It’s What You Can’t See That Really Matters!


It’s common to focus on the externals – what others see, but it’s actually what’s inside you that really matters! You know – the stuff that’s hidden, but really holds you altogether personally and professionally!

While learning to sew doesn’t seem as in vogue these days, I was eager to learn. I tackled my first sewing project the summer following third grade. Under my mother’s watchful eye, I made a pair of pink shorts and matching top that I was pretty pleased with. In fact, I couldn’t wait to show it off my handiwork on the final day of VBS that summer.

If you had been there to see me sporting the outfit I made, you probably wouldn’t have known I made it…unless you were able to take a closer look on the inside.

Quality Is On The Inside!

The quality of a garment isn’t always visible on the outside. What really matters is determined by the materials and care that goes into the cutting, sewing, and finishing of a garment.

These days, I confess I purchase 99% of the clothes I wear, but that doesn’t change the fact that even if I examine the seams and such, there might still be less visible issues that compromise how well a garment holds up. After all, some signs of poor quality only show up over time – after some wear and tear and several of washings.

The Quality of Life

Here’s the deal: it’s not that different in your life and work! The quality of them both is determined by what’s on the inside, the part others can’t see. In fact, it’s all the behind-the-scenes investments you make that determine how you hold up under the wear and tear of life. To everyone around you, everything might appear awesome, but when under stress, or facing hard events you feel the turmoil, it’s like you are falling apart at the seams.

Putting effort into areas of your life that others have no way of seeing may seem pointless. In fact, you may be much more motivated to work hard, very hard, at maintaining the illusion that everything is OK until you feel like you are coming undone!

Unraveling is not a happy feeling!

If you’d like to enhance the quality of your life and work, begin by improving it from the inside out and…

1. Tuning In

If you were not encouraged as a child to identify your feelings and label them or to express your needs and desires, tuning in will be more challenging for you as an adult. However, without that valuable information to guide you, you are set up to make choices that won’t serve you. Perhaps you’ve experienced the effects of not tuning in like this:

      • Working beyond your limits and wearing yourself out
      • Meeting everyone’s needs but your own and operating on empty
      • Saying yes even though it takes a huge toll on you
      • Staying perpetually busy so you don’t have to feel your feelings
      • Ignoring what you need so your needs aren’t met
      • Choosing to make others happy and sacrificing your dreams, desires, and needs
      • Not noticing how stressed you are until it’s too late or after the fact

If stress is the norm for you, and it is for many, you may not realize that your stress levels are rising.

Tuning into how your body responds to different emotions and stress is essential. Do your muscles or jaw tighten? Does your heart race, your stomach churn, or your head ache? Do you feel like you have to hurry?  Or maybe your breathing goes shallow or you get overly emotional. Maybe you withdraw or freeze when stressed. Whatever your unique response to various emotions or stress is, it is valuable information meant to guide you in making healthy decisions!

In addition to paying closer attention to how you are feeling and what you need, you might try taking the 30-Day Feelings Challenge, or begin the habit of writing down how you are feeling each morning or evening. Over time, tuning in gets easier and you may even begin to observe some patterns.

2. Being Fully Present

Doing life and work on autopilot is no way to live. In essence, you are letting life pass you by!

Beware, being fully present means slowing down, multitasking no more, and giving your undivided attention to tasks and treasured ones in your life.

Not only will your life be more joy-filled, but being more present will boost the quality of your work too!

3. Practicing Gratitude

Don’t under estimate the power of gratitude! In fact, gratitude goes a long way towards diminishing negativity and fear – two things that diminish the quality of your life and work! Regularly practice gratitude and you’ll discover just how transformative it is.

4. Prioritizing Healthy Habits

It’s no secret that exercising, eating regularly and well, getting sufficient sleep, and enjoying regular down time all contribute to a healthy life. However, you may be skimping in one or more of these areas because nobody is there to witness what you are up to or because you choose to put your efforts into other more visible activities.

I want to challenge you: while others may not see your healthy habits happening, neglecting these areas will eventually take a toll on your health, relationships, quality of work and life. These activities are fabulous mood boosters, they increase your energy, and help you to feel calmer. Those are some pretty sweet reasons to prioritize healthy habits…even if others don’t notice.

5. Practicing Self-Care Regularly

Self-care is not only something I highly recommend, but it is a topic I’ve written about previously here and here, so rather than going into great detail now, I will simply remind you that caring for yourself is a necessary activity! Whatever you do in life and work, you will do it better from a filled-up place rather than a depleted one, even if you have no one watching to see the amazing way you take care of you!

6. Rethinking Your Work

Work is not your life – it is one aspect of your life. You are not what you do.

I absolutely love working, I always have, yet working all the time is actually counterproductive. You’d be surprised at how being a well-rounded individual and limiting the number of hours you work allows you to work more effectively. And it demonstrates that you trust God too!

It’s worth reflecting on, how do you view your work? Is it your identity or does it make you feel valuable? Significant? Productive? Needed?

How does your perspective around your work need to change?  What would a more balanced approach to life look like for you? Where do you need to set boundaries and/or adopt new habits? Where might you streamline your approach to work or simplify some processes?

So often work becomes what we do and we ignore the internal areas of our lives that truly need some work.

7. Investing in Relationships

Laughing and hanging out with friends or savoring time with family feeds your soul in glorious ways! By investing in your relationships, you expand your world while practicing a skill that is essential to being successful. How will you carve out time to connect?

8. Spending Time with God

Life is full! There are more than a few responsibilities to juggle. Even are even more if you are a leader! Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day! Instead of taking time to allow God to fill you, help you, and lavish you with love, you skip time with Him in hopes of getting more done. This might work for a minute, but in the end, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

God knows what you need to accomplish. He longs to help you. Do you trust Him enough to invest time in being still with Him?

Here’s the very best part and the most powerful perk to making time to work on the inside, the aspects of your life that most don’t see. Your efforts will stitch your life together with superior quality enabling you to endure the wear and tear of the inevitable challenges, hard circumstances, etc. that are sure to come your way.

So, what invisible aspect of your life will you tackle first?

© Can Stock Photo / uriy2007

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.


  1. Anchal on April 17, 2024 at 9:13 am

    Hi Marvae,

    It was such a pleasure reading your blog. You have put everything required for transformation in this one read. You say such complex things with so much simplicity. Thank you for putting this together.

    • Marvae Eikanas on April 17, 2024 at 9:58 am

      Hello Anchal – Thank you! Great to hear from you! Hope you are doing well! -Marvae

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