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What Does it Mean to be Visible?

By Jessica Albon

I’ve been talking a lot about visibility and being seen and when I mention that I’m ready to step up my own visibility, by and large the response I’m getting is:

“But I feel like I really know you, Jessica.”

My colleagues and clients mention feeling like they know a lot about my adorable dog. They know about the mistakes I’ve made. They’ve read about and heard about my background and who I am and what I stand for.

This makes me very happy. And it’s true–on my blog and in my newsletter, I share a lot of myself. I’m comfortable telling you about the time I set my kitchen sponge on fire and what my work means to me and how I got started in this amazing business.

But there’s one thing I’ve kept hidden.

In May, I announced we were creating the next version of Thrive Your Tribe’s website. I’ve even shared sneak peaks on Twitter. And many of you have written to ask how that’s going.

Here’s the truth: I got cold feet.

See, right across the top of the home page of the new site there’s a banner filled with media mentions–the sites and magazines I’ve guest posted on/been published in/been interviewed by.

My assistant started collecting media mentions from the past two years and the list includes MSN and ProBlogger, MarketingSherpa, MarketingProfs, and many, many others.

And all I can do when confronted with the list is shove my hands in my pockets, blush furiously, and say, “Aw, shucks.”

My edge of getting visible, of letting you really see me is this: I’m terrified of displaying my strengths.

Sure, I believe being humble is a virtue. But there’s nothing virtuous about this fear.

Don’t get me wrong: I have absolutely no desire to be the sort of business owner who beats her chest and shouts, “Look how amazing I am!”

But being seen means letting my greatness show. Letting you see my gifts and talents and high points as much as I let you see my weaknesses, mistakes, and daily life.

I’ve been running my business like there’s only virtue in the little things, but the truth is there’s just as much virtue in the triumphs.

My edge of being seen is in sharing my greatness with you. Not so that anyone feels dwarfed by it. But also not so that anyone feels inspired by it. Rather, I need to let you see my greatness because it’s a part of me. And when I hide my greatness, I’m not being completely honest with you about who I am–any more than people are when all they show is their greatness.

So, I’m committing to letting you see my greatness. Because it is. And to hide it binds me.

That’s the edge of my realm of visibility.

What’s yours?

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