It’s time to stop fading into the background and step into the limelight.
Throughout my entire life I’ve always tried to fade into the background. In childhood I was happy that my brother was super outgoing and sometimes problematic which allowed me to NOT be the center of attention, and get lost in the black and white text of many authors. To this day I try my utmost to stay clear of the spotlight.
As I’ve gotten older, some people assumed my desire to help others shine was a lack of ambition and self love. Let me be the first to clarify, I LOVE myself, flaws and all and won’t change me for anything in this world. But I also love others and I love to help them realize their dreams. I’ve always seen myself as a catalyst not the star, not the entrepreneur, not necessary the face of any organization. In a world where everyone wants recognition, where everyone wants to be seen and heard not because they have something to say but because our society has turned into a place where your value as a human is dependent on how many Facebook friends, likes, retweets etc you get. What has been lost in this desire to be stars — the next Steve Jobs, Beyonce, Bill Gates — is the lack of appreciation for the numerous people who quietly work in shadows to make the superstars succeed. Somewhere along the line, those people and their invaluable contributions have been seen as negative thing — for me it’s always been the reverse. What’s more wonderful that to lend your talents to help your fellow human succeed?
As someone who has worked tirelessly to separate my work and personal life, to accept roles in which I can successfully work in the shadows, behind the scenes, — go ahead take the time to google me, it’s as if I barely exist — my online presence is virtually non-existent. And I’ve been fairly happy with it that way. I’ve turned down speaking engagements, interview request and offers to be quoted in books about Millennials and innovation because I relished the idea of anonymity. But now all of this has become problematic because I’m embarking on something in which I need name recognition, where more than ever I’m choosing to be propelled to the center of attention, where I need proof of my capacities and ability to create and deliver in a way that speaks volumes.
Never in a million years I would have thought that I’d willing embark on this journey. It is true that the path to your destiny is on the road you took to avoid it. While it has been an unexpected turn, it’s a welcomed one. I’m excited to see how I’ll grow, how much I can push myself outside of my comfort zone while still being true to who I am.
So what are clear actionable steps that I can take from being an obscure unknown to a branded individual? It involves being ok with being more open, with allowing the world and others into my life and dismantling the wall between my work and personal life. It involves speaking up, saying yes to things I wouldn’t normally say yes too like those speaking gigs, staying five minutes longer at a dreaded networking event. It also involves understanding that my existing network is a true treasure trove and I should work hard to develop and strengthen those relationships. Those are the individuals that can vouch for me and open doors in ways I’ve never dreamt of.
Don’t expect this to be a listicle or a how to, I am fully aware that no two paths are alike and what works for me won’t work for you. But the above are simple steps anyone can take no matter where they are in their journey.
Phew! Well, that was wasn’t too bad! Hello world, I’m Simone! And today I’m a tad less obscure than I was yesterday.