Check out your favourite superhero franchise or copy of Harry Potter and invisibility seems to come in very handy when you’re helping save the world; foiling super-villains.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, our professional lives often dictate that invisibility isn’t an option and we have to put ourselves in the spotlight most days. We don our Cloak of Visibility; whether we recognise it or not.
Putting on Your Cloak
Being visible to others in a professional sense generally goes with the territory. Being known for your expertise, having a certain position within a hierarchy, being in business, all mean that others look to you and at you.
For some people putting on this Cloak of Visibility is as easy as breathing. For others it’s a necessary evil; something they do in order to achieve personal or professional goals.
There are those whose professional progression may include training and on-the-job experiences which enable them to wear their Cloak with increasingly greater ease. For others their drive and ambition may help them wear their Cloak with pride regardless of experience.
Then there are those who only tolerate the spotlight because they must, in order to fulfil aspirations or responsibilities. Putting their personal challenges aside; they create ways of coping when they don their Cloak of Visibility.
As time goes by, your Cloak can become your friend. The visibility it affords you can feel like a measure of respect, status and, in some cases, the power you command. You know who you are when you’re wearing it and so does everyone else. It may even give you a certain degree of comfort or at least a consistent frame of reference.
The feeling you get when you put on your Cloak can alter though. It might be just how you’re feeling on a particular day or it can be because you experience or decide to instigate a change.
Maybe a career path shift, taking a promotion, changed personal aspirations or circumstances, starting a business, organisational unrest. Maybe you’re suddenly doing something you’ve always dreamt of or you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone.
Whatever the combination, your new situation still needs you to be in the spotlight but wearing your Cloak of Visibility feels very different.
In situations like these, some people notice that their Cloak feels more comfortable than ever before; for others it might feel heavier and more ill-fitting. But is it the Cloak? In reality, it’s your context, commitment and confidence that have probably changed. Visibility is still visibility.
The Power of Your Cloak
Your Cloak of Visibility is accompanied by a degree of power. When you are in the spotlight people are watching; people are listening. You can influence them; inspire them. The course which this inspiration/influence takes is your gift. Do you use your Cloak as a power for good or evil? OK, it’s never quite that black or white but your Cloak of Visibility brings benefits, responsibility and implications.
There are many very tangible moments in my career that I have felt the overwhelming power of my Cloak of Visibility. Most of the time I’m happy to wear it; appreciating the responsibility that comes with it and valuing the opportunities it can generate. As long as I give myself some quiet, reflective time to get my balance back, all is well with the world 🙂
Your Cloak of Visibility is part of your professional tool kit so wear it well. Remember, when you’re in the spotlight you have the power to help people and positively influence their lives. Now that is a superpower worth having!