“There is only one thing worse in the world than the fear of being seen, and that is the fear of not being seen.”
– Keith Blakemore-Noble (with apologies to Oscar Wilde)
Visibility can be deeply scary and uncomfortable for so many of us; to be standing up for what you believe in and to be attracting attention is not for the faint of heart
Which creates a massive paradox for so many, especially in any form of business.
What Is The Visibility Paradox?
- On the one hand, as a business owner or an entrepreneur, we know the we need to be highly visible. We need to be shouting about what we do, sharing our successes and (more importantly) our clients’ successes. There is the need for us to let people know what exactly it is we do, and for who exactly we do it. We need to do this loud and often, so that people who need what we offer, people who we can help, actually get to hear about us and come to find us.
After all, if we don’t speak up about what we do, how can we possibly expect people to ever hear about us, let alone decide to come work with us rather than one of our more vocal competition?
“Build it and they will come“, the saying goes. However it only works if you shout about it enough for them to even know about it – you need visibility!
So we have to make sure we are seen, and we have to be seen to be seen, going further than just the occasional quiet post or clip. It’s a sustained presence where our ideal clients hang out, reminding everyone that we are still around and reminding them what we do.
- Whereas on the other hand, for so many of us, that sort of attention is very uncomfortable and we would do almost anything to hide away. We feel, for whatever reason, that people won’t want to hear about us. It might be that we believe that they will look badly upon us for speaking up. A big risk we perceive is the risk of being judged in all manner of ways. We may just be plain down-right uncomfortable with sticking our head above the parapet, so to speak, and hate being in the limelight.
“Look at me! But don’t look at me…“
It is quite the paradox indeed. How can we be visible without being visible?
Of course, the answer is the we can’t. We either have to be visible, or invisible, we can’t be both.
And therein lies our problem.
How Do We Resolve The Visibility Paradox?
Fundamentally, it comes down to balancing the equation – when the fear of not being seen is greater than the fear of being seen, you’ll make the effort to be seen.
The secret is to make whatever we are shouting about to be so much bigger than ourselves. We need to make whatever we are shouting about so important, that our fear about being seen becomes so much less than our fear of not being able to shout about it.
Some steps which can help overcoming toe visibility paradox could include –
- Remind yourself exactly what you are doing
- Remind yourself why it is so important to do it
- Really consider the massive positive impact you have on the lives of others by doing what you do
- Think about those you have helped, or hose you could help, and really consider the positive difference to their lives
- Focus on each of this people, the ones you could help, and imagine having to face them, look into their eyes, and tell them that you are not going to help them, you are going to condemn them to continue to suffer, because you are afraid of sanding up for what you believe in – imagine he crushing blow you would deal to each of them…
By realising just how massive a positive effect our being visible has, we can help ourselves to realise just how important our visibility is – make it big enough, and it dwarfs any desires we have about wanting to remain invisible.
For more information on the topic, check out these two links –
- Motivation – The Simple Key.
- Shannon Eastman’s “Work That Matters” podcast episode 1 – “The Visibility Paradox” where I was Shannon’s guest and we discussed the idea in a lot more detail.