Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stop Being Invisible

The Invisible Man had a, unnoticeably, hard life. On one hand (when he could see it), he could operate undetected his clandestine tasks. On the other, he went about life relatively unnoticed. It is like you are a superhero, and nobody know you exist, or somebody more expressive steals your identity (and credit that goes with it). Thankfully, somebody noticed him eventually, too late for him to enjoy post-humous, Hollywood and publishing royalties based on his biography.

How many of you live your life invisibly?

I have heard the excuse of the recluse: ‘I just want to stay humble. It is the culture here: Don’t stand out too much. Avoid being loud.’ They sorely missed the point. Humility and humbleness are different values that you can exercise. Humble usually leads to grumble, in my observation.

Take the backseat, or drive the car! It is your choice. If you think somebody will steal your job, you are probably right – and because you allowed them to. If you think you are valuable and relevant still, you probably are. Back up that faith in yourself with concrete competencies and confidence. Nobody can MAKE you DO what you refuse to, unless you relinquished your decision-making ability!

My close friend, Kenneth last night shared with me this recent anecdote. He asked an interviewee for an administrative position: ‘How do you think you will add value to this company?’ She looked liked she had great difficulty with this question. She could not articulate herself clearly and lacked confidence. Most jobs evolve through time. Job descriptions and job scopes will expand and become distinct. Ken was patient and generous to spend some time coaching her for her next job. I hope she learnt to bag her next job interview.

Appear. Be noticed. Make your presence felt. Take on challenges. Be ‘salmon-like’ contrarian – swim against the river. You can be physically-challenged and take on physical challenges! My friend Adam, a one-armed runner has shifted from ultra-marathons to triathlons. He is planning to do the Ironman triathlon and Four Desert Challenges.

You can stand out with your actions. You can be spotted by your conviction. You will be noticed for your energy, enthusiasm, vigor and joyfulness. Stop letting other eviscerate you with their insults, sarcasm, and put-downs. Nobody can put you down unless you give him the permission. It is only after you have given them permission to offend you, that you pass on and pass up your power and authority. It is still your choice. It is your Personal Branding, or lack of it.

Better still – make your absence felt (in a good way, of course). Never fade out into the obscurity of the background. Play the foreground, sometimes.

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