You’re not invisible and your voice matters

Laura Williams, SBL coach and trainer, L J Business Consultancy, uses her experience at a fast-food restaurant to reflect on SBLs who may sometimes feel invisible

Before we had a fuel shortage, my prime concern was the chocolate milkshake shortage in our local McDonalds which had been ‘unavailable’ for ages (three months!) When I was out and about, I decided to see whether it was just our area or whether this was a national supply issue.
Turns out, it was indeed just us as, when I went into a McDonalds 100 miles away from home and asked a member of staff if they had chocolate milkshake, they looked at me like I was mad! I didn’t care though. Feeling a bit smug, and very excited, I went straight up to the till to order. Then a guy with no spatial awareness whatsoever, reversed from the ‘collection’ zone into the till area and almost took me clean out!
Did this man cut in front of me? Yes.
Did he continue his business? Yes.
Did he apologise? No.
Did I just stand there and take it? No!
In fact, I believe I said something – very loudly – along the lines of – “Wow, when I got up this morning, I didn’t realise I had gained a superpower but, apparently, I am freakin’ invisible!”

Did he say anything then? Still no!
Did he look sorry? Not in the slightest!
Did he even realise what he had done? I actually don’t think he did!
I was absolutely fuming and, yes, I was speaking very loudly but when he rotated his way back into the ‘collection’ zone, there was not even a flicker of recognition of what I had just said or how furious I was, standing just three feet away from him.
I was clearly on mute as well as invisible!
Sure, his lack of spatial awareness and general manners were rude but, in actual fact, he was so absorbed in his own issues that he was completely oblivious to what was going on around him, including my agitation.
This exact scenario happens to SBLs all the time. 

We’ve got a plan, we’re pretty close to pulling it off and then BAM!

Someone takes us clean out! Chaos, mayhem, carnage…
Sometimes that someone knows exactly what they’re doing but, more often than not, they’re absorbed in their own world, doing their own thing, worrying about their own problems.
I know it’s tough right now, and it can feel like the world is against us, but people are people and they’re wrapped up in their own dramas, trying to pull off their own plans (as misguided as these may sometimes be!)

As SBLs, we know that things are, inevitably, going to get in the way; people will queue-jump, they’ll plough ahead despite our advice and they’ll walk around oblivious to what we’re trying to achieve. But that doesn’t mean you’re invisible or you’re on mute; it just means that some people may need educating.

The trick is to figure out the most productive way of doing this! Does the issue need addressing or should you let it lie? If it needs a conversation, should it happen now, or later? Should it be friendly – or should it be firm?
We all have days where we feel ignored and silenced, but that’s where the SBL community comes in! In the SBL community, you’re not invisible and you’re not on mute. If you’re feeling like this right now, then find a SBL friend and tell them about it. You’ll feel better, trust me.

PS. treat yourself to a chocolate milkshake too!

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