The Importance of Stepping Into the Spotlight

Performance Tip of the Week – July 27, 2011

What’s your first reaction when someone acknowledges you in a big way?

For instance, “Wow! What you did was truly amazing!” or “I admire you so much, and aspire to be more like you!”

Do you think to yourself, “Yes! I AM truly amazing and deserve her admiration!” or is your instinct to deflect, downplay, or do whatever it takes to remove yourself from beneath the brightly shining spotlight?

I ask this question because there are plenty of businesswomen (and perhaps some men) who fall into the latter group, who for whatever reason shy away from deserved recognition.

With success comes some time in the spotlight, where many women blossom like a flower in the sun. There’s really no way to completely avoid it, and honestly, why would you want to? You are in business to improve the lives of others and they will naturally be grateful. The best way to respond to their appreciation is to embrace it with gratitude, and wear it with pride.

If this is something that feels difficult to do, then perhaps it’s time for a bit of self-examination to figure out why.

Are you wearing any of these labels?

The Task Mistress – Some entrepreneurs thrive on achievement, but never take the time to relish each accomplishment before moving on to the next. These overachievers are focused on the outcome, rather than the value in the process. Therefore, they are never satisfied long enough to step into the spotlight and take a bow, because there is no meaning for them there. The danger lies in setting a poor example of what it means to succeed for those who admire and watch them. If the onlookers also buy into the belief that success only lies in positive outcomes, failing may leave them feeling like failures.

The Closet Creator – People who are most comfortable brainstorming, designing, and creating, but aren’t comfortable with the thought of self-promotion, might fall into the category of closet creators. This type of individual doesn’t actively showcase her talent in a big way or put her success on the line. Why? Because she’s petrified of failing. She may never really get her business off the ground because that would mean venturing outside her comfort zone. Showing others that she is worthy of recognition would also leave her open to the possibility of criticism. So instead, she squanders her gifts, robbing those she could serve, by never taking the chance to fully share them with the world.

The Wall Flower – Some business owners experience limited success, but never move beyond a small operation that barely breaks even. The potential for greatness is obvious, but shining the spotlight on them can lead to panic. These emotions can range from fear of overwhelm to guilt over disrupting the routine of those in their life. So rather than figuring out a way to expand their dream and step into the spotlight, they would rather keep things small, neat and tidy, maintaining the position of a wall flower. They have given up before they’ve even started, which not only ends up hurting themselves, but also those they have the potential to help.

If any part of the descriptions above ring true for you, then perhaps you need to face your limiting beliefs head on, so you can move forward.  Stepping into the spotlight is not so much about tooting your own horn, but graciously accepting when others you’ve helped want to toot it for you. Do them and yourself the honor of taking your moment in the sun, because quickly your turn will pass to the next deserving individual.

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  1. Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    Shannon, I’ve had to work hard at convincing myself that I’m a success, and would most often duck my head and say ‘Thank You’ when someone would compliment me, and then try to change the subject.

    It wasn’t until I finally told myself that I have as much right as the next person to be considered a success that I was able to look people in the eye and truly acknowledge and accept the compliment.

    • Posted August 3, 2011 at 11:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      Randy, Thanks for your honest comment. 🙂 I think that is true for most people. There comes a time in each of our lives when we can begin to look at ourselves as worthy without feeling guilty about it. And I definitely believe it’s a part of the growth of an entrepreneur.

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