Every once in a while, I am reminded that we need to remind others that we exist and of what we “bring to the table.” It is not the natural state for many of us to notice others. It is not my natural state to do things intentionally to be noticed.

As a self-identified introvert who is not generally a fan of any significant time in the spotlight and has openly admitted to being more comfortable in the supporting actor role, I, like any normal person, don’t want to be forgotten.  We need to be seen, too, particularly by those we deem important. Sometimes we even make efforts we can hope will be recognized by others. The challenge I have in trying to be my biggest cheerleader to either be personally or professionally noticed for my work is that it doesn’t feel authentic to call out that I have needs or to tout my achievements, respectively. It all has this performative vibe that is a hard hurdle for me to jump over. I have a hard time doing things that feel or look performative because the primary purpose is for attention. This will probably preclude me from living a life of an actor, social media influencer, or politician required to spend time in front of the camera.

Our culture has been designed to benefit and reward the loud voices in the room. It’s easier and less work to only recognize and look out for them. But what if those of us who are either leaders in an organization spent time and energy to notice the quiet contributors, support their careers, and be their cheerleaders when they don’t know how to be their own? Or to be that friend who genuinely makes an effort to listen more intently to what is being said – and perhaps as importantly, what is being left unsaid.

Listening and noticing are critical skills that pair exceptionally well with not speaking and providing your input and advice. I wish more people had these combos in their repertoire. The good news is there’s always time – and people in your lives – to build and refine these qualities in each of us.   

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