The deal that Catherine landed was the biggest ever for her business. It was a quite a coup. So much so that her global CEO congratulated her in front of the executive leadership team for the impact that she had on the company. She was elated by the accolades. But that soon turned to anguish as she began to worry about the high expectations being placed on her to execute the contract.
We have all felt that moment of self-doubt when you bite off more than you can chew. You may have taken on a big new role, moved countries or promised an ambitious delivery date for a big project. If the game is big enough, you will likely wonder if you have what it takes.
In Catherine’s case, whenever she took on a bigger game, she would privately tell herself, “I am not smart enough.” These feelings of inferiority had plagued her entire career, even though she had actually always performed very well. However, things changed once she decided to end that familiar conversation she had about herself. Her attention moved to her customers. She had always been passionate about helping them, reasoning that their success was her success. She started a new conversation that she would be an advocate for her customers.
The theories of renowned 19th century philosopher and psychiatrist Alfred Adler recognised that feelings of inferiority are natural and something that everyone has. He believed that even the braggarts over compensate with a facade of superiority. The best-selling book capturing his theories, The Courage to Be Disliked by Japanese author Ichiro Kishimi, makes the point that, “It is when one is able to feel I am beneficial to the community that one can have a true sense of one’s worth.”
How could you expand your leadership conversation beyond yourself to play a bigger game?
Best regards, Brian