Monday, February 14, 2022

The Adult Version of Hide-and-Seek

A few weeks ago, I was told by one of my mentors that "you cannot serve or lead others if you remain hidden."

The context was my reluctance to publish my articles. I have been a shy person all my life and really preferred to keep a low profile at all costs, which has resulted in a lot of missed opportunities.
Friend, if you like "hiding" like me, this might resonate with you.
As a child, did you enjoy playing hide and seek?

I did. It’s one of those games that my cousins and I played as kids. You’d look for the most hidden, darkest place in your home where you can fit your small body and stay out of sight.

Nothing’s more satisfying than outsmarting the seeker!

Hide and seek was a great game to play as kids.

But as adults?

Many of us have been playing this game, too. Oh, many of us have been playing this game for far too long and it’s no longer as wholesome as it used to be!

The problem is we’re no longer playing this game for fun, but we’re applying it to our real life.

We love to hide from a lot of things and yet we seek solutions that seem elusive—because we like to stay hidden.

Tell me if this sounds like you too…

You like hiding from new tasks that you think are challenging or are out of your comfort zone,
because you think there’s a great chance you’d fail.

You like hiding from new roles that a new job or a new business might give you, because you’re afraid the new role is too difficult for your current skills or capabilities.

You like hiding from your relatives and friends… not in the literal sense because you still see them, but you like hiding your true self from them because you fear they would judge you or criticize you for not meeting “expectations,” whatever those are!

You like hiding behind the shadow of your past. (This one’s hard to admit and maybe very hard to spot!)

What shadow am I talking about here? The shadow of your past are moments that you so easily remember!

... moments where you didn’t get that job or project that you really like.
... moments where you put a business plan on hold because you thought you’ve not prepared enough.
... moments where you felt embarrassed about your actions because you think they’ve had poor outcomes.
... moments where you felt degraded because your ideas or proposal was rejected or worse, stolen by someone else.
... moments where you felt like you were just pretending to be someone you're not–someone who is confident and smart.
... moments where you regretted not taking a chance and letting many opportunities pass by because you thought you were not ready.

I can go on and on here. You get the drift?

The point is you like hiding and the sad reality is you may not be even aware of it.

The shadow of your past is always there. And it’s just so easy for you to remember moments where you felt you’re not good enough and it takes a lot more effort to recall moments where you’ve actually won and succeeded.

You don’t celebrate your successes enough and you choose to remain hidden in the dark for so long.
Why is this happening?

You work so hard. You have big goals for yourself. You prepare and invest in your growth even sometimes to the point of overpreparation.

You sacrifice a lot of things—your time, your money, your health, your relationships—just to chase the success you want so badly and you’re left wondering why it isn’t happening to you.

You begin to assume maybe others who made it are just luckier, smarter, richer, younger/older, more experienced and more EVERYTHING than you are.

Look, I’m not in the position to tell you you’re wrong, but just look at the successful people around you. Read about their lives before they were successful and it will quickly tell you your assumptions aren’t true at all.

Nobody was born successful.

But if you are indeed hiding, you make it harder for yourself to succeed. You’re not giving yourself a chance to succeed.

All because you’re making it hard for others to find you. It makes a lot of sense, right?

In real life, there are seekers too--people who seek solutions and help that you can actually offer! And you’re not giving yourself the best opportunity or even just a good chance to be found.

Listen, no one will find you if you stay hidden, not even your loved ones.

You cannot serve others, lead others, or at the very least, lead yourself if you remain hidden all your life.

So ask yourself, are you hiding? And if you are, ask yourself why. The first step to your success may come the moment you step out of your hiding place.

You may never feel ready to come out of hiding, but you always have the choice to do it today.

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