008: Why You're Not Getting On Camera
The podcast dedicated to giving you a no-bullshit look at what it takes to build relationships through video. This is for the scared, the overwhelmed, and the awkward as fuck, and all those who believe diy doesn't have to mean amateur but don't know where to start ...
Welcome to the Video Matters podcast.
In this episode ...
Let’s go big today, let’s talk about the stories you’re telling yourself about why you can’t do video. Here’s the thing about stories in our heads, sometimes we don’t even know they’re there, sometimes they’re twisted versions of what actually happened, sometimes they’re not even real. Not all of them are bad, but the one’s that are, they’re usually negative as fuck, and continuing to believe in the ones that beat us up … well, unsurprisingly, it's damaging us.
I feel like there’s nothing that brings these negative stories front and centre and smacking us repeatedly in the face until we’re all red and blotchy, than when we’re putting ourselves out there and being really really visible.
Video’s great for making you feel terrible and then kicking you in the vag when you're down, because it requires you to be vulnerable and there’s very few of us that like that feeling when the stories we tell ourselves are yelling at us to back away slowly with our hands in the air. So today’s ep is all about the common stories we tell ourselves about why we aren’t getting on camera.
And yes, I’m including myself in that we, because I still have days where my stories get the better of me.
When we take the time to figure out what our brain is actually saying without our permission sometimes it’s a little scary. A bit like a toddler running around unsupervised, if that toddler is feeling crazy destructive and y’know, a bit of a dick. One thing I’ve noticed with my own brain is that it can be very mean to me, and that it’ll talk to me in a way I would never speak to another human being.
So why do I let it speak to me that way?
I’m referring to my brain as a separate entity because I think that it can be just that when it comes to the stories we believe about ourselves. These stories aren't things we’ve consciously decided on, they’re events our brain has taken and made into something that impacts us years and years after the thing that prompted them. This thing that happened in our past is still impacting us, and it can cause us to live our lives in a way that’s painful, limiting, or unhealthy. There’s a part of us that’s still there, and always will be until we figure out how to move on.
I’m a big fan of identifying and naming in order to move forward, which comes before moving on to my mind. We have to work our way through a thing before we can live it behind, right? One thing I know is that what we think, we create. We all live in our own version of reality, because the events happening around us are being perceived through the filters of our past experiences, whether we stepped on lego this morning, how much coffee we have or have not consumed, what thoughts we have running around in our heads, and a whole heap of other things that are unique to each of us. That’s how two people can experience the same thing and react to it very differently. Even more interestingly, they can remember it differently too.
What we think, we create. Our thoughts create our emotions, and our emotions drive our actions. It’s important to identify what exactly it is we’re feeling when confronted with a fear - in this case, with a camera.
- maybe it's that we don’t deserve to be seen or heard
- that what we know has no value
- that we’re too everything for video
- that we can’t compete with others in our niche
- that we’re scared of what other people will say
The end result is we don’t do video, even though our business could benefit from it. Even though that connection with our audience is something you crave. There’s an emotion driving this result, this inaction, and there’s thoughts creating these emotions. What are they?
My stories were pretty much all of these. I spent most of my life being scared of going on camera, so much so that it helped me decide to go work in the professional television industry because then I’d never have to go on camera! But I’m not actually afraid of the camera, in fact I’d say no one really is. We’re afraid of the emotion we’ll feel because of the thing we’re doing. My fear stems from my looks, or rather lack of when I was a kid. I was a short, dark haired girl who had eyes and teeth too big for my face - as my Godmother once said, I’ve really grown into my looks! I was an avid bookworm, a little too smart for my own good, and very very shy. If anyone said anything nice about me, it was about how clever I was.
My sister is blonde, she’s a beautiful adult and she was a gorgeous child, in fact she was often told she should be a model because she looked like a young Michelle Pfeiffer - and she really really did. Despite being four years younger than me, she was taller than me. But not skinnier, thankfully, I don’t need a weight issue on top of my looks issue.
Because, yep, you guessed it! I learned that my value didn’t come from my looks, or having me around. People didn’t want to spend time with me. My value came from my ability to go away and read. My sister, on the other hand, learned that her value came from her looks, not her brains. She’s now unable to believe how smart she is, and I’m often unable to believe my looks don't impact my worthiness.
Here’s the thing though, at some point you have to say yep, people screwed me up when I was a kid and it sucks. But I’m an adult now, so it’s down to me to stop perpetuating the bullshit I was fed when I was little, and start putting value on my own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions.
I need to create my own truth. And I also believe these things happen for a reason, they got me here after all.
You have to take responsibility for what you’re thinking and therefore feeling. You can’t change events and you can’t change what other people think, you certainly can’t change the past, you can only change your own thoughts and how you think about those events.
What we think, we create, remember? So if we can change how we think about something, we create a different reality.
You have to keep working on that acceptance, and that’s hard, because it means accepting that you’re the one making yourself feel like shit rather than your parents, the bullies at school, the arsehole teacher, the boss, insert person here. You’re the one slamming it into your face each time, no one else. Blaming everyone else just means you’ve given your power away, and that’s not going to help you long-term.
So when I start feeling anxious about going on camera, I take a step back and try to identify what thought my brain is thinking that’s creating that anxiety. Sometimes, my brain likes to throw me for a loop with a new version of the same thing (you’re ugly and no one cares about what you have to say), but if I can identify it I can work on changing it. It doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong, or that something’s wrong with me, it doesn’t mean that I’m bad. It just means that my brain has run riot again and I need to reel it back in to something that serves me instead of beats me up. Claim your power back.
Because you have worth, you have to decide that you want to believe in your worthiness even when others don’t agree. Especially when others don’t agree. Opinions aren’t facts, they’re just somebody’s thoughts on something. That doesn’t have to mean it’s your thought too, if you don’t want it to be. Change is scary and painful, you can’t grow without changing. And how you think about yourself is how you’re going to feel about yourself, so let me ask you: how do you want to feel about yourself on camera?
How do you want that feeling to translate through your entire body?
How are you standing?
What's the expression is on your face?
Can you start adopting any of those things now?
Be curious about why you do what you do, you have a really good reason for it, you’re not just doing it for shits and giggles. This isn’t about blame, I don’t want you to blame yourself or anyone else, just try to understand what’s causing those thoughts. Pay attention, be understanding, you can’t change your thinking until you understand it. And you can’t beat yourself into change either, it won’t last and may end up just making these stories you’re telling yourself worse because now you’ve made them even more painful. Ask me how I know.
It is possible to change how your brain thinks about these stories. It is possible to take away that stick your brain is beating you with and change the record to something more positive. It is possible to step in front of the camera with confidence. If I can do it, so can you.
Tors is a television professional, who studied all aspects of television production before launching her career spanning almost a decade. She's worked with a BAFTA nominated production team, has her own entry on imdb.com, and has even walked the red carpet several (terrifying) times.
She's had chips thrown at her by David Tennant (it was an accident, he's got terrible aim), she's interviewed some amazing actresses, and she attended the cast and crew screening of Empire Strikes Back at the grand old age of four.
Now she lives in south Wales with a large dog and a small cat, where she uses the knowledge she gained in her television years and beyond, to help online biz owners step in front of the camera and connect with their audience.