PEOPLE AT WORK COLUMN: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

IT never ceases to amaze me—my ability to become “invisible” at will. I discovered this ability early in my career when most of the time, people ignored my presence in the office. I believe all of us have this ability or “skill,” if you can call it such.

To demonstrate this skill, try doing this when you are entering a restaurant: Think that you are the sloppiest person in the world, hunch your shoulders, squint your eyes and walk in short timid steps. Chances are the doorman won’t open the door for you or even glance at you. Then, go out and enter the same restaurant again in this manner: Think that you the most important person in that restaurant. Straighten your back, hold your head up high, glance sharply at the doorman and walk in long confident strides. Observe how the doorman will promptly acknowledge you and even open the door for you.

I’ve tried doing this experiment in restaurants, stores, office buildings and it works every time. I didn’t even have to change my clothes. Based on this so-called “research,” I have formulated my “Theory of Invisibility” which simply states that, “If you think you are invisible, you will be; if you think you are visible, you also will be.”

This theory can be very useful for women at work. Although there are many powerful, and often intimidating, women in the workplace today, there are many more who tend to be low key who end up being ignored even if they have talents and skills that can be put to productive use in the workplace. Why is this so? Because they have mastered the ability to become invisible. While being invisible does have its uses, it really does not pay to be invisible at work. It pays to be visible, to be acknowledged for your contributions at work and being rewarded for it.

Working women should master the art of “visibility.” Now, if we can master the skill of becoming “invisible” (which I think is the harder thing to do), then, we can easily master the skill of becoming “visible.”

We can be more “visible” at work by “thinking visible.” As the philosopher says, “thinking is being.” This means:

Acknowledge your your self, as an entity worthy of being recognized. Every human being is intelligent. In fact, we have eight kinds of intelligence and depending on our passion and purpose in life, we develop more in some intelligences than others as a matter of choice, not lack of capability.

Believe that the human essence (some call it soul, some call it spirit) is complete in itself. Sadly, many women have allowed themselves to believe that they are not complete without a man.  Such a belief destroys a person’s strong sense of self and engenders an attitude of dependency, which is based on a sense of incompleteness of self, which results in unbalanced relationships.

Show a good attitude at work. Project your self-confidence and trust in your intelligence and abilities. Such an attitude will translate into positive body language —the way you carry yourself, the way you walk, the way you act and react towards other people—that will compel other people to acknowledge your presence and recognize you. Do you know that 55% of communication is accomplished through body language?

If you follow these suggestions, acquiring the ability to “materialize” at work can be easy. And you also get the side benefit of being fully present in this finite moment in eternity that God has allowed us to be.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom November 2003.

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Founding Editor, People at Work, Business, Phiippine Daily Inquirer

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