Are You Afraid of Your Shadow?

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As a little kid I was afraid of many things, but I was especially afraid of the dark. Instead of using a little night light, I slept all night with the overhead light glaring down on me. Dark rooms were bad, but the scariest thing for me was pulling down my shades at night. I absolutely hated looking out the window into the darkness. I was convinced someone would pop up out of the blackness into my window pane.

I made up all kinds of rituals not to look out those blasted windows which included everything from crawling to standing backwards while pulling down the shades. The idea someone was lurking out there in the dark, someone awful, someone who wanted to hurt me was totally terrifying. Luckily, it never happened. Nor was it likely to ever happen since we lived across the street from a massive cow field.

As entrepreneurs we also live in fear of darkness, but it’s not the darkness outside our windows, it’s the darkness inside of us. We live in terror our most undesirable traits will be exposed. Like me and my window shades, we create little rituals to avoid them. Carl Jung talked about our shadow traits as those parts of ourselves we deem bad and which we try to keep hidden from the outside world. But here’s the thing, often our shadow traits can be our greatest strengths.

You see, shadows cannot exist with out light. There is always a flip side to those pesky demons. For example, it may be bad to be pushy or domineering in some situations, but those qualities can come in very handy under the right circumstances. Wouldn’t you be glad to be somewhat pushy if you were advocating for a family in need?

As women, we tend to shy away from what we see as our shadow traits because they feel too intense, too strong. As a result, we constantly try to hide them or tone them down. What would happen if instead we embraced our shadows, if we leaned into the intensity?  We’d start to stand out and that’s what the real fear is about. However, standing out is what leaders do, it’s how strong brands are made and it’s how businesses attract the attention of their target markets.

I’m not suggesting we throw caution to the wind and let our inner jerks run rampant. We need the light and the dark. In singing there term for the balance of light and dark in the voice called chiaroscuro. A voice that has a good blend of the two is warm and rich, yet still has the edge and bite to cut through the orchestra. The same balance of light and dark that makes a voice exciting is what makes a brand unique and stand above the competition.

Instead of being something to fear, your shadow can be your greatest ally. When you tap into all of who you are, your brand starts to take on supernatural powers. I invite you now to embrace your shadow and feel the thrill of the dark side!

 As always, I love hearing from you. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind!

What gifts does your dark side offer?

What tricks do you use to boost your confidence when you are feeling insecure?

Post your answers below in the comments or find me on Facebook.

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Heather Poduska is a Reach certified personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach who helps women entrepreneurs create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses.
To learn even more about Heather and the Clear Voice Branding System click the link.