How to Eloquently Flip the Bird to Nay-Sayers

Every week, Perry and I get together and strategize for about 15 minutes on what all we will talk about for our upcoming episode on Inspired Parent Insights. This week, it was how we respond to strangers who judge our parenting style on the playground, dropping off the kids at school, at a playdate. But it doesn’t really have to be strangers. Parents, in-laws, friends, whoever it may be still in our mind often pass an opinion on how we ought to raise our little ones. So I got to thinking. This actually applies to more than just parenting. It applies very much to whatever we do in life, and especially our performance at work. Don’t you just want to flip them the bird and move on?

 

He Who Executes, Wins

When I was in high-school, I dated a math whiz. He was exceptional at mathematics. Crazy smart. He eventually got a full scholarship to go to the University of Waterloo to study math. Me, by comparison, I was a mediocrity most all of my subjects including math. I never strived to be the top. I still made the honor roll, but I was content just being among the top 20%. So I was by no means remotely close to math prodigy the way Calvin was.

 

 

One day in May, a girl Alison, who was a grade below me, asked me to tutor her in math. Of course, she would pay me. I was thrilled! I couldn’t believe that I was going to make money helping someone with their homework. A whopping $10/hr. I know. But remember, this was back in the day when, just after I turned 16, I was happy working for $3.93/hr as a student page at the Edmonton Public Library.

Add to the fact that this was in math, no less! To think that someone actually thought that I was smart enough to pay me for my guidance in mathematics floored me. And so I told my boyfriend excitedly.

“You? Tutor math?” he asked slightly incredulously.

I dismissed the arrogance. I was winning. Yep me. Little old me, whom you think is an idiot at math. I was asked help someone in the very subject at which you excel. And I’m making money doing it. In the interest of peace, I never voiced that. But I was definitely satisfied. Hey, nothing was stopping him from hanging his tutoring shingle. The lesson is this: The golden ticket always goes to the one who dares to execute.

 

Action Beats Aptitude

Here’s the thing. It matters not what your aptitude is. No one cares how much you know. There will be always people who think they’re better than you. There will always be those who don’t see you as an intellectual equal. You don’t have to be the smartest, most knowledgeable person in the room to be the expert. If you execute, you are the winner. There are tons of brilliant deadbeats in the world; there are also wildly successful intellectual mediocrities.

 

via http://mcdonalds.com

 

Look at it this way: Do you think that McDonald’s makes the world’s best hamburger? No, of course not. Despite the fact that they may have on staff world-class culinary chefs who graduated from the highly prestigious CIA (Culinary Institute of America), I’m sure you can name at last 125 other places that make a better burger than McDonalds. But given that that’s the case, why does McDonalds sell more burgers than any other restaurant on the face of the planet? This is a prime example where success isn’t determined by brilliance. It is however, determined by action, differentiation, and value.

 

There Will Always Be Someone Better, but Who Cares

In still the very much male-dominated IT industry, there are a ton of men (and women) who think they’re better than everybody else. They think they’re better technically, better at politics, better communicators, better people-persons (people) than most everybody else. In their minds, they might be right. Honestly, it’s irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the one who executes.

No one is stopping you from taking the initiative to transform something really complicated to sheer simplicity to your client. That’s value. There will always be someone who doesn’t know as much as you. These folks rely on your guidance to move forward. Your advice is valuable to them. Be that guide. Be that coach. On the flip side, there is always someone who knows more than you, who is smarter than you, and a better consultant than you. Again, it’s irrelevant. What matters is who executes, differentiates and adds value. The only thing that you can control is what you do, what you can do for your client, and how you do it such that they find it valuable.

 

 

If you can do this, you’ve beat likely 98% of the population. I’ll have you know that most of the working world today submit all of these external forces. They stop even before they start. It’s not only those who want to make that huge leap of faith to leave their job and go self-employed. That’s a huge deal. I get that. But even small things: putting their name in the hat for that open position as the next Director of Business Applications. I’m talking about seizing the opportunity to be the one to deliver that presentation to the executive, or taking the lead on that next initiative in their organization.

 

I’m Not Good Enough

Most of the population is stuck behind “I’m not good enough.” I know. I was like this for the longest time. I shied away from opportunities because I felt that in comparison to my peers, I was small potatoes. I wasn’t experienced enough, or assertive enough, or quick enough for debate. Well. F*ck that. I realized that I have no one to answer to but myself. No one will feel the pain of not going for it but me. If I don’t make it happen, no one will. I am the source.

There are still times when I have these same limiting thoughts flow through my mind. Who am I to think that I can write an article that gets published? Who am I to start coaching others in consulting? Who am I to start a podcast about consulting and parenting? Who am I to make a magazine cover especially in my own profession? Who am I to get engaged by multi-national organizations as an expert in my field? I’m sure similar thoughts have run through your mind. You might look at your past, and say, ‘I’ve never done that before,’ ‘These certain people are way smarter than I am and they haven’t even done it, let alone me?’ ‘

No shit you haven’t done it. It’s irrelevant. There are tons of things you haven’t done before in your life. In fact, for every single little thing in your life, there was a point in time in which you hadn’t done it before.

 

Differentiate

The best thing you can be is you. Today I invite you to go through this thought exercise:

What is your unique unfair advantage? What’s your superpower? Everyone’s got one. You are 100% original. Nobody is like you. It’s only when you copy and mimic other people that gets you into trouble. Why would you do that? Being you is your biggest advantage. You are you. Nobody is like you. When you can amplify that unique image in your industry, it becomes your personal brand. It makes you an authority. People can attempt to copy you, but they’ll always play second fiddle to you being you.

In the wise words of Frank J Giblin II “Be yourself. Who is better qualified?”


Also published on Medium.

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