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The Art of Exposing Oneself

Last week I launched my Mentoring Program. I’ve been sitting on this idea for six months. For whatever reason (fear, time, other projects, lack of clarity, karma) I just couldn’t get myself to launch it. Until last week.

I’ve been playing with you and creating in this online space for almost two years. Yet, I realized I had never directly invited this amazing community to work with me in any tangible way. So, I decided it was about time to finally sell something of mine here. People had been asking. It was time to deliver.

But throughout the entire process (and ongoing, as it’s not over yet) I felt like I was exposing myself. In a good way, of course, not like a creepy guy on the corner flashing people in a trench coat. Exposing myself in that way that makes you feel exhilarated and afraid one second to the next. It turns out that it’s scary to put yourself out there and say, “Hey! Here’s some truth and wisdom that I have to offer. Here’s an opportunity to hang with me more. Here’s a way we can work together. Here’s what I’ll give you. Here’s what it will take on your end.” The whole process churned my insides, showed me some ways I could love and trust more, and also thrilled me.

It took some notes on stickies throughout the launch because I had a feeling I’d want to share what I learned with you. So here’s some food for thought the next time you expose yourself whether in the form of published words, an online launch, a performance, a heart-felt truth-filled heart-to-heart, or in your journal by yourself in the wee hours of the night.

It doesn’t matter how, when, or where you expose yourself, or to whom. But it does matter that you do it from time to time or more often. Because the world desires what you’ve got. It requires all of you and that requires exposure.

  • Don’t wait until you’re ready. You’ll never be ready. You might as well tell them who you are now. No use waiting as the right time will never come. Much like having children, there’s no convenient time to show yourself.
  • Give yourself a deadline by announcing that something will be delivered to someone on a certain date at a certain time. I sent a note out to those who’d opted in to hear about the Mentoring Program to let them know they’d get details on Tuesday morning at 10am EST. Then I got my butt in gear to get those details ready to deliver. By not letting them down I didn’t let myself down.
  • Create the circumstances for you to shine. My coach, the divine Chela Davison, helped me realize that the optimal conditions for me to create great work include not having very much time to produce it. I have a boat load of examples from my life where I’ve produced my best work in an hour or two right before it was due. No more getting out the flail and beating yourself up for your creative style. Own your creative process and celebrate it. If you need three days of cleaning your sock drawer, surfing Facebook, reading magazines, and staring into space in order to sit at your computer and channel brilliance for 45 minutes, set yourself up for success and make it happen.
  • Once you press send or ship your art, let go. Turn off your phone and computer. Go to the beach and say a prayer to the ocean. Kiss your man. Take a nap. Give yourself the space and time to celebrate creation without having the results yet. Know that the act of creation and exposing your art has value in and of itself. Reviews, opt-ins, purchases, applications, tweets, and emails will come in eventually. But let yourself marinate in the work itself, uninfluenced by results.
  • When you encounter the inevitable tech glitch, botched design, screw up at the manufacturing facility, or PR mishap, first take a deep breath. Get a snack. Drink a glass of water. You’ll make far better choices when well oxygenated, hydrated, and fed. After you’ve done those things, then respond. Let people know that you’re aware of the error and that you and your team are working to fix it. Be yourself. Be humble. Don’t over apologize. One sorry is enough and even one may not be necessary. It turns out the world has more space for you to be imperfect than you give them credit for. Take the space set aside for your humanness.
  • Ask for help and then actually take it when it’s given. My man Mike filmed my sales videos, edited them, created my sales and squeeze pages, and even found custom “Apply Now” buttons in my chosen color scheme for my launch. He also listened to me as I talked through what I wanted to do for the entire launch. He offered advice, enthusiasm, and a “can do” attitude. Receiving that level of support and help required an expansion in my capacity to take in love. Sometimes the act of exposing ourselves is not a one-woman show. We often need helpers. And these helpers need to be fully received and appreciated. It’s a simple law of the universe, like what goes up must come down: that which is given must be fully received or else it can’t be fully given.
  • How you do it is what you get. Make the process fun. A book written through angst and turmoil will probably make readers feel kind of crummy even if it’s really amazing work. When something is birthed through fun and pleasure it’s entire passage is lubricated with smiles, sparkles, and ease. Our culture is obsessed with the idea that suffering buys us something, but why not try on the idea that creation that’s easy is just as valuable to the world, if not more so? Plus, given that your life is now and it’s all about the journey, why not enjoy the process since you’re using precious moments of your life to do it anyway? Let your results be a reflection of the creative process. Exposing yourself doesn’t have to be painful. Pretend like you’re a two year old running naked on the beach. Let it be fun. Let it be joyful. Let it be easy.
How have you exposed yourself lately? How did it feel? What did you put out there in the world? Any more tips on the art of exposure? Leave a comment!