Owning It

Monday, September 14, 2015

Last Spring I worked with an orphan home in Kenya. One of my favorite things about the kids I spent time with is the way they accept compliments.

"You're really intelligent." I know.

"You're really good at XYZ, did you know that?" Yes.

No hubris, just matter-of-fact confidence.

This weird — mostly American — practice of downplaying intelligence or talents in the hope it will make us somehow more relatable is damaging on so many levels and truly holds us back.

If you're not smart, why I am paying to hear you speak?

If you're not innovative, why did I hire you to produce my event?

If you're not going to make me think, why did I bring you on as a consultant?

There's a fine line between ego and confidence, but owning what you're good at is the only way you're going to do work that matters. True humility doesn't hide its gifts.

Originally published May 2014

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