Knowing Your Worth Doesn’t Mean You Need To Beat Your Chest
Leadership Lesson: Don’t be afraid to show how good you are. Holding back your potential makes no sense for you or your stakeholders.
Does being good at something mean you should shut the hell up?
Let’s walk through this.
Knowing and Demonstrating Value
To build up to answering that first question, first answer this: What does the expression of your value and values mean to you?
This question means to steer you toward two additional questions to consider: (1) How important are your value and worth to you? and (2) How do you demonstrate your value and worth to others?
The first question is very important, as it is the foundation for both. It asks you to understand what you’re capable of. This plays into confidence as confidence is realizing what you’re capable of, preparing it, and then practicing it in the world. In that path to confidence, understanding your worth fuels the execution of your work and its demonstration to others (the next step). At its core, knowing how good you truly are (or not) drives how you then convey that to others.
The second point is that you can’t be as good as your potential predicts without knowing how you’re supposed to reflect it and what that demonstration looks like to others. You need to understand how important it is that others know how valuable you are in your skill and being, overall.
This line of questioning, for clarification, stems from a conversation I had with a colleague. We were talking about all things professional and personal development and, in this case, dealing with toxicity in those settings – feelings of competition, suppression, jealousy, ignorance, etc.
The conversation then turned to the idea of value and the need for someone to understand what their value is. More specifically, in this conversation, there was the need to understand that one’s worth was important so that one could combat that toxicity in their environments.
But when it came to talking about their own value, my colleague noted that they didn’t like tooting their own horn and coming across as arrogant or overbearing. Because of that fear, they would err on the side of caution and restrain and inhibit themselves from going all-in with their ability and skills. That inhibition would throw off their balance, because they were intentionally resisting themselves, and they would find it hard to harness their value and demonstrate it.
So, again, that illustrates the need for each of us to know what our worth and value is and demonstrate it, no matter what (or whom) we’re up against. It doesn’t necessarily mean we have to beat our chest to take the attention from (or off of) someone else. Beating our chest does not follow from knowing our value.
With or Without Toxicity
To further break down the discussion, let’s cover the idea of worth and value, generally, in two environments — one in which there isn’t toxicity and one in which there is.
In the environment in which there is no toxicity, it’s important for us to, again, understand and demonstrate our best attributes, characteristics, and abilities. We don’t have to be aggressive in demonstrating that to others, but we have to be a champion for who we are and the value we can provide to others.
Generally, it’s enough to work at one’s own baseline of work and life; the worth and value will then emanate from what we do. But it’s important to know it and show it to others in everything we do.
In the second environment, where there is toxicity, this conversation takes a different turn. Here, it is important to be proactive in getting the attention one deserves.
Where in the former situation, there’s no need to necessarily pass your baseline of delivery – you’re doing your best job and there’s no need to voice it as your work speaks for itself – in the latter environment, toxicity is having a negative effect on you and blocking that demonstration of ability.
The toxicity is chipping away at you, your resources and resilience. It’s pushing against your ability to deliver. A portion of the energy you utilize to deliver your best is now being used to fight off negativity.
In this environment, where there may be perpetrators of toxicity, we have to step up a bit more and make ourselves more visible. By making ourselves more visible, our work still stands on its own merit, but we’re not silenced by the toxicity of another person or force.
When it comes to worth and value, you don’t need to assume or demand the positive attention because, in the long run, the attention will come from what you do. But it’s important to stave off that which is drilling away at the mettle of who you are.
Do not tolerate anything which strips you of your value, or suppresses it.
Demonstrating your worth is similar to demonstrating your confidence – you’re not taking it, and it’s not ego, entitlement, or cockiness. Confidence is demonstrating your value, earning your credit; Ego is bragging about your value, taking your credit.
In both cases mentioned above, where there is or isn’t any toxicity, the goal for you is not to take the positive – the attention, the credit, the praise — but, instead, build your positive, while avoiding the negative.
Don’t let anyone, yourself included, monkey around with, or stop you from moving forward on, your path.
So, that begs reconsideration of the question: Does being good at something mean you should shut the hell up?
So, What About You?
- First, how do you view, refine, and harness your value and values?
- Second, how do you demonstrate them to others?
- Finally, how do you make sure to deal with toxicity in your environment, sparing both yourself and your environment from its crippling and unnecessary effects?