We are all biologically programmed to fit in. According to social psychology, “the need to belong is an intrinsic motivation.” So, doing something embarrassing or that makes us stand out can feel absolutely, positively terrifying, because it goes against belonging. At the heart of it, being embarrassed is equivalent to feeling rejected or like we don’t belong, which can be scary enough to paralyze us. Angie Lee says do it anyway.
Lee is a podcast host, Instagram presence, event organizer, and a soon-to-be author who continuously preaches the importance of being willing to be embarrassed. “Here’s the thing: no one is going to do it well on the first go. So I always ask people, are you willing to have a really bad first draft? Are you willing to suck at first for your dream?” she posed.
Everyone Is Embarrassed At First
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine the people you look up to most ever once putting out bad content, but Lee says everyone has a really bad first few tries. “Everyone successful who you look up to had to be a beginner at one point, which means they had to be embarrassed,” she explained. “Being embarrassed is the starting point in which all successful people begin. There’s no way around it.” She goes so far as to say that actually, you’re doing something wrong if your first attempt doesn’t suck.
It’s not going to be easy at first, and embarrassment is a rite of passage for any beginner. So, you have to be willing to be embarrassed and just press “post” anyway. “I always tell people, too – what’s the worst that can happen? You can always launch again if no one purchases your course. You can always publish another podcast episode if no one downloads the first,” Lee offers. “You’ll consistently show up and get better every time.”
Angie Lee Started From Zero, Too
Forever a fan of helping beginners see the journey laid out in front of them, Lee is fully transparent about her own journey and where she started from. Because, newsflash, she also didn’t begin with everything figured out. Her podcast, the Angie Lee Show, currently has over 10 million downloads and she has just under 100,000 Instagram followers, but she started from zero, too. She also started as both a college and a corporate dropout.
Lee shares that her original numbers were as follows:
Her first live event had 15 women.
Her first speech had an audience of 10.
Her first podcast episode had 75 downloads.
Her first blog post had 6 readers (but one was her mom).
Her first live webinar had 3 women.
Her first course had five sign ups.
Her first product had 12 customers.
“I share this because the secret is to keep writing even when no one is reading and keep recording even when no one is listening, and to be okay with it if there are total crickets whenever you put something out there,” she encouraged. This is where showing up comes in. “I kept showing up over and over and over again. People wonder what the secret is to success? It’s being embarrassed but showing up consistently, even if that embarrassment and fear continues to linger.”
But, what about once the followers start coming in?
Beyond starting and being embarrassed about the crickets and the bad first drafts, there’s another fear, too — embarrassed about what people will think of you when they start consuming your content in hoards. Sure, it’s one type of embarrassment to have scant likes on your post announcing your new business. But, it’s another when you’re worried that people are going to judge you or that they don’t like what you’re putting out.
“What I need people to know is that it’s actually selfish to not share your gift. I’ve often felt like putting myself out there for the world to see on social media is similar to feeling like you’re naked. But there’s something even more terrifying: waking up five years from now in the same place you are today because you were too scared to BE embarrassed and to be seen,” she noted.
The truth is, some people aren’t going to like what you put out. But most people will. “I tell people to think of Instagram likes as not just ‘likes’, but heartbeats,” Lee explained. “There’s a person behind that who needs what you have to give. They have a problem that you can solve.”
Whenever you’re worried about being embarrassed, or fighting through the embarrassment you’re currently feeling in your beginning stages, Lee says to think about those heartbeats who you’re out to help AND the version of you that’s five years in the future. Do it for them. Because, simply put, you can’t make a massive impact or make any progress towards your dreams unless you’re willing to be totally embarrassed.