Do you feel invisible in your career, with your friends, or family? Not getting the recognition you deserve can be so discouraging. But, it’s possible to overcome the wall of invisibility and ascension to succeed at anything you want.
If I’ve learned anything in the work place, it’s that we all want recognition for a good day’s work. Pay and promotion are secondary to a simple gesture, a pat on the back, or a “well done!”
Yet, why is it that praise is so often lost in the shuffle? Just saying “thank you” is so easy and cost effective. But, all too often all we get is a wall of silence and invisibility.
I remember going through a rough stage in my career where I felt invisible. Like Ralph Ellison’s protagonist in the Invisible Man. Even with 1,369 light bulbs shining brightly around his basement room, he still felt like nobody noticed.
“I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”
This quote has stuck with me for well over two decades since first reading Mr. Ellison’s 1952 classic in high school. Fortunately, I was able to overcome the wall of invisibility and ascension. I broke free of the grind.
Analyze Your Circumstances To Overcome The Wall
My conundrum was that even during my most dejected times, when all I wanted to do was give up, I got promoted like clockwork. One would argue that everything is in the mind. Since the company was promoting me by default, they were recognizing my work. Even though I felt invisible most days, to a large extent it is very true that they were actually giving me recognition. They didn’t have to approve my promotions after all.
But, then I had a light bulb moment. What people don’t realize is that with each promotion comes a higher and higher hurdle to achieve. Until one day, the hurdle stands 20 feet tall and becomes physically impossible to clear anymore. This in turn can make us feel unrecognized and invisible.
When my pace of progress slowed at my job, I was left wondering how to continue improving. Could I overcome the wall of slower and slower ascension?
It’s like making money. Even a multi-millionaire can make an extra buck. It never ends. The pull of other people’s success draws me to create my own. Again, a comparative issue which is hard to avoid.
Once you become the manager of the first floor, you begin to wonder what it’s like to be the manager of all ten floors. Pretty soon everybody expects you to keep succeeding. And peers no longer praise you because you are expected to win. Here’s when things begin to unravel. It becomes quite a mental challenge to continue to overcome the wall of ascension.
Overcome The Wall And Look Out For Others
The solution to overcome the wall is to never stop giving. At some point in our careers we have the duty and the power to nurture others. It’s like waking up one day at 35, realizing you’re not the youngest person in the crowd anymore.
There’s no novelty or glee in telling others how far you’ve come at such a young age, because you’re just not that young anymore. Like it or not, there’s always a new crop of people coming in. Thus, it’s up to you as a senior person to recognize other people’s efforts openly with no concern of your own.
Stop thinking about yourself so much. The more you start to look out for others and lend a helping hand, the less invisible you’ll feel. People naturally want to help those who have helped them. If you’re feeling invisible, perhaps you’re looking internally too much.
Reach out and lend a hand to overcome the wall of invisibility. When you help someone, your sense of accomplishment and fulfillment increase. And that in turn can increase your overall level of happiness. The happier you are, the better you’ll feel.
Another way to overcome the wall is to help ensure others don’t feel overlooked as well. Refuse to not see someone and all their talents. Don’t let them be invisible. Allow them to turn off all their light bulbs except one. All anyone needs is just one.
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Readers, have you ever felt invisible in your career, with your friends, or family? What about in the online world if you have a website? If so, how do you cope and make sure you don’t let the feeling of irrelevance keep you down?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”