“I speak not just for myself but for all of us younger women, when I say, your visibility heals us. You, speaking up, being visible, doing your activism or your writing or your art or whatever it is … You remind us of who we really are.” – Tara Mohr
Lately I’ve been reading some really great books, including Playing Big by Tara Mohr. This latest book delves into why women “play it small” in their business and personal endeavors, and offers smart guidance on stepping up the game into our full potential.
One of the biggest takeaways for me was Tara’s concept of reframing marketing as “visibility.” Being visible is about being available and known in the places where people who need or want your work can find you. It’s a different way into the necessary duties of marketing, which can often feel strange, self-aggrandizing or scary.
So I’ve decided to practice more visibility.
Posting here more often is part of that: showing up and speaking up about what’s happening and the way I see the world. But even more than that, I’ve decided to become more visible in places where it’s scary for me personally—the local community.
I took my first step toward doing that by entering a piece of art (the cover of Alethia Grey) in the Cedarburg Cultural Center’s fall show Steampunk: From the Odd to the Extraordinary.
I’ve never entered my work in a gallery show before. Well, at least not since I was in high school and had, shall we say, more robust faith in my artistic capabilities. (More on that some other day.)
The opening reception was this past Friday night, and I found myself getting ridiculously nervous about showing up in a place where my art would also be hanging.
In fact, when we got there, I felt the sudden urge to run and hide in the back somewhere and just watch the people look at my art and that of the other contributing artists.
But that was exactly what Playing Big has warned against: stepping into the shadows out of fear, or out of a personal belief that we and our work are somehow not worthy to be recognized.
So I swallowed my nerves. Stepped up. Met some people. Chatted with them about work.
And as I discovered: it wasn’t anywhere near as hard as I thought.
It will be even less difficult next time around.
If you’re thinking about visiting the Cedarburg show, I highly recommend it. Not just because Alethia Grey is there, but because it’s a fantastic compilation of styles that captures the essence of steampunk’s eclectic nature.
And if you’re hiding in the background, standing at the edge of the crowd (as I was, until Friday night), I encourage you to find one small place or way that you can “take the plunge.”
As if I hadn’t learned the magic of this already, I realized it even further when a friend surprised me by tweeting about the show. It was a kind gesture, but even more than that, it reminded me we never know what kind of connections or “human touches” will result by simply being visible.
People can’t find us (or we them) if we’re not around and visible.
So as you go onward into your week, step up. Show up. Speak up.
Your work, and your audience, will thank you.
Special thanks to Theresa of Frame & Fabric for
the beautiful framing she created for Alethia Grey.
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