And yet we often hide from our success in important ways that dim our ability to inspire and energize others and thus impact the world. What do I mean by that?
1. We “play down” our success when others ask us about it.
Haven’t we all done this at some point? Someone asks you, “how are you?” or “how is your business doing?” and we feel compelled to say, “ok,” or “oh, you know, it could always be better” because we are worried that we’ll hurt the other person’s feelings or make them uncomfortable in some way if we share the truth about our success. Why on Earth do we do this?
Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my new business friends, Anthony Iannarino. When I asked him how his business was he just gushed about how well he is doing and how much fun he is having.
You know what? No only did that not hurt my feelings it completely energized me and led to a very insightful conversation about what he is doing right. Some of his strategies, it turns out, may work for me as well, and I have been slowly “trying them on for size.” I am hoping that they will make me a more impactful marketer and leader. If he had answered my question with, “ah, not bad…” and let it go we never would have had such a dynamic conversation and the impact of his success would not have spread.
I think because we “play down” our success – sometimes habitually – we miss out on opportunities to deepen our connection to others and to energize others through our own experiences.
2. We “play down” our role.
How often do we do this too as leaders? The “aw, shucks, it wasn’t me it was the team…” is entirely well-intentioned and the best leaders certainly know that it’s their teams that make them successful.
But when someone looks at us, as the team leader/business leader/company leader and says, “you’ve done a tremendous job” why is it often so hard for us to first say, “thank you?”
Why is it so hard for us to own our success and then go on to talk about our teams – how our teams are made up of truly smart people who own their roles and are a great fit for their roles, who empower themselves for success and who are intent on success as a team (all of which, you realize, is a reflection of you as the leader…).
Doesn’t that make for a much more energizing and in some ways inspiring, exchange with another person? Won’t the other person appreciate that we said, “thank you” in response to their compliment?
You know who’s brilliant at this? Mack Collier. I know I’ve mentioned him quite a bit but he’s a mentor of sorts and I’ve learned so much from him. He very often tweets about how it’s the smart men and women who participate in #blogchat and generously share their advice that have made it the dynamic and overwhelming success it’s become.
But, at the end of a #blogchat when participants tweet something along the lines of, “another outstanding #blogchat Mack” he replies with a hearty “thank you” – and then thanks others for participating. I have a strong gut feeling that those who compliment him genuinely appreciate his “thank you” and feel acknowledged by it.
I fully believe that Mack’s leadership style is the integral reason #blogchat has grown by leaps and bounds through vibrant word of mouth – helping hundreds of people better their blogs in the process.
The ability to say, “thank you” in a heart-felt manner and to own our success confidently and respectfully is an act of inspired leadership.
3. We Don’t “Toot Our Own Horns”
Smart leaders know how to do this effectively and not frivolously. Take for example Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker, founders of SOBCon (Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference – which is actually so much more than its name). If you look at the Twitter stream for #sobcon you’ll see many instances where one or the other of them has re-tweeted a compliment that had been shared on Twitter about SOBCon.
Now, some say this is not proper Twitter etiquette. Many feel that it’s boastful and unappealing to re-tweet something nice that another person has said about you or your business. I get that, actually, and in general I do adhere to this.
But in Liz and Terry’s case the re-tweeting has a much greater and more impactful purpose. You see, the more those compliments about the SOBCon event get tweeted, the more people that get exposed to them, and thus the more people who will ultimately look into the conference to find out what it’s about and the more who will attend. Ultimately, because of the effect of this truly unique conference there will be more people who will experience a transformational shift in their life and/or their business.
So, when Liz and Terry toot their own horn it has powerfully positive impact on others. I believe this is the most important reason to toot our own horns and one that many leaders don’t understand when they shy away from tooting.
(If you’d like some ideas on how to toot your own horn that might be more applicable to you in your business environment, I delved deeply into that here (make yourself more visible) and here (make your ideas more visible). I hope you’ll find some of the insights and experiences there to be helpful.)
So, instead of hiding from your success challenge yourself to turn up the light on your success in order to inspire and energize others and to powerfully and positively impact the world! In doing so MORE success will find you…it’s virtually guaranteed.
Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments…I would be honored to read them!
(I’d also be honored if you’d consider subscribing here!)
…Photo is Hide and Seek by Faithful Chant.