This is short post this week, but this topic is on my mind because I have had this conversation with so many people over the past month or so.
Here’s the dilemma so many people face…
Two kinds of people
There is one kind of person (who is universally disliked) that brags, is always talking, pretends they know it all, doesn’t add value, but acts like they are really important.
There is another kind of person who is highly capable, but doesn’t speak up because they are SO afraid that they will turn into (or be seen as) that first type of person.
- This NEVER happens.
- There is LOADS OF ROOM in between.
Smart, capable, humble, respectful
You can speak up and you can step forward – a lot — without risking turning in to that kind of person you don’t want to be. There is so much room between the two. Don’t worry about it so much.
If you are not already an annoying blow-hard, you are not going to turn into one because you speak up. That kind of person is a different species.
It’s important to contribute to the conversation.
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright once offered this very good advice to people who are not stepping forward: Learn to interrupt.
You will not be given the floor to share your contribution. You need to work it in or risk living in the background forever.
OK, you might like living in the background. But just know that you are limiting your opportunity to contribute. You’ll get to do more excellent work it if you step forward and share your knowledge with others.
Give yourself a break
Many people feel unworthy of speaking up. I often ask people struggling with this: Do you think you are at least as capable as the person doing all the talking?
The answer is always a resounding yes, even more-so.
So the question is, why not give yourself permission to be even a fraction as confident as that other person is acting?
For more ideas, see Building Your Brand without Bragging.
This was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. Her latest book is Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work and LIKE Your Life.