Five words that can transform your beliefs about visibility

By

Sarah Anderson

Visibility without value is vanity.

I’ve watched this statement land in the hearts of women countless times.

The belief that being visible is about being boastful or mindlessly in the spotlight holds many women back from using their voices and visibility for influence.

As they hear this phrase, the penny starts to drop.

I've long observed a yearning in women to be visible authentically, so it feels aligned to who they really are; to let it work alongside their values and strengths. I heard it again today from a woman who said she wanted to “do visibility my own way”.  

When we identify the purpose of our visibility — what problem it's solving, how it acts as a platform for what we stand for — everything changes. Those internal voices of fear, impostor syndrome, "not there yet" and "not for me" dissolve when shot through with purpose, strategy and a clear plan.

This is something Rose Falla knows about intimately. As the first indigenous magistrate in Victoria, and being instrumental to establishing the Koori Courts in that state, her role in driving change through courageous visibility is unassailable. We were so fortunate to have Rose join our panel as part of the Visibility and Influence Masterclass for women in the public sector. Rose was joined by her long-time friend and collaborator Kate Auty (incoming chair of the Environmental Protection Authority), and together they shared their experiences with more than 40 women leaders from across the public sector in Australia. Rose and Kate shocked up our notions of what it means to be visible and even a “leader”, which has different connotations in indigenous cultures.

In an amazing, closed conversation Rose and Kate shared profound insights on visibility, including:

  • The urgent need for women to find ways to be “interrupters”
  • Learning to live with the discomfort that comes with influence and visibility
  • The importance of generosity and trust in a cynical environment
  • Overcoming and, standing up to, discrimination… strategically
  • How to actively build a profile in male-dominated work spaces
  • The definition of leadership in a cross-cultural context
  • Why we need diverse voices in leadership at all levels, and ways to support this

We’ll be sharing more on what we learned from Rose and Kate in the coming time. But what they demonstrated, so clearly, was that visibility with value and purposeful action can create the shifts we all need.

About Visibility Co.

Working at the intersection of leadership, strategy and visibility, we seek to be strategic provocateurs and catalysts of systemic change, supporting you to unleash the potential within so you can create a better world from wherever you are.

While we’re not big on labels, we’re often referred to as social impact and communications strategists, or strategic leadership advisors, or visibility experts.

Fancy words for a business, led by Julia May and Sarah Anderson, that brings together purposeful leadership, strategy and communications in truly integrative and innovative ways.

Find out more

More Blogs

What's blocking you from visibility?

We see everyday that every single one of us has barriers to visibility, and there are some common ones we hear regularly. The great thing is, when you're able to sit in a safe space with other purposeful people with huge potential, you get to hear that everyone has these hang-ups. We mean everyone.

Read more
How to activate your influence when it feels hard

One thing that consistently amazes us in the work we do is how even the most accomplished, capable leaders underestimate their own potential and influence. It often takes us holding a mirror up to them, and describing them back to themselves as we see them - or challenging them to be bolder in their visioning, for them to see what’s possible for their own impact and career.

Read more