Reader QUIT: Hiding from the World (by Sarah Goshman)

No photos pleaseFolks, I have a confession to make.

I’ve written and erased subject lines for Reader Quit articles more often than Cordelia’s Mom comments on her blog. (Which is so insanely adorable, isn’t it???)

For over a year now, I’ve known I wanted to write for Cordelia’s blog, but I can never settle on a topic.

I look at all the other guest posters and think, “Wow, they know what they want and what they’re doing, and they’re making it happen. Too bad I just don’t know. Maybe after I get my website all finished and work with some clients and really figure out what it is that I do, exactly, I’ll be able to write a Reader Quit as good as theirs.”


Do you see the problem?

It’s all fear stuff. It’s a way of hiding myself from the world.

And I’m so over it.

And So It Goes

I’ve been doing the same kind of hiding in my business. I get really excited about talking about lifestyle design, marketing, and connecting in a new way, and then I utterly freak the fuck out.

“Wait, if I talk about marketing at all, I’m going to be a marketing person forever and ever and ever, and I don’t even like the word marketing. Or lifestyle design! Maybe I’m doing this all wrong. I need to write new copy!”

You guys. I’ve been writing my website copy for A YEAR. It has been on my to-do list since before I quit my job last June.

And as someone who helps people put themselves and their thing out into the world, this is completely and utterly embarrassing.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve said to a friend or client, “It’s okay if the sales page isn’t perfect. If it’s a sticking point for you, just put something up for now. You have permission to change it later, but your people can’t work with you until you tell them how.”

*head smack*

It’s All About the Trust

I notice in clients that these kinds of sticking points often indicate self-confidence issues. And I am no different. (I never thought I had self-confidence issues until I started a business, and then it turned into a self-confidence issues open house party up in here.)

And this is totally legitimate. Putting oneself out there can be terrifying. Many of us are taught, through school or family or what have you, that we can never let anyone see our flaws. Only our game faces will do.

But when it comes down to crafting a life and business that are the truest expressions of your essence, then it’s the imperfections—the things that make you different—that matter most.

The Moral of the Story

Well, guys, if you’ve been hanging around here long enough, I’m sure you can already smell the moral of this one by now.

(Can one smell morals? I’m not sure, but it sounded good.)

My website, my business, my life…it’s all a work in progress. There is no perfection to be reached.

But by holding myself back until everything is “ready,” I’m not giving myself the opportunity to do the work I was meant to do in the world.

My right people are not suddenly going to find me because I’ve written the perfect site copy. They’re going to find me when I stop hiding and start showing up in the world.

What I Need

I need a lot of permission with this Quit. I’m still allowed to change my site copy. This, in fact, is not failure; it’s learning. When I work with people, I get to incorporate the things I learned about working with them into how I want to work with other folks in the future.

And at the same time, this Quit requires a lot of courage, too…because I have to start putting myself out there, where people can see me. Vulnerabilities and all.

I need to embrace the uncertainty that comes with a new business and trust that my right people will get it and accept me how I am.

Blazing new trails is scary, but blazing them in one’s backyard is selfish and small. It’s a way of hiding oneself away from the world and preventing your help from getting to the people who need it.

So here I am, gentle audience. Beautifully and imperfectly here.

Won’t you join me?


Sarah GoshmanSarah Goshman is a unconventional life and marketing coach and mindful badass who likes to help freaks, geeks, and creative people design lives and businesses that are unique and delightfully their own. She’s offering a special discount to Cordelia’s readers for her upcoming class on Talking to Fear. You can also find her making bad jokes and sharing weird things on Twitter @sarahemily.


Interested in submitting a Reader Quit of your own? Check out how here.


Image:   mafleen

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  • Cie

    I’m so psyched to see a guest post from Sarah! A great way to start my day.

    • Thanks, Cie!! Miss you. Totally forgot you read CCIQ – yay!

  • Cordelia’s Mom

    For whatever it’s worth, you have my permission to be imperfect and having self-confidence issues. God knows, I changed my newly created site so many times I thought I would crash the whole system! Whenever I have doubts, I just go to someone who’s already been there, done that (Cordelia!) and the extra encouragement always gets me through. You’re already a success – you don’t have to be perfect.

    • Woohoo!! Thanks, Cordelia’s Mom. 🙂 I love that permission.

  • I’m endlessly fascinated by how starting a business impacts a person and everyone they encounter. My self-confidence issues were actually (mostly) solved when I started my biz in March last year. I am human though, so I have my own self-confidence house parties from time-to-time.

    And by the way, I’m disappointed in myself that I’ve never made this association before. Do you think you could make Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” your unofficial album until you “figure it all out?”

    “I don’t know where I’m going. But, I sure know where I’ve been. Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday. And I’ve made up my mind. I ain’t wasting no more time. But, here I go again. Here I go again…”

    I’m excited to see where you’re going, Sarah! Take me along for part of the ride, will ya?:)

    • Definitely sounds like a good theme song for me, Joel. Happy to have you along for the ride, too!

  • This sentence is too important to ignore – “Blazing new trails is scary, but blazing them in one’s backyard is selfish and small.” That one will stick with me.

    Congrats on reaching your goal to submit this post! I like the vulnerability in your writing — I think you’re going to connect with a lot of people and build trust because of your transparency (and thus, help them better).

    • michaelwroberts

      That last line really struck me, too. A great challenge to get out there and do something. It’s not a matter of just working up courage. It’s not being selfish with what we can uniquely offer.

  • A lot of what you say here speaks to me, Sarah. The impulse to hide is one I fight, with varying degrees of determination and success, every day, as is the desire to make things perfect before I let them out into the world. So I am absolutely the wrong person to be giving any kind of advice on the subject! But you can have lots and lots of permission and support from me to do what you need to do 🙂