In today’s wired world, there is a lot of pressure, if not a blatant fixation on the concept of “being visible.” In fact, many of us may even question whether our experiences and opinions hold any value at all unless we are posting about them all over our social media platforms.
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And, while it makes perfect sense that we’d want to share the greatest aspects of ourselves with the rest of the world, there’s also a great power in allowing ourselves to “be invisible” at times; yet, this concept seems severely underrated these days.
In a world where many business experts and leaders constantly tell us to, “go ahead, put yourself out there and be visible,” we may start to question if we are trying hard enough, or even at all, if we’re not courageously charging our social media accounts and posting our thoughts, photos and videos at all hours of the day.
And, while many of us have genuine desires to share our successes, celebrate our lives, and keep our friends, family, and colleagues in the loop, there is a yin to every yang. In other words, there can be too much of anything – and, yes, this even includes “visibility.”
In fact, we often underestimate the vast benefit of privately basking in the glory of our own special moments, big or small, without the added distraction of visibility, or “that was cool – now, when am I going to post about it on Facebook?”
Could it be that many of our most memorable or influential moments come from times when we allow ourselves “be invisible”? After all, these are the moments when we are most present for our life experiences, as our focal points transcend the need to be visible, in exchange for full attention and connection to whatever it is we are doing.
In fact, it seems like it is within these beautiful moments of “invisibility” that our purpose transcends us – just like eloquent words transcend the pages of a talented writer, or a powerful speech transcends the presence of an impactful speaker, masterful art transcends the canvas of the gifted artist, or an interesting character transcends the personality of the actor herself.
Yet, all too often, we tend to forget that our most invisible moments connect us to our highest purposes, in present time – where our output naturally unfolds the most brilliantly, whether we are outwardly visible or not.
Think about the last time you sat in front of the ocean, on top of a high mountain peak, or walked down a busy sidewalk street, somewhere in a huge cosmopolitan city. During these moments, how much did your visibility really matter to you?
As you took-in the views and almost overwhelming feelings of this world’s momentum and pulse, were you yearning to be visible, or simply elated to be a part of something greater than yourself?
Chances are, if you were open enough to absorb the true spirit of any impactful moment, you may have received a flash insight that catapulted you forward; and it may have even felt like it was coming from somewhere seemingly beyond yourself.
You might have been so connected to the moment, that the idea of posting about it on Facebook or Instagram didn’t even cross your mind.
This, my friends, is the power of what happens when we allow ourselves to “be invisible” from time-to-time.
So, before we rush into making our lives, plans and aspirations visible for the entire world to see, I’d like to spend some time highlighting a few other important, yet subtle, states of being that seem to often go unnoticed (no pun intended):
Not all our steps are meant for outward visibility; but rather, are simply meant to prepare us for our own readiness to tackle whatever is next. Let’s face it, the full picture of success isn’t always clear and visible all the time.
There are progressive steps along the way that make-up a more complete picture, and each step prepares us for the next.
It’s important to recognize the merit in taking our time, so processes can unfold without force.
This might mean keeping our plans and ideas to ourselves, while we grow and develop to successfully execute them, whenever we are ready.
Ironically, visibility typically comes effortlessly when we are prepared for it. This means we’ll want to put effort into mastering our crafts, so whatever we deliver offers a real value to the world, or serves a clear purpose.
And, more often than not, this sort of development takes time.
Before we attempt to broadcast our plans to the rest of the world, we may want to consider how we are setting ourselves up for the spotlight. For instance, are we prepared to produce a finished product, or simply feeling pressured to produce something because of a premature announcement?
Seriously, shut-up and don’t say or write a word for at least an hour every day. From there, work up to two hours, and maybe even try and stretch it from there. Remember, if we are talking, then we aren’t listening, and listening is how we learn and create.
So, what is our average ratio in terms of how much we are talking, versus how much we are listening? I tend to think our answer to this question will look equivalent to our actual learning dexterity. The world has so much to tell us, and we can only hear and observe it if we quite our minds and receive the information.
The world is just plain more interesting when we begin to open ourselves up to new approaches, techniques, and perspectives. After all, we already know what we know, so why not be open to what we don’t know?
Think of how much more collaborative and receptive the world around us might be if we were willing to observe it more often. What important pieces of information might we notice if we attempted to look beyond our own noses?
Evolving into the experts we envision requires a willingness to take a step back and be a student, or contribute to the experts around us, first.
So, instead of looking for visibility, we may want to ask ourselves how we can be of service to our surroundings.
How can we help an important cause or person within our fields or organizations, so we can make a difference, all while learning throughout the process?
If we expect to be taught, then we may want to show our own willingness to learn.
How often is our focus on everything that is wrong in our lives, or at our jobs, instead of everything that is right?
And, how can we expect ourselves to exude a powerful presence amongst other people, when we are incapable of describing what we really want, and instead, routinely complain about the things we don’t want?
In a world where too much attention is focused on problems, our visibility will naturally escalate if we can teach ourselves to look for possibilities, even amongst our most challenging times.
And, last but not least…
Before we put a lot of effort into stepping into visibility, we may want to ask ourselves, who are we being? Are we being ourselves without effort, or are we just plain trying too hard?
Better yet, how much are we attaching our own personal identities to the things we do, instead of allowing what we do to stem from who we actually are – our gifts, what we value, and what is really important to us?
And finally, what’s most important to us anyway – experiencing the moments or our lives, or waiting to tell everyone that we did?
There’s a vast power to silently basking in the glory of our own moments, taking them all in, and knowing they are important, whether we choose to make them visible or not.
Better yet, just because something isn’t visible to everyone else, doesn’t mean it isn’t vastly important to us.
In fact, so often, it’s the things we make invisible to everyone that actually do matter to us the most.
How’s that for introspection?
So, how might your focus and attention shift, if you paid more attention to the power of your being invisible, instead of always working towards being visible?
Better yet, what invisible things of your own could stand to get a little more of your own attention before you seek to get attention from everyone else?