Saturday, June 20, 2015

Standing Out vs Being Noticed

I was driving in turtle-speed traffic this afternoon when I noticed a lime green sporty-type car that was impossible to miss.  Which got me thinking.  Stand out or be noticed?  What's the difference?

I used to want a bright purple car.  I (obviously) love purple, and I wanted to not lose my car in parking lots.  At the time I had a boring silver car, that was similar to probably 70% of cars in most parking lots.  I always lost that car in the parking lot, and since it didn't have the remote keyless entry, there was no clicking of the lock button to get the horn to honk and alert me to it's location.

I wanted a purple car so I wouldn't lose it.  I never realized that a car like that would most definitely be noticed. 

So I started thinking.  When you stand out, it's your actions that make you stand out, who you are makes you stand out.  It's putting together a presentation that is so far above and beyond what anyone else did, just because you had that much fun with the task, and were able to use all your skills to present the material.  You're not doing it to get noticed, you're doing it cause it's something you genuinely love to do and share.

I feel like when you want to be noticed, you do things in order to be seen, like buy a lime green car.  Or in my case, it would have been buying a purple car, though I didn't think of it that way at the time.  Being noticed, I think, is equal to what kids say is being a show off.  It's doing things specifically for attention.   

As I type this, I realize this has everything to do with my new job.  Everything.

See, I know I stand out when it comes to my gift of teaching.  It is something I was born with, an ability that I didn't have to learn, it was always just there.  Because it was a g-d given talent, and one I truly love, I continue to learn and grow and hone my skills.  This makes me stand out.  This also makes me uncomfortable.  Cause I didn't choose this gift.  I didn't ask to be *that* skilled here.  It is just who I am.  And the idea of taking and sharing this?  I feel like people might think I'm showing off or trying to be noticed, when that couldn't be farther from the truth.  For 14 years I was content teaching behind a closed door, doing my thing, reaching my students in ways no other had done so.  

This is part of what makes me uncomfortable.  I have a gift, a talent, per say, that is one not many around me possess.  I am more than happy to share, to teach, to support those in their quest to grow stronger in this area.  However, I don't feel like that makes me special, and the fact that it does indeed make me stand out makes me uncomfortable.  Ironically, this is basically the crux of my new job, so I better start getting used to standing out in this area.....



  1. This resonates so much with me. I am an early childhood educator who is in charge of both a classroom of 0-2 year olds, as well as supervising multiple teachers in my age group. Part of my job is to do trainings and mentoring... something I've excelled in. It makes me so nervous to have people pay attention to me, or single me out, even though it is all positive. As an abuse survivor I have felt for so long what will keep me safe is to just keep my head down and be as invisible as possible. I smile and throw my best into my work. I genuinely care for the success of my co-workers, but I don't know how to resolve this issue and it drains so much of my energy just trying to maintain some sort of normal under what feels like a microscope.

    1. I am so glad to know that I'm not the only one who is super uncomfortable with positive attention (or any attention, for that matter!) You are spot on with the "keep your head down and be invisible" as it's been my mode of operation my whole life. The eating disorder was the closest I became to being invisible, literally attempting to waste away to nothingness. I hear you on the energy drain, too. It takes three times the energy out of me to maintain under watch than most, and it means I get home from school utterly exhausted.

      I'm hopeful, for both me and you, that as we learn to see ourselves as valued parts of the system in which we work, then the energy drain will become smaller and smaller, and the positive won't feel so dangerous. xoxo


So? What do you think?