Visibility is one of my values.
Visibility means that I am seen as a whole person. That I am valued for having and expressing my opinions. Visibility means that my contribution to a conversation, a meeting, or a business has value. My thoughts and ideas deserve to be heard and shared with others.
I’ve spent much of my life feeling valueless. Even within my own family, I only felt valued when I did things for other people. When I wanted to exchange my ideas and opinions, I would rarely receive a response. I was barely even heard in conversation around the dining table. It made me feel worthless.
This happened in my work life too. I had overcome most of my problems with visibility after doing great in college and opening an office in San Francisco, but leaving it behind to work in the Palo Alto–based family business brought all these problems back again. Though I worked seven days a week, I felt mostly ignored; I wasn’t spoken to unless I did something wrong, and even then it was never handled with clear communication.
I may not have been encouraged to speak up for myself as a young person, but it was easy for me to speak out against injustice suffered by others. As a twelve year old, I rode my bike to a local grocery store to hand out fliers asking shoppers to boycott grapes, in support of Cesar Chavez and the farm workers. I did that on my own. By myself. No one asked me to do it. Where is that brave twelve year old today?
Visibility is something I’ve had to embrace for myself. I’m no longer willing to be the quiet person waiting to be noticed. I am taking a stand for myself. I matter.
To paraphrase Marianne Williamson, we are all more powerful than we realize. It is the fear of our brilliance that keeps us small and living in the shadows. Let’s help each other shine our lights.
The world needs us. Now.