to be out front because I thrived more when I was not seen. But truthfully it was safer and easier to stay in the background.
When you use the “this is just the way I am” excuse, what you are really saying is I’m too afraid to try something different. Typically your fear is showing up because it feels too scary to put yourself out there more. I get it because I’ve been there done that but I also know that by hiding behind that excuse you miss out on having the kind of impact you are really meant to have.
Hollywood’s red carpet has come under fire recently for being solely focused on a woman’s appearance at the exclusion of anything else valuable that she might have to offer. As a woman in leadership you are not immune to this tendency.
You may be unconsciously diminishing yourself to nothing more than a pretty face. You believe that your value rests in how you look so you spend an inordinate amount of time making sure that you look the part. After all, you know a book is judged by its cover and you know people will judge you. So you look perfectly put together and you end up hiding behind your very polished look.
This one is probably the most vulnerable one for me to share because it is the tactic I use most often to stand in my own way. I was very overweight at one point and this past year I have seen my weight slowly creep back up.
I use my weight to hide because I know that overweight people are invisible. Society dismisses you when you are overweight so I stayed comfortably plump so I wouldn’t have to be seen.
But, like every other tactic on this list, this one only results in you and me living a less than existence. It leaves us longing for more because we know we are meant for more.
Whatever means you are using to hide I want to encourage you to come out of hiding. The world needs the influence and impact that you are meant to have.
Today, take a baby step out of the shadows and stop hiding in your leadership. Discover the joy of basking in the light. Let your light shine fully. Someone you influence needs it to help light their way.
From my heart to yours,
If you need some support to help you come out of hiding let’s talk to see if I might be a good fit for you. Click here to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with me today.