The courage to be visible is a necessary quality if you want to succeed in business and/or life. It requires an element of risk. Putting yourself out in the world to achieve your goals and make a positive impact is not always easy. It can be intimidating, but working on cultivating courage leads to greater success. The more you do it, the more it boosts confidence and self-belief in such a way that you become more willing to take risks (be more visible, for example).

Two famous people who overcame their fear of being visible are former President Barack Obama and singer Beyoncé Knowles. President Obama, the first African American president of the United States, overcame his fear of being visible by taking risks and believing in himself. He had to confront the challenges of racism and discrimination to reach the highest office in the country. Similarly, Beyoncé Knowles was able to overcome her fear of being visible by believing in her own talent and persevering despite the obstacles she faced. We all know how successful, recognisable and visible both Beyonce and President Obama are. They now use their visibility to advocate for social issues they believes in. I know I have used two very famous people as examples of overcoming their fear of being visible. I wanted to do show that being afraid to be visible is common, even among the very famous. The bigger the role, the bigger the fear.

But take a step back for a second. You don’t need to shine your light in such a big way if you don’t have the desire to be famous.  You can aim to be visible just for the sake of it. If you’re afraid to take a selfie and put it on social media because you fear judgement or criticism, this may be a good place to start.  Start with one photo post a week. Then two. By week four you’ll be posting a video and photos! It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s about making a start and progressing from there. It’s about cultivating the courage muscle so that you grow. Growing and developing are part of human evolution.

You may need to weigh up the risk of being visible depending on the reason behind it. Is it workplace-related and you need to speak up about something that’s important? Is it to boost your confidence. If you are hesitant because you are afraid, fear is the gremlin preventing you from moving forward in your own growth. This then, may be the best opportunity to positively challenge yourself. If, on the other hand, there is a risk of a job loss or an element of danger, this is something else. You may wish to talk through the situation with someone you trust before taking action. Sometimes, the things we think turn out badly – because of taking action and being visible, may just be a blessing for your future. You just didn’t know it at the time.

Sana Turnock is a speaker and facilitates individual and workplace programs focusing on fostering a growth mindset and success using a courage framework. Visit Home – Courage Unravelled  to find out more.