Why We “Shush” Ourselves & What to do About It

2 Ways to Share Your Voice Now

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

The struggle is real people. Well, there are lots of real, “real” struggles. But I’m talking about the struggle to really put yourself out there and live in your own authenticity and power.

I don’t know about you, but I feel this is one of the most important aspects of success. There are countless stories from history where the world was changed by someone refusing to let their voice be “shushed”. Martin Luther King is one of those that come to mind, but there are many, many others. However, I also think of all the everyday people who want to make a difference and refuse to give up no matter the cost.

I’m a big fan of the ABC show Shark Tank. This is a show for entrepreneurs who bring their product or service before a panel of investors and ask for an investment in their company, in turn giving up a piece of ownership in their company. The entrepreneur not only gets the money to grow their business, but more importantly they get the skill, knowledge and expertise of a “shark”. That shark has proven themselves to be capable of earning millions or even billions of dollars.

When I first started watching this show, I was enthralled. I wanted to be a “shark”, one of the ones that get to decide and either invest or send the entrepreneur on his way. But as I’ve progressed in my own personal growth and entrepreneurial journey, I’ve come to realize that I really want to be one of those who enter the tank to present their product or service to not only the sharks, but also to the world.

The people who enter the tank are soooooo brave to me. They go in knowing they could get eaten alive (and some do!), but they go in anyway. There is something so beautiful about their belief in their product or service and them sharing their authenticity.

There are those who enter the tank who completely bomb their presentation, not because they don’t know their stuff (but there are many that truly don’t know their own numbers, target market or plan), but because they let the fear of the “tank” keep them from being their authentic selves. I’ve seen instances where people come in with an intriguing product or service, which the sharks are actually interested in, yet they just can’t get behind the person. That person is holding back. They aren’t allowing their true selves to shine through and the shark is wary. They don’t know what they are getting, so they start circling.

You see in order to achieve true success; be it in life, business, entrepreneurship, love or whatever, it requires showing your true self and being authentically you.

For so many of us, this is where the struggle starts. And I am one of those people. I am one of the people who struggle to allow my voice to be heard and to authentically share my message. I have spent the vast majority of my life behind a safety net that I constructed as a child. That safety net reminds me to be quiet.

Why do I do that? Why do I shush myself and hold myself back? I think there are two main reasons.

1. I don’t want to seem pushy. I don’t want to come across as overbearing and trying to force people to my way of thinking.

2. I don’t want to give anyone else the chance to “shush” me, make fun of me or tell me I’m wrong. I allow my protective safety net to take over and I stop speaking.

How does one overcome a life-long habit of “shushing” themselves? How do you shift from the protective mechanism to living in authenticity?

1. Develop a Desire to Change. Do you really want to jump into the shark tank and share your message? If you have that desire, then you truly can change. Knowing that you have a deep desire within yourself to be different and do something totally “you” is the starting point to bigger and better. That desire to change brings an awareness that there is something to work toward. That awareness is going to allow you to start seeing your pattern and once you see it, you can change it.

2. Be Willing to Venture Outside your Comfort Zone. You have to take that first step toward cutting a hole in the safety net and letting some small part of your authenticity show. It’s likely not going to work for you to simply shred the safety net. The net’s just going to come back the first time you are “triggered” by whatever started you building it in the first place. Start small, cut a little hole and put your foot out to test the waters. Share a small piece of your voice and authenticity. It won’t be easy and it will be scary. But once you see that none of the bad things happened, you will be able to make that hole a little bigger and stick a little more of yourself out there. And guess what, even if one of the “big bad things” does happen, you might just find that it affects you differently than it did before. You might find that it wasn’t quite so bad and you can deal with it without cringing behind your safety net.

What about you? Have you been hiding behind a safety net and shushing your voice, power and authenticity? I’d love to hear your story, comment below and tell me about it.

Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life. Grab her Free PDF, Top Tips for Successful Food Cleansing, here.

To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance.