It’s Not Easy Being Seen

As a cyclist I have come to realize that community organizers, social entrepreneurs and innovators share a common fear with bike riders – NOT BEING SEEN.

The result of not being seen are derailments, detours and other disasters. They undermine your momentum and threaten your pride and joy.

Even though you have something substantial there are a number of reasons why people can’t or won’t see either your bike or your proven solution:

  • They are distracted, too busy or looking the other way.
  • Your work doesn’t conform to what they are looking for.
  • They don’t want to see you because they don’t think you deserve to be seen. Your mere existence is threatening.

To minimize crashes and clashes and to keep yourself and your innovation alive, you have to make it easy to be seen by others.

If you are a cyclist, change the colour of your clothing. Red used to be the standard until it became so commonplace it blended in. Yellow and golden were next. For a while it was blue. Now it’s florescent green! Don’t forget lumens! They are powerful even in daylight.

If you are a change-maker find a literal or metaphorical container for your major initiative, big idea and social innovation. Anticipate how others may see you. You never know when you might have to change your framing or packaging. I offer a number of examples in my latest book, Impact, Six Patterns to Spread Your Social innovation.

You have to be as alert about being recognized as you are about creating the perfect solution. Or riding the perfect bike.


Those who think metaphorically are enabled to think truly because the shape of their thinking echoes the shape of the world. (Jan Zwicky from her wonderful book Wisdom and Metaphor)

Musical selection this post is Keep Shining by none other than Shad. He’s not just a great radio host. Purchase his music here.


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Drive a Stake Through It

You Don’t Need a Weatherman

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Advocate

A Robust Society is a Feminist Society

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