When I was a little girl I played with Suzy. Everyday was a play date with Suzy as we ran up and down the stairs of the white farm-house where I lived. In all ways, she was the best type of friend a 6-year-old girl could have: she let me choose all the games we played, she always did what I told her, she never hurt my feelings, and I always got to go first.
Was it the skill of her parents that taught Suzy to be the ideal friend? Or perhaps, at 6 years of age, she was just naturally kind, selfless, and considerate? Neither. Suzy didn’t exist–at least not to anyone but me. She was my invisible friend.
Her invisibility didn’t make her any less real to me although my parents probably thought it odd to hear me talking to someone who didn’t answer audibly to them. As I became older, I transitioned from playing with an invisible friend to trying to make myself invisible. Clumsy and nonathletic, I held up my hands to defend myself during Dodge Ball hoping the football players would have mercy on me as they slammed the balls across the mid line in the gym. In high school, I signed up for algebra not realizing this subject was going to be explained to me by a fast-talking math whiz. As he rattled off questions to the class, I shrank down in my back row seat and looked away from the teacher so he wouldn’t call me. But no matter how much the teacher wanted to help me he wasn’t able to because I didn’t believe I could learn a subject foreign to me. Comprehending was invisible for me.
But like my friend, Suzy, the invisible is made visible once someone believes. It’s the disbelief that shrinks the possibility of what can be. Visibility is revealed in layers and for most of us our largest stage on which to appear is in the work arena. Some are overachievers; they work their way up the corporate ladder yet have a difficult time giving a hand to help the next person up the rung. These co-workers can be recognized by the way they snap at others or roll their eyes when asked for assistance on a project. Their inability to believe in abundance creates a protective shield around them with the end result of harm because they could help others but choose not to. They believe their achievement will ultimately be stolen by those they help.
But then there are people who work at invisible jobs but their gratitude for what is makes them visible to all they encounter. There’s the convenience store clerk who makes sure she styles her hair and puts on makeup everyday and sincerely asks everyone she serves “what else can I do for you?” When someone pauses for a moment to consider her existence and ask how she is, she responds: “fantastic.”
The difference between the two mindsets is the core belief within each. The former–despite her superficial success–believes there is lack and the other–within the humble position she holds– believes she has a special mission in the place she serves and she creates abundance where none or little existed. A core belief can be changed once someone makes the commitment to make visible the thoughts that have been invisible to them.
For 2017 what story will you believe in and act on: abundance or scarcity?