Do you ever feel like you blend in too much? Or feel as though you don’t stand out from the crowd?
Many of us worry we’re not differentiating or distinguishing ourselves at work or in our social circles. As humans, we crave positive attention. While our self-worth doesn’t only come in the form of praise and acknowledgment from others, those accolades certainly feel good!
If you’re craving attention, here’s how to stand out and be seen!
People yearn for attention (to be seen), but many times we may feel invisible, or like we don’t matter. We may feel like it’s not appropriate to “go for it” or by putting ourselves out there, we’re “too much,” “too loud,” or “too self-centered.”
But getting positive attention is an essential part of meeting our yearnings. Yearnings are universal longings all people share. For example, most people yearn to be respected; they yearn to be loved, to matter, to have a purpose, to be seen, and heard.
These yearnings are powerful—more potent than simple desires or wants. These are the longings of our souls. They drive us and shape our choices. By getting our yearnings met, we gain a greater sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy.
Why, then, are so many of us hesitant to let our light shine? It comes back to what psychologists refer to as mistaken beliefs. We may believe what we say doesn’t really matter. Or we may feel no one cares what we say or do. We may think, “I’m not that important,” or, “I’m not special.”
These mistaken beliefs are deeply rooted in our psyche. We’ve carried them around with us since childhood. So, it’s not something we get over or switch off in an instant. For most people, it takes years to work through their mistaken beliefs.
You see, as we’ve told ourselves these misconceptions and myths over the years, we’ve sought confirmation of these negative thoughts. We then behave in a way that reinforces our beliefs.
For example, if you believe what you say isn’t important, you may speak quietly, decide not to raise your hand, slump your shoulders, and keep your eyes cast downward. When you walk in a room with that posture, you’re sending a message to those around you—I’m shy. I’m quiet. I keep to myself. I don’t demand to be heard.
And how do those around you respond? They receive the message and reflect it back to you. They continue to overlook you in a way that continuously reinforces your mistaken beliefs. Your beliefs then become what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy.
While we won’t break out of our self-fulfilling prophecy right away, by acting with confidence and putting ourselves out there to get noticed, we will get the positive attention we crave. Attracting positive feedback helps us reverse our mistaken beliefs rather than reinforcing them.
Getting positive attention is a good thing. Even though we have mistaken beliefs that get in the way, the truth is, we all need positive attention.
Part of getting attention is to really let yourself shine. You’ve probably heard the saying, “fake it ’till you make it.” This advice applies really when it comes to attracting positive attention.
Instead of slumping around in clothes that make you feel ho-hum, see what happens when you dress up for the day. You’ve heard the advice, “dress for your next promotion.” See what happens when you put it to the test!
Yesterday, I had on a dress with a bright-colored scarf. I was surprised to have several people stop me on the street and tell me how lovely my outfit was. I went for a walk on my break, and a woman stopped me right there in the middle of downtown Chicago, and said, “Wow! You look amazing! I love your outfit!”
Now, it might have been a flattering color, and it was definitely a vibrant scarf, but if it had been a ratty sweatshirt in the same tone, would I receive the same reaction?
Truthfully, I put a lot of thought and care into how I dress. I take time to put my outfits together in a way that helps me feel confident and stylish. People were giving me positive attention and being very kind, but it was because I’d set myself up to get noticed.
You don’t need to make a big show of it, either. Simply taking time to invest in yourself, care for yourself, and plan your look, makes a huge difference. It’s not because society is full of shallow people who judge you on your look. It’s because you will feel more confident and carry yourself with greater confidence and esteem when you look pulled together.
We often see this story on popular makeover shows these days. Over a few days, the person is transformed with new outfits, makeup, and hairstyles. The reality is, they’re still the same person underneath, but the difference is in the way they’ve invested in their care. Having someone affirm they’re worth the effort often has a considerable impact. They carry themselves with confidence and feel better because they too see, “I’m important. I deserve care!” You don’t need to star on a makeover show to flip the narrative on your self-worth.
If you want to attract attention, remember it’s a two-way street. We draw attention in when we give attention to others. That means serving people, striking up a conversation, reaching out, and expressing interest in others. We all have something to offer.
So, think about what you have to offer. Each of us has a unique perspective on the world. Maybe you’re a good listener. Perhaps you have a wonderful sense of humor. Maybe you’re creative and excellent at expressing yourself through art. The more we offer and share our gifts with the world, the better. Other people notice and they will let you know.
When someone sees you and affirms you, really take it in. Don’t let compliments slide off you (or prime yourself only to hear the negative feedback). Take in positive attention and let it warm you.
When you catch yourself holding back, or hesitating on sharing your ideas, push yourself to share. Speak up and contribute! If you want positive attention, you might even need to ask for it.
One of our students decided to ask their social media circle, “What do you like about me?” They were amazed when their Facebook feed was filled with such nice compliments and accolades. They were also amazed that not one person said it was “weird” to ask the question. In fact, some of their friends asked their circle the same question, as well. Our student decided to keep this list to re-read every time he felt down or low.
Another friend, who runs a newsletter blog, mentioned he was having a really dark time and was feeling quite down. He was amazed at the loving responses that flooded his inbox. He said he wasn’t even seeking positive attention at the time; he was trying to explain to his audience why he hadn’t been writing as much. He felt so affirmed by the unexpected response that it really lifted him up.
If you want to attract positive attention, remember you have plenty to offer others. Maybe you don’t feel great about yourself—you might have a bad day or even a bad week, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything significant to offer. So, when you need those affirmations, don’t feel afraid to ask others for feedback. Say, “I’m feeling down right now, could you remind me of my talents,” or “could you give me positive feedback?”
Challenge yourself to speak up when you go into situations. Work the room! Dress and act in a way that projects confidence, even if you aren’t feeling self-assured. You may also want to challenge yourself by saying, “I’m going to speak up twice in this meeting!” or “I’m going to talk to two strangers on my way to work.”
Attracting positive attention is something we can all do. It’s perfectly okay to fake it until you make it. Start acting confident, and you may be surprised at how confident you begin to feel!
For more ideas on nurturing yourself, visit the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you’ll connect with others on their transformational journey. Don’t miss the chance to download our courses online. We’re thrilled to offer them at a special introductory price. This is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and your world!
The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.