Help – My baby is ugly!

downloadEvery time I write a deeply personal blog I get wracked by self-doubt.  On a self-doubt scale ranging from ‘a smidgen’ to ‘paralysing’, this leans far towards the latter.

I always question whether this will be valuable for my readers?  Am I getting too personal (it’s a blog – not group therapy!).  I feel vulnerable and fear being judged.  I call this suite of symptoms the ‘My baby is ugly’ syndrome: the fear people might find our precious output unsightly.

It’s a shadowy world to inhabit even briefly and stops us from challenging ourselves.  A couple of things have helped me.  The first is to run stuff past a trusted mentor.  I often ask Kath Walters, friend, veteran journalist and content guru, for her opinion.  Kath also shoots straight from the hip, which is exactly what I need when plagued by self-doubt.  Life is full of naysayers; to balance it out we all need some ‘truth-sayers’: people who have the courage to call it as it is.  They’ll tell you if your baby is ugly, or let you know when your fear is distorting reality.

People respond strongly when I get personal, as you can see herehere and here, and I feel the same way – I love more personal blog posts.  We can all relate to honest expressions about the vulnerability and frailty of being human (the challenge is in being the one that puts it out there).  However the responses I get from my audience give me swathes of courage.  On the courage meter this is off the charts.

What ugly babies have you grappled with?  Please share – I love hearing from you.

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  • Reply

    Yamini, this is a great post! I didn’t realize this feeling had a name- “Ugly Baby Syndrome” – it’s perfect.

    As musician & composer I deal with this fairly often. What if people think my new tune is boring? Dull? Sounds like somebody else/better/more famous? What if a performance doesn’t go the way I planned – will people hate it?

    I recorded my first solo CD recently, and the track selection process was an emotional roller coaster, ranging from “this is great!” to “I think I’m gonna puke!”. I did enlist the help of a few trusted friends to evaluate each potential track and give me their opinion. As a result, the final CD was both a more cohesive musical experience, a better reflection of the actual live performance, and more risky in terms of including a track that I thought was much less than perfect (but many people really loved it).
    But even now that it’s “out there” I still secretly wonder – do people think my “baby” is cute, or ugly?

    Thanks for sharing, Yamini!

    • Yamini Naidu

      Joanne thank you so much for sharing all of us have performance anxiety and as artist this ‘ugly baby’ syndrome must afflict most creatives. I am sure your babies are beautiful and thanks for having the courage to face your demons and put your work out there.
      Best wishes for your continued success.

  • Andrea

    Thanks Yamini, I vote for personal. The personal is often more interesting, and we react more emotionally to it as in most instances we can relate, making us feel ‘normal’. Over the years I have found sharing my experiences of anxiety with people in different forums have been exceptionally rewarding. Being someone who on the surface seems strong and fearless, sharing a vulnerable part of myself, although sometimes a very scary thing to do, has given other people the opportunity to relate. Hopefully it has in a very small way contributed to making anxiety something that we can talk about, reducing the stigma. I think it’s important though to differentiate between the personal and the private. Personal are the common human experiences and emotions to which we can all relate. Private can move into the space where it becomes uncomfortable and feels like ‘over-sharing’.

    • Yamini Naidu

      Andrea love your distinction between personal and private very powerful and important. Also having that distinction might give more leaders the courage to share personal vulnerabilities and learnings, so we all grow by sharing our humanity.
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      Best wishes

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