Hiding In Plain Sight

The Invisible ManAh, it’s that time of year! You know, beer fests and Halloween. I don’t know about you, but it’s actually Halloween that most fires me up!  Not only is it good fun, but it also offers rich symbolism and abundant metaphor. So much so, it inspired me to write a couple of posts that apply eerie – and even ghoulish – themes to career success.

This first post focuses on avoiding the fate of The Invisible Man in managing your online presence.

Meet Griffin

In the classic novella by H.G. Wells, the main character, Griffin, is a man consumed with his greed for power and fame. As a scientist, he believes that “…if a person’s refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible.” Of course, he decides to carry out this procedure on himself. And voilà! He becomes invisible. But there’s one small problem. He can’t reverse the process. This, of course, leads to mental instability and his ultimate death!

Avoid Using Camouflage

Being able to hide oneself does not, of course, require becoming invisible. Actually, the ability to hide in plain sight is built into nature. It’s called camouflage. It’s a protective adaptation that allows organisms to blend in with their surroundings.

Camouflage may provide survival advantages in the wild. Yet, blending in is a huge disadvantage in the world of work. [Tweet This] In fact, if you’re a consumer of career and business advice, you know the emphasis is not on fitting in but on standing out. In today’s competitive world, the thinking goes, you need to discern and leverage your personal brand across a range of media – and especially on line.

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Why Uncover & Tell Your Story…? Here’s Why!

Your StoryHave you ever been urged to tell your story? Chances are good that you’ve heard this advice more than once. And yet, perhaps like many other people, there never seems to be a very compelling reason to do so. Well, unless you’re preparing for a job interview.

Yet, the question, “What’s your story?” is neither idle nor superficial. [Tweet This]

Still, it can be helpful to know why uncovering and sharing your story – as well as listening to other people’s stories – can be good for your career … and for your life in general. As Lisa Cron documents, in Wired for Story, there is solid brain science behind storytelling. Specifically,

“Neuroscientists believe the reason our already overloaded brain devotes so much precious time and space to allowing us to get lost in a story is that without stories, we’d be toast. Stories allow us to simulate intense experiences without actually having to live through them.  … [In fact,]… our expectations [of a story] have everything to do with the story’s ability to provide information on how we might safely navigate this earthly plane.”

Put another way,

“Story is the language of experience, whether it’s ours, someone else’s, or that of fictional characters. Other people’s stories are as important as the stories we tell ourselves. Because if all we ever had to go on was our own experience, we wouldn’t make it…”

Benefiting from a good story is, on some level, like hiring a coach or consultant. Someone who has the kind of information you need to survive and improve so you can live successfully. And while you might not think about it, your story matters to the people who you want to hire you!

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It Might Be Yours, But Is It Really A Story?

Your StoryHave you ever stopped to think about all it took to become you? Like others, it’s likely that your teenage years launched you on a quest for identity that probably brought a fair amount of disorientation, experimentation, and even fear.

And that was just the beginning! As you matured, you may have developed a sense of identity, but never quite shook the fear of not fitting in.

Yet, somehow you ended up with a sense of identity that supports you. And if you’ve ever been through a structured assessment and introspective process you’ve probably attained even more clarity and confidence in your sense of self. Well, at least until confronted with the need to tell your story. At that point, self-knowledge probably seems to evaporate! [Read more…]