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Whether in a business meeting or an interpersonal exchange, everybody knows what it feels like to be invisible. Your partner might be making eye contact but his or her attention is on other priorities. Your friend is thinking about the next thing he or she is about to say rather than listening to you. Colleagues are checking their smartphones during your presentation. It’s the classic portrayal of “presenteeism” – the body is present but the spirit is not. Consider these ways people become invisible:

1. Allow your knowledge to grow stale. 
In a world that evolves while you sleep, it takes a serious commitment to doing your homework to remain vibrant. In a 2:1 ratio, devote yourself to spending two hours learning about your partners, customers, and audience for every hour you invest in growing your own platform.

2. Take more than you give. 
As Adam Grant discusses in his 2013 masterpiece, Give and Take, “givers” who balance an appropriate blend of self-interest with other-interest create a tremendous amount of good will in their networks resulting in the eventual return on their investment. “Takers,” on the other hand, collect some early wins but, in the long run, end up alone (and invisible).

3. Prematurely declare “game over” following a set-back. 
The richness of success grows remarkably when fueled by the desperation of letdown. Those who give up early don’t live long enough to enjoy such wealth. When someone struggles in an endeavor, teammates instinctively distance themselves from the pain. Those brave few who endure the discomfort are rewarded for their courage and loyalty.


Have you become invisible?


About the Author

Steve Ritter is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, the Founder and Managing Director of the Midwest Institute & Center for Workplace Innovation, the Founder and CEO of the Team Clock Institute, and the author of Useful Pain: Why Your Relationships Need Struggle and Team Clock: A Guide to Breakthrough Teams. You can find Steve on LinkedIn.