Visibility Hangover: Normalizing Authentic Self-Expression Via Public Content

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A post shared by George Kao (@geokao)

If you’ve ever built up the courage to actually publish your videos, you’re familiar with the feeling of absolute mortification… the fear and discomfort that comes immediately after the pressing publish.

“Oh my God, this thing is out there, and I don’t look as good as I thought I looked… or sound as good… or seem as smart…” or any other judgment you put on yourself. 

We might call this a “visibility hangover”!

Why does it happen, and how can we overcome it?

First of all, it’s (mostly) normal

If you’ve experienced a visibility hangover, welcome to the club. For most of us heart-based solopreneurs, it’s completely normal to feel this way after posting content, especially video.

The only people who might not relate to this are individuals who grew up with a camera constantly in their faces — kids these days who grow up recording everything. For those of us who didn’t, the feeling is intense, at times almost paralyzing.

I used to hate doing videos…

It might be surprising to know this, given how many videos I make, but I used to be a big skeptic about the value of video content. 

From 2009 to 2014, I repeatedly told everyone that video would never be a significant thing online… why? 

Because secretly, I was mortified to be on camera.

The (long) and windy road to Acceptance

It took me many videos — perhaps 30 — before I ceased to be really embarrassed by them. And then another 30 or so videos before I stopped being somewhat embarrassed. 

Still, to this day, there are many moments when I upload a video and think, “That wasn’t as good as it could have been!”

The feelings linger, but now, they are easier to manage.

Due to continued practice I eventually become a huge fan of making authentic videos, as I kept seeing its power to build and nurture my ideal audience.

Ignoring the inner critic

The more you practice ignoring that inner critic that fuels your “visibility hangover,” the softer that voice becomes, and the more resilient you grow.

Eventually, you reach a point where you can graciously thank your inner critic for its concern… and proceed with your authentic self-expression anyway.

Ignoring the inner critic doesn’t just make video-making easier; it brings about an authentic self-confidence and sense of empowerment that spills into various other areas of your business and life.

Get support: start small

If the journey seems intimidating, you’re not alone. Consider forming a small, supportive community where you can share your video content privately at first.

(I happen to offer a video course that comes with a private Facebook group where you can practice posting as many videos as you’d like: Authentic Video Creation Course.)

Whether you take my course or not is beside the point. What matters is that you create a supportive environment to practice setting aside your inner critic, posting your videos, keeping those videos published… and then publishing more!

Through repeated, self-compassionate exposure to vulnerability hangovers, you learn to masterfully work with it. You become more powerful over time — in your business, and in your life.