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When have you felt invisible or misunderstood?

Having just held the first ever global webinar on Quietly Powerful, I reflected on the challenge that is shared by so many from around the world – when we feel invisible or misunderstood as quieter professionals.


I shared my own examples of times when I walked into a meeting with a colleague (usually a white male, extrovert colleague) and people spoke to him and not to me. And when I tried to speak up but my voice gets drowned by the louder voices. Or when I took a breath in the middle of a sentence, got interrupted and the conversation moved on. And when someone else shared an idea that I had already shared and they got heard when I didn’t get heard. Then asked why I look disengaged, even though I had been concentrating and thinking.


Is this just a challenge for the quieter and/or introvert professionals? Probably not, as anyone in the minority (whether due to gender, race, unpopular opinion or other) can experience feeling invisible or misunderstood, but it’s probably more frequent if you are quieter. Is it all because of the quiet nature and behaviours of these professionals? Partly yes, but partly it’s because people around them are not aware of their impact and are under-skilled at listening/observing.


The biggest challenge is that when these incidents of feeling invisible and misunderstood keep occurring, we internalise it as if it was our fault. Even though it’s partly us and partly others’ unconscious biases/behaviours and the environment. On top of that we get told that we need to “be more confident” (see Don't tell me to "be more confident"), to speak up more, and that we are not visible enough. Or we hear subtle ‘put downs’ such as “Oh, surely you’re not an introvert?” It adds to the feeling that there’s something wrong with us.


Over time, we unconsciously accumulate these experiences and internalised beliefs and feel we have so many faults to fix. This affects our confidence and ability to stretch and grow. Sometimes it becomes the norm, a comfort zone and an internal glass ceiling.


So for quieter professional who have felt invisible or misunderstood, know that you are not alone and you don’t have to stay there. There are ways to be recognised and feel powerful within. You have so much to contribute because of your quieter nature, don’t keep your talents locked up inside.


For leaders and organisations with talented quieter professionals, is this what you want for some of the most talented people in your organisation?


There are many successful, famous introvert/quiet professionals (7 famous leaders who prove that introverts can be wildly successful in Fast Company) and they bring valuable qualities and talents into our teams and organisations (7 Surprising Traits That Make Introverts Wildly Successful from Inc.). Why waste the talent?


There are quietly powerful people in the world. Think of people who don’t say a lot but when they do, people really listen. It is the case of quality over quantity. In this busy, noisy, information overload world, we need more quality, not quantity.


This is the work of Quietly Powerful. While we started with quieter professional women, many of the lessons apply to quieter men and people in the minority. For organisations, the concepts are also relevant for talent attraction/development/retention/engagement, leadership development and a broader view on diversity and inclusion. Are you ready to unlock this hidden talent?


If the work speaks to you, please watch the Quietly powerful global webinar recording to hear how people can move from feeling invisible and misunderstood to feeling recognised and quietly powerful.


We have also just launched the first ever Global Virtual Group Coaching Program, specifically designed for quieter professional women at the global webinar. You will learn practical skills and strategies to get your talents recognised and leverage your natural qualities to have greater impact. Feel authentic and powerful from the inside such that others can feel your quiet presence. Please see the FLYER or more information and register HERE.


Quietly Powerful Women (QPW) movement aims to help quieter women to succeed authentically (see White paper: Quietly Powerful), with the bigger aim of helping us to redefine what good leadership looks like.


Related articles:

Stop faking till you make it

Do you have to be an extrovert to get ahead?

Quietly Powerful – an oxymoron or truth

Introversion is not a disorder and femininity does not equal weak

Are you covering your quieter self?

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