Not Visible Or Not Seen

Sunglasses above sweater with no faceA couple of Letters back I mused on how a belief was holding me back.

I was stuck in place for not wanting to stick my hand in a blender – under purposefully made safe conditions (don’t try this at home).

Faced with reconciling not being able to move forward and going against everything I’d been taught caused me to look into what beliefs I was operating on, whose beliefs they were and how long I’ve held them.

More importantly, I had to look below the surface of the belief to acknowledge how it was supporting me … to the good or the bad.


Little did I know another belief was heading straight for a seismic shift.

Only 11 short days later.


Let’s start with some background.


I’ve always struggled with being visible.

In part sourced by my 5 years old self’s vow to be invisible to avoid being laughed at.

Embarrassment is a powerful deterrent.

Being invisible isn’t the worst thing in the world either when you’re an introvert.

I’ve never been able to reconcile remaining invisible with loving to teach, coach, connect people or yammer on for hours with strangers when it comes to cats.

Rather than figuring out the discrepancy, pushing it off to the side out of Mind’s reach was far easier.


Deep down I’ve known something was up.

Over the past couple of years in particular, not being visible and being a business owner have been locking horns.

If people don’t know I exist then how do they make contact to see if we’re a fit.

The inner pokes & prods to get comfortable being visible have worn me down.

In particular, the last few months of 2018 have been a crash course in purposefully taking actions to put myself out there.

It’s a slow process.

I still find myself hanging back and procrastinating, and have to purposefully push myself to get out there.


Now you’re caught up and we’re 11 days beyond watch my belief about blenders get chopped up.


At the last minute, I decided to attend a “spooky roundtable” a week before Halloween that was intended to have a closer look at our fears.

When the journaling prompts were presented, I figured this was as good a time as any to look at not wanting to be visible and the impact it’s having on marketing.

The really weird thing was not feeling fear as I wrote about being visible.

No emotional charge whatsoever. Boring. Yawn.

This isn’t helpful.

At. All.

What about fearing being rejected then.

That didn’t have a charge either.

What the …?

Then from out of nowhere, the thought of fearing not being seen slipped into mind.


That landed with a whole body visceral reaction.

Houston, we have contact.


The thought was odd to me.

I’m actually quite familiar with not being seen.

Happens all the time.

I’d need to borrow a few people for counting on their fingers and toes.

Comes part and parcel with not being visible, right?

So what’s going on?


With lots of journalling time left, I replayed “the incident” when the vow of invisibility was taken.

Weaving between the neighbourhood ladies trying to explain my side of the story while they laughed at what I supposedly said wasn’t about being invisible.

It was about not being seen.

I’d never seen that before.


This revelation required some serious mulling time.

Over the next couple of days, a number of insights took form.


TL;DR: It’s not your responsibility and you don’t control being seen; it is your responsibility and you do control showing up


My 5 year old brain made sense of not being heard as not being visible.

But I was there alright.

What really was happening was being not visible.

And there’s a difference.


Not being visible is my choice.

Being not visible or not being seen is not my choice.

It’s out of my control. BAM #2

I can show up but I can’t make somebody notice me.

That’s their responsibility.

They have the choice to pay attention to me or not.


What they do not have responsibility for or control over – is me showing up.

That’s on me.

I have the choice to show up or not.


Given that perspective, I’m okay with showing up and not being seen.

I’d rather show up and not be heard or seen than to not be myself or hold back.

Been there, done that. Expert at it.

When I’ve tried to be somebody else or hold back, all paths lead to soul-sucking.


Not showing up guarantees not growing my business, not meeting some pretty cool people, and not making a difference I know I can.

That’s a pretty steep price for handing over control of myself to somebody else.

And handing over control means having to play the game of getting it back.

More diversions.


What also came up while mulling is there’s a difference between not being seen and being rejected.

Rejection involves seeing something or someone and making a decision about it.

Not being seen is like living in two realities at once.

Thoughts of Star Trek storylines where characters live out of phase with the rest of the crew come to mind.

The out of phase characters can see and hear everything going on but the rest of the crew doesn’t see them.


Here are some conclusions I’ve come to so far.

They’re a good place to start and are likely to morph and deepen more as mulling continues:


~ Fact of life – I’ll continue to not be seen. I’m good with that. It’s not worth spending precious time and energy trying to get someone to do what they don’t want to do.

When I start trying to get someone to see me, that’s a sign something else is going on. I’m trying to get validation from outside myself. Sort of defeats the purpose of being self-assured.


~ Not being seen isn’t a reflection on me, isn’t a measure of who I am and doesn’t mean I don’t matter. That comes from within. Not being seen is a pretty clear sign I’m not with the right people. The right people will not only see you, but they will also see the true you in your highest (and hold you in that).


~ The only thing I really need to do is show up and be visible. (It can also feel the riskiest and toughest thing to do. Who said life is a bed of roses?) Showing up is my responsibility but I can’t own being seen. It’s a losing proposition to make someone else behave the way you want them to.


~ Showing up when you don’t care about being seen could prove to be very exciting.


~ Holding back or not showing up as me is a non-starter. I also know that’s a work in progress because there will always be more ways to show up more fully. I’ve accepted the pokes and prods are companions on this journey.


~ Being okay with being visible could change my outlook on network meetings and conferences. Not guaranteed, but it might. Introversion and visibility can co-exist nicely. Managing my energy and re-energizing alone won’t disappear. I also have a better understanding as to why I can like teaching, coaching and chatting about cats with strangers for hours. The underlying problem wasn’t visibility.

~ I’ve always talked loudly, especially when excited or in a group. I’ve always admired people who speak softly and people listen. Now I wonder if talking loudly was a way to be seen.


~ There’s always room for improvement in being present and creating a safe sacred space for others. I can give more attention to personal responsibility for seeing others.


~ Being seen doesn’t mean you have to agree.


So there goes another belief.

And a belief about a belief.

Oh, what interesting webs we weave.


Have you had what you thought to be a core belief turn out to be a different belief altogether?


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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer


Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.

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