Shifting from obligation to delight

small business visibility blocks visibility habits Aug 11, 2023

This week I've been speaking to a number of people whose visibility efforts have been feeling - to them - very effortful. They were feeling weighed down with a sense of obligation and thoughts of what they 'had' to do.

No human being likes to feel forced into doing something. We all like to feel at choice. We like to feel like we're in the driver's seat of our own lives.

So in those moments of feeling like you 'have' to do something, it's critical that you find a way to shift out of duty or obligation and into choice and delight. Otherwise you may just never get around to doing that thing you decided to do to be more visible.

You may have heard business advice about finding ways to delight and surprise your customers or clients. This helps with word of mouth, it helps with customer loyalty, and it's just generally a lovely thing to do.

However, it's really difficult to do if you're not feeling delighted and surprised yourself.

So it's important to step into that space when you've otherwise been stuck in obligation.


One quick shift I heard from Gretchen Rubin is shifting your language from, 'I have to do this' to 'I get to do this'.

Another is to ask; What would make this fun? What would make this joyful?

Another is to check the stories you're telling yourself about why you're doing something. Often our stories about why we 'should' be doing something can seem nonsensical when brought into the light of awareness. And simply seeing them can, in and of itself, can cause the shift you need.

Or sometimes we need to clear them out. EFT/Tapping is a good method for this (once you've identified the stories).

Or we might need to work methodically through our stories and ask ourselves; 'Is this really true? Is this really true for me?' and decide which to perpetuate and which to drop.

Here's an example of what that looks like;

Let's say you've been telling yourself that you must do live videos. That this is critical to being more visible in the world.

But you're feeling resistance to doing them.

Here's how you could use the options I've laid out above:

1. You remind yourself, I get to make live videos (reminding yourself that this is a choice you're making and opening up to the possibility that this is a gift you're giving yourself)

2. Ask yourself; what would make live videos fun for me?

3. Write down all the stories you have about why you 'must' do live videos

4. Clear out the stories you no longer want to be attached to (there are many methodologies for this, EFT/Tapping is just one)

5. Truth test your stories. Let's say one of your stories is that this is the only way to really connect with your audience. Check in; Is this true? Is this really true for me?

Asking it in these two ways is really helpful. The first phrasing points to a more general idea of what's truthful. You might look at your story that live video is the only way to really connect with your audience and think, 'What nonsense!' Or you might think, 'Yes, that does generally seem to be true'.

The important thing is you then follow up with the second question which helps to narrow in on your most most natural way of being visible. In asking whether it's true for you, you might decide that even it's a good marketing strategy overall, it's not one that you can stay true to or will ever feel excited about doing.

For me personally, I have convened many live stream videos over the years, but as a highly sensitive I find the environment of live streaming really distracting and draining from a sensory processing perspective. So pre-recorded videos work better for me. As I'm recording a video I'm generally trying to thread together multiple ideas and convey them in the clearest way possible. That works 100% better for my brain if I'm not also trying to respond to comments or getting distracted by the social media landscape. You might be the same, or you might be the complete opposite. And that's as it should be.

I'm not at all keen on shoehorning you into a visibility approach which isn't in alignment for you. What I do want if you for you find your best way to be visible. The question of 'Is this true for me?' is one step toward that.

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