Why We Hate To Promote Ourselves

In the last week or so, I’ve begun enrolling people in the next session of my Platform Push Coaching Program on my site. And boy, has that been interesting. In a few brief encounters, I’ve learned a lot about the power of permission.

The course is demanding; it requires these coaching students to really make a commitment to building their platform. Over six months they work on creating a brand phrase and identity, creating a branded Web site, setting up media kits, head shots, developing ezines and blogs, speaker materials and media mailings. The course requires a lot, but it promises a lot, too.

So I find myself speaking to many of my registrants as they make the decision whether or not to join the program. Some are on the fence for technical reasons that are hard to overcome, but many are simply on the fence. This is how these conversations go:

ME: “Hi, it’s Suzanne calling about the Platform Push Coaching Program you were interested in.”
THEM: (Enthusiastically) Hi Suzanne!
ME: So how are your platform building efforts coming?
THEM: (Audible groan/sigh/exhalation of breath) Well… (another sigh)… I don’t know.

That audible groan comes up in nearly every phone call. Nearly every one! Rare is the person who simply says, “I’m not interested in promoting at the moment,” or even “I haven’t made time to focus on it.” Instead, there’s just the groan.

What that groan says to me is that getting known by the public scares them. Even thinking about it makes them feel small and inadequate. And yet they know that they must if they want to reach the people they’re meant to. So they feel both guilty and annoyed with themselves at the same time. (Sound familiar?)

I can relate to this completely, which is why I developed this work in the first place. It’s hard to do this stuff — not for technical reasons, but simply because of what it portends. ‘They,’ the general public, may finally know us. They might love us. Or they could potentially kick sand in our faces. And
that’s scary.

Now, there are people out there who actually love promoting themselves, and God bless them. Most of us come from this small, shy place about blowing our own horn. That’s why I almost always find myself giving the people I speak to permission to go big. Here’s how that part goes:

ME: So what’s holding you back from doing this work?
THEM: I don’t have a Web site! I don’t have anything! I feel like a rank beginner.
ME: That’s why there’s a course like this. So you don’t have to create this thing alone in a dark corner.
THEM: But can I really do it? I mean, you think I’d be able to?
ME: Sure! Why not?
THEM: Wow… really?

This is the most starting revelation of all in this process. Many of the people I speak with seem to need permission to become bigger and better known. It’s as if we’re naturally programmed to stay small and circumspect. And yet, getting better known can only help our ability serve others and give us more credibility in the marketplace.

Of course, there are those who aren’t quite ready yet to move into a bigger arena. They may not know yet whom they’re supposed to work with or just what they’re here to accomplish. Yet, most of us are truly stuck just short of this hurdle, waiting for someone, anyone, to give us the courage to get going.

If that’s you, may I urge you to take the first step and give yourself permission to go big. You have everything you need, right now, to move forward and serve others. And if you happen to be waiting for permission to move ahead, well… here it is. Consider yourself booted ahead.

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[Suzanne Falter-Barns]