If I Am So Great, How Will Others Know?

How  does one achieve balance, stay humble, and get the word out about one’s talents in a world littered with “selfies”?

Recently I met a senior executive whose company hired a prestigious consulting firm to solve a multi-million dollar problem. When I asked how the process was going she replied “Not very well. We are wasting an awful lot of money on a problem that I could have fixed.”

 When I asked “Why on earth did you not speak up right away and mention your capabilities to your bosses?” she mentioned the following constraints. She

  1. Was known in this corporation for a completely different set of skills. Very few people knew that she had solved similar problems in her previous place of employment. (Constricted Brand)
  2. Never asserted her capability because she felt that it was not her place to “toot her own horn”. (False humility)
  3. Believed that if one works hard enough one will be “discovered.” (Meritocracy)

All were self-limiting beliefs that kept her from volunteering for a job well within her capabilities.

As a result she remained an undiscovered treasure.

What a tragedy to go through life with regrets like, “I could have been” or “I had no idea that I had those capabilities” or “I wish someone would have discovered me.”

The good news was that she chose to learn some important lessons about herself from this experience. She had to to wake up to the fact that she

  1. Limited herself with her erroneous beliefs
  2. Needed to be more proactive about making her wishes known
  3. Would be prudent to focus on her potential

A contrasting case was another executive that was in a highly tactical role and wanted to be a part of strategy formation. He took the bull by the horns and directly asked his boss to assign him to a strategy committee attended by more senior executives. First he sat at the table with them, learned their agenda and approaches, and soon began to make his own contribution to strategy formation. Slowly he developed his brand as a strategist. Today he is the chief strategist in his Company.

How can you step into your own shoes and live out your potential?

How do you make your brand known in more effective ways?


About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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