Putting yourself out there...

posted on: Tuesday, 3 February 2015

I'm a natural introvert. My friend Sarah disputes this as she associates introverts with the socially inept, shy and trembling in the corner. I am not shy but I am reticent. I am an observer and it's not normal for me to put myself out there. Yet when comfortable, I can be positively chatty and open. Almost extroverted. However, too much social interaction fatigues me and I then long to be alone. It's a curious balance.

Writing this blog has forced me to put myself out there, although it's been very much on my terms. Written anonymously; I rarely share pictures of myself or my family, that part of me that is kept very separate from what I post here. I don't tell people I meet that I blog and can go cold at the prospect of everyone I know in the 'real world' reading this anthology of my thoughts. I fall somewhere between public and private.

A while back I started a small business called L'Apothecary and for a while I completely put myself out there. I learnt an enormous amount from it and though the business itself reverted to a kitchen table exercise for me (I still take bespoke orders), it did illustrate what it can feel like to start something, believe in it passionately and then stop (fail). Did it fail? I made choices about it, which in retrospect where sensible ones. But nevertheless when I read back on blog posts I wrote at the time, I see the germ of something that could have been something and I wonder, did I do the right thing in walking away? I also see many people around me starting new ventures and making them succeed, all the time evolving them from one thing to another. I feel a combination of awe and envy.

I do wonder whether all that time I spent in a corporate environment was the polar opposite of putting myself out there. It was safe and sheltered and though I had massive responsibility in my job, I recognise that I did it under the umbrella of a corporate structure. Not a house of straw but a house of iron. It was a household-name company so ultimately if everything went wrong, there were always lawyers who could sort it all out! The only times I recall really putting myself out there was when I had an ethical objection to something which was being proposed. This happened increasingly towards the end of my time there. In fact in the end it became a symptom of why I had to leave; if you are not playing the same tune, corporate life can become swiftly less comfortable!

I have come full circle as I now seriously consider embarking on going back to University to study writing. I'll be putting myself out there again, as strange as that might feel to me. Strange but good.

The funny thing is (and this is what I have noticed about myself) in recent times, the less I put myself out there, the more life seemed to scare me.

I want it to be the other way around. Life shouldn't scare me! Time to get busy.


  1. This post really resonates for me. Like you, I am not a natural at " putting myself out here". My confidence levels have to be coaxed over time with reassurance and trust. This is one of the things I find the hardest with my new venture. I believe in what I do, love creating the designs, it matters to me, but having to do the hard sell fills me with dread. I hope you will take the step and enroll on that writing course, and, if you don't enjoy it, no big deal, we put ourselves under such pressure to be a "big success" at things, when just having a go is an adventure in itself. Xx

  2. I absolutely agree, and the older you get the harder it is to put yourself out there and the scarier it gets..... as Pablo Neruda says, you start dying slowly 'If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain'........

  3. I have just really put myself out there professionally, joining a very small group of people (and even fewer women). In order to get there I have on my desk a quote my 14 year old daughter gave me last year "you cannot always wait for the perfect time, sometimes you must dare to jump". I am so glad I did. I love reading your blog and would encourage you to follow your dreams - I will read anything you write. Amanda x

  4. Going back to school for writing...now THAT scares me. I'm in awe.

  5. I couldn't have written the first paragraph about myself. I'm the exact same way. My friends don't see me that way, but it's true.

  6. I understand what you say, Lou...and I am that same person you talk about in your opening paragraph...I think your business idea L'Apothecary was and still is a fabulous idea...I loved your face oils...I'm not sure how long you were doing this but I thought it was a great concept. From the time I began my business 2010 to present day the change has been enormous not only in the business but in me too...it takes so much longer than you envisage to create a brand and business...identify what your goals are, what type of business/lifestyle you wish to create and I really believe with constant work and application (and I'm not suggesting for one minute you didn't do all this) I think anything is possible. Perhaps, all of your past has brought you to the present and your writing, which is always great to read and thought provoking too...good luck with your course...you'll be a STAR! xx

  7. I'm experiencing this struggle, in my own life. I consider myself a private person; but I'm also extremely open, and trusting.
    My business venture is just beginning. I've made many mistakes, and missteps; but each one has taught me something valuable; as cliche as it sounds. I started down this path, and I know I'll be travelling it to the end.