But what does it mean to be seen?
While that answer is still unfolding in my own life, I can tell you what it meant to the Vikings of old.
(That’s a lot for our modern world, huh? Let’s take a step back…)
A Boast is a practice from the Norse tradition, created in part to while away the long, dark nights of the cold and bleak North.
Essentially it’s a drinking game in four rounds. Participants form a circle. As Round 1 begins, a drinking horn is filled.The first Boast is of a God or Goddess.
Actual belief in this God or Goddess is secondary. The point is to select a mythic story – one that tells us something about you. You choose based on what you value.
Value living life in spite of difficulties? Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles, might be right for you.
Value compassion and serving others? Rock out to Jesus who lived those values. Tell me a story of a time he did just that.
Let us see what’s important to you through the story you weave, the tale you tell.
Everyone around the circle Boasts to a God or Goddess of their choosing, drinks deep, and passes the cup around the circle.
The cup is refilled and we move on the Round 2: your hero.
Who you admire - living or dead, historical or fiction, famous or unknown – tells us a lot about who you are.
And remember, this is a BOAST! Make it BIG! Make it grand! Tell us what they did! Show us what was so awesome and fabulous about them.
(The Vikings liked a good competition, and so there’s a subtle contest going on in any good Boast – to see who can spin the best tales.)
Which brings us to Round 3, the hardest for our culture.
Round 3 asks you to pick something you’re proud of, some personal victory or character trait, and talk about it in the same terms that you’ve just used to praise your hero and your Goddess.
Mm. Let that sink in for a moment. I kinda snuck it up on you.
You were getting all into it, right? Thinking about who you admired, which god or goddess best demonstrates who you are in this moment in your life. And then I went and threw you in the mix. Arg!
That feeling? That’s where being seen resides…
See, the Norse knew what they were doing. They understood that the greatness lay in the telling of the story, not in anything special about their appointed Boast-ees.
They knew they held same greatness and potential as their heroes; they knew that the only thing that separated them was the way the stories were told.
And when we let fear take the lead, it tries to diminish us, wrapping us in stories to make us smaller, safer.
Claiming your voice, whether in life or in marketing, boils down to one thing:
telling bigger, bolder stories.
- Stories of our authentic experience and our authentic Self.
- Stories that shine out.
- Stories that reflect who we are and what we value.
- Stories that share what we know and stories about of tender vulnerabilities and what scares us.
- Stories about how we move past those vulnerabilities and turn them into strengths to share with the world.
You want to be seen? Hold a Boast. Tell those stories, and put yourself into them.
Or better yet, join me on Thursday, February 4th at 8pm EST/5pm PST for a Virtual Boast in honor of the Celtic holiday Imbolc!
Using the wonders of technology, 20 of us will come together for about 2.5 hours. We’ll form a virtual circle via Zoom video conferencing, create sacred space to strongly support us, and Boast about who and what is important to us…ourselves included!
This is an opportunity to practice this idea of being seen within sacred community, with a strong facilitator. It’ll feel safe and protected, while still offering an opportunity to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
Being seen in 2016 is a beautiful resolution, but like all resolutions, it works best when practiced!