Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Mindy Gibbins-Klein (United Kingdom).
We all have a compulsion to strive for others’ acknowledgement and recognition for our achievements. To get this recognition, we must share our ideas and accomplishments with the world. Mindy Gibbins-Klein explains how to do this.
Why do most people refrain from expressing themselves? Despite having heard many different answers to this question in the past, the majority of them can be categorised as ‘fear’. Regardless of how experienced, or well-educated we are, fear can creep up to put a downer on our ambitions. And while it’s a useful thing to have our wits about us in dark alleys, they often cause nothing but detriment when working towards a positive goal.
‘I have nothing to say’. Are you sure about that? Or is it just that what you have to say has already been articulated? It is very common for people to feel that a point already made is not worth repeating – and this can be true – but every perspective is different, and perhaps you could have contributed a point that the other person missed. Most people are happy to listen if there is something new to gain, just one little nugget of information. You are easily capable of producing that.
Philip Cox-Hynd, a client of mine and highly respected change management consultant, is no stranger to these sorts of feelings, and identifies the source of them. He believes a perceived gap is to blame for new ideas being shut down before they are voiced. The voids between yourself and whoever you are trying to share your idea with, and between your current position and where you stand to be should your idea be shot down, add pressure to the situation, and often result in bottled-up creativity. Perceptions about what is at stake and where we belong in a hierarchy are common traps experienced by the rookie and the expert alike.
‘Is my idea important enough?’ is another concern often voiced by senior and well-established professionals. No scale for the measurement of importance has ever been invented – it is one of those concepts which is entirely objective. What one person may define as important, another may define as useless, and nobody’s idea of importance is any more accurate than another’s. The issue of importance has often developed from very basic hesitations, such as ‘What will people think?’ and ‘Will people like me?’
When we ask ourselves such questions, we resign our own value to the estimations of other people. How different would our world be today had Gandhi fretted about dissent, or Einstein believed his teachers when they told him he would amount to nothing? Although some leaders (mostly those concerned with saving face) may insist that they couldn’t care less whether their colleagues liked them or not, such a concern is quite a natural one, and is often masked purely to maintain a veneer of control and professionalism.
‘Our fearless leader’. It may sound good, but it’s as deceptive a concept as the others. Despite the official honour of being in charge of people or things, no such distinction can make a person literally fearless, and every single person out there is affected by feelings of anxiety or fear at some point. Even the greatest, strongest leaders in history, says Churchill or Napoleon, felt intimidated and overwhelmed at some stage in their careers – the difference is that they did not allow such feelings to dictate their actions. As effective leaders, they recognised such insecurities as destructive to their efforts, and actively ignored them.
If your contribution is not valued as you would have liked, what is the worst that can happen? We may dread it happening, but you are highly unlikely to be laughed at in a professional setting. It’s far more likely that you will find opposition from the odd cynic who does not understand your idea or what value it will bring. To counter this, focus on being confident in your idea, and do a little research. Ideas can be disputed, facts not so much. Offer a couple of facts to support your idea, so even if you don’t manage to bring others round to it, you will have the confidence to carry on alone.
We have all faced a fear at some point in our lives. Whether it was diving from the next board up, or hosting an event, or simply experimenting with a new fashion. That relatable build-up of fear that takes place just beforehand is nearly always eliminated by the sudden rush of confidence and joy we feel after overcoming it. This step is important in getting over our fears, as we are proving something to ourselves, and providing ourselves evidence of our own abilities. Making such progress will help you on the way to achieving your goals.
Time, discipline and confidence. Having a negative mindset about our own abilities causes a negative chain reaction when it comes to achievement. If a dominant voice in our heads assures us that our ideas are not worthy and that’s a lot of hassle will be saved by abandoning them, we are less inclined to resist distractions. We might plan our time less efficiently, or find our minds wandering to other topics, or simply accept defeat, and when this happens, the little nuggets of gold you uncovered are buried all over again. It is imperative to disregard influences which distract you from your main goal.
If any of these obstacles are causing serious detriment to your journey, get resourceful and see what is around you. Whether it’s self-help literature, training courses and groups or coaching, there is always something you can be doing to improve your odds of getting your point across and seeing the fruits of your labour.
About Mindy Gibbins-Klein
Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FPSA FRSA is a multi-award-winning international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. Her flagship book 24 Carat BOLD outlines the four attributes found in true thought leaders. Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader takes thought leadership to a new level.
Founder and CEO of REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife® and Panoma Press, Mindy has authored and co-authored eight books. She is also a regular contributor to the business press on thought leadership and raising your profile.