Yesterday I enjoyed an episode from Season 2 while I took a break for lunch. Four single women in their mid-thirties, living in New York City, all apparently very successful in their chosen careers. This time they were off to a day at the spa together. Charlotte, the most uptight and socially rule bound of the bunch (although Miranda the lawyer comes in at a close second) refuses to take off her thick, terrycloth towel in the steam room.
She is extremely self-conscious as she peruses the room full of women strangers who are languishing on the benches or strolling around the locker room au naturel, unabashedly relaxed and comfortable without cover or camouflage. Mind you, they all have great bodies. Charlotte stoically tries to endure, grips her towel ever more tightly around her, whines she is feeling faint and too hot.
Her gal pals encourage her to just simply take the towel off. Charlotte’s panic increases as she meets the gaze of another naked woman across the room. The scrutiny is too much for her to bear, and she bolts out. Charlotte later bemoans to Carrie and the others that ‘her thighs are too big’ while they are dining together at (yet another) chic Manhattan restaurant. I laughed out loud at this; all of them are as ‘skinny perfect’ as models. But I digress.
Like Charlotte, we bloggers and creative entrepreneurs can be self-conscious (and oh-so-self-critical) of all the flaws in our body of creative work.
Almost to the point where it physically hurts to take a chance and publish anything online.
When we try and engage in the social media arena for the first time as a business professional, we feel SO afraid of being judged. Or dismissed completely. We frantically wonder, did we make a huge mistake?
Back to Charlotte and her dilemma.
Fortified with new vigor after much reassurance from her friends, Charlotte returns a few days later on her own to the spa to conquer her fear and self-consciousness. Resolute, she rushes into the steam room, slinks onto the bench, and after a brief moment, slowly lowers her towel. A woman seated close to her gives her a lingering look. Charlotte holds her breath. Then the woman meets her eyes and drawls, “I would kill to have t*ts like yours!”
Charlotte beams. Sits up straighter. Ding ding!
We envy all those successful and popular creative people who have thousands of worshippers followers on Twitter and Facebook and seem to be making tons of money.
We quake in fear as we expose ourselves, our website, and our work, for all the world to see. Like Charlotte, we hold our breath as we feel so uncomfortable having all those eyes on us.
But maybe, just maybe, there will be something we have that they might feel envious about. Maybe what we have to offer is of value and we shouldn’t give up, tighten the towel around ourselves, and run away from the scrutiny.
All of us have something unique to offer this world, regardless of years of experience, fame, and great networking connections.
If you’re just starting out in your creative business, offer all of what you have with self-confidence and childlike humility. We’re going to make mistakes, but hopefully they’ll be overlooked in time. Have an expectation that what you are producing will be appreciated, wanted and needed by others. Don’t force yourself to look-sound-write like all the leaders of the pack out there; don’t take that easy road.
Have the courage to take off your towel and sit there in the steamy social media arena. Be your own person and create original work, offering your clients and your entrepreneurial peers something they can’t find anywhere else.