Thursday, November 12, 2015

And Now for Something Completely Different: Self-Promotion and HSPs on the Radio!


Many HSPs-- whether self-employed or otherwise-- struggle with the concept of promoting themselves. For a large number of reasons, we find the idea of "tooting our own horns" distasteful, in some ways.

Elaine Aron and Barrie Jaeger, both, allude to this in their books on HSPs when it comes to our work life... many of us end up "underemployed" because we don't stand up and sell ourselves to get a well-deserved promotion, or even to let people know about our talents and capabilities.

Many HSPs work in creative fields-- as artists, musicians, performers, writers and more. I'm one of those... and like many of my peers, I have struggled with "promoting myself."

"Promotion" sounds so... pushy... to me. Brings to mind insurance salesmen and used car dealers who scream at me from their home made advertisements on TV.

Of course, that's really just unfair stereotyping. And the fact remains that if you have a talent, or service, or art, or something else creative... unless you're willing to let people KNOW what you have, and allow yourself to be SEEN, nobody's going to even know that your marvelous creative "thing" even exists. The point being, nobody's going to magically show up at your front door, just because you "made something."

In my almost 20 years of studying the HSP trait, it's a common source of suffering for many self-employed highly sensitive persons that "nobody sees us," so we end up working hard for little reward. In doing so, we overlook the basic fact that we are partially to blame because we are almost afraid to "sell ourselves."

A couple of days ago, my wife (also an HSP) and I were having a discussion about this very thing... and remarked on the way many HSPs almost UN-sell themselves by downplaying the value of what they have to offer ("Oh, it's nothing... just something I play with now and then..."), rather than openly sharing it.

I am not excluding myself here... in fact, both my wife and I suffer from some degree of "unselling ourselves" in our various ventures-- she with her counseling and life coaching, radio show and healing organization... me with my writing, with my art and with my collectibles business.

Perhaps the first thing to keep in mind is that the "ugly" part of self-promotion (those loud car dealers, mattress shops and insurance salesmen) are not representative of authentic self-promoting with integrity. There's really nothing distasteful about letting people know that "I'm an artist, and this is my work" or "I'm a writer, and this is what I do."

This means we have to be willing to "be seen," and that means stepping outside our comfort zones.

Part of this post is about me stepping outside my comfort zone: I am going to do something that is FAR from my normal approach to things: I am going to be on the radio!

Now, granted, this is "baby steps."

My wife Sarah (yes, she IS an HSP, but more of the "HSS" variety) has a bi-weekly radio show, and she's doing "HSP month" and talked me into being on the show, since I have been studying the trait for a long time.

Yes, it's fairly "safe" because it's an interview done my someone I know and love, BUT it's still me allowing myself to "be heard" by a worldwide audience of thousands of people. Not only that, part of the show is going to be about "my creativity" (my art-- the hand painted mandala stones in the photo) not just about "the HSP trait." And that's the scary part... I'm not just on the air as a sort of "expert witness," but to talk about something creative that is near and dear to my heart.

That's where we HSPs-- especially the ones in creative and artistic fields-- must find the courage to stand up and "be seen" and "be counted" and get over our concerns that what we have to offer doesn't have value to the world-- it DOES.

So, I'd like to invite everyone to listen in (the show first aired on November 12th at 7:00pm US Eastern time/4:00pm US Pacific time)... to a couple of HSPs chatting on the radio! Don't worry if you missed it, or couldn't listen at that time-- the show archives instantly after it ends.

You can hear the archived version by clicking the ► below:


Talk back! How do YOU-- as an HSP-- deal with "self-promotion?" Have you missed opportunities in your life because you failed to "speak up" when you had something to offer? Do you wrestle with idea that your work isn't "good enough," even when it is clearly the best? Are you in a creative field, but struggle to promote your writing, art or other talents? Help start a conversation! Please leave a comment!

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  1. YES! I have always felt I have a lot of wisdom to offer, but I struggled - no, I battled - to figure out how to use my voice. Then after some deep personal pain I felt more free to say what I needed to say, but I didn't know how. Watching the movie Frozen was like watching my life - all but the last scene. That last scene called to me and said - "It's time to offer yourself to the world in LOVE." So I decided to sacrifice my own comfort so I could release my true voice freely - without holding back. I started writing and speaking and now I have a book coming out about my story this winter called UNFROZEN: Stop Holding Back and Release The Real You - The unexpected path to connected relationships and extraordinary impact. Guess how hard it is for me to say that?! But I say it because I want to see young women offer the fullness of who they are rather than holding back in fear. So thanks for this article and how you use your voice to comfort and encourage/challenge other HSP's.

  2. Bravo, Peter! Your mandala stones are BEAUTIFUL; I'm so happy you are selling them! Yes, it is hard for HSPs to put our art out into the world and to toot our horn. Especially shy and introverted HSPs! I have an Etsy store also, but have yet to screw up the courage to display my paintings as well as my journals. Keep creating and keep putting out the good vibrations out; they will have a ripple effect. Have you seen the HSP movie "SensItives" yet? Looks good!

  3. Thank you for sharing Peter! a) your stones are gorgeous... keep on rockin' it:) and b) self promotion as an HSP has been extremely challenging partly because I live in a world that will only give lots of attention to the louder personality types AND I'm in a position as an entrepreneur to have to 'get reach' in order to survive. From my experience, I've expended tremendous energy in putting myself out there only to find that as an HSP I'm so marginalized by default in our culture that my effort amounts to nearly nothing... incredibly discouraging when I see my loud mouthed acquaintances bat their eyelashes and have all kinds of opportunity flow their way.

  4. Love, love your stones and your post. It is so sad when the art seems to come easy, the writing just flows and I know I can do the job but as an HSP, I let so many opportunities just slide on past.

  5. Great post Peter! I love the openness and intent for progress and growth you share in all your writings.

    As someone who has battled a fear of self promotion and defeated it in many ways this is a topic that is particularly interesting to me.

    Like you I struggled with the feeling of appearing too pushy like a sleazy car salesman. But since I was determined to succeed I forced myself to do almost every form of marketing out there. In this process I had a number of learnings:

    1. Sales is not just about pitching what I have but it is also about understanding what the other needs. As an HSP this is something I have an advantage in naturally. If I prepare by developing my thoughts about my prospective customers into a simple framework I can share--where they are, what they need, what will help I become indispensable. As the world shifts from caveat emptor to caveat venditor this seems to be the only way to build long term customer relationships
    2. A lot of what I assumed was a fear of marketing was my unconsciousness about my level overstimulation. Realizing this helped me look for ways to better manage my overstimulation (self care) and use my overstimulation in #3
    3. All my overstimulation was coming from an extremely fast intake of external information. If I can slow down and process the information speed, in it are actually ideas of how I could meet others needs [and self promote] even better.
    4. I held myself to a high unrealistic perfectionist standard which made my overstimulation worse. But that was just a disservice to the world. As you said we must "get over our concerns that what we have to offer doesn't have value to the world-- it DOES." Understanding and developing a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset about my business and my abilities helped with this.

    I do hope this adds to the conversation. :)


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