Career Development

Being Chosen

The comment struck me as unusual; "I'm surprised they picked me. Clearly, they see something in me that I don't."

Unusual because it came from a leader for whom I had the utmost respect. As a former work colleague, she had impressed me with her even-handed interactions with people and her ability to give even the most difficult feedback in a way that empowered instead of demeaned. This woman was universally regarded by all those who worked with and for her.

She had recently secured her first board position in a coveted company. There was never any doubt that she would obtain such a role, and accordingly, the job market responded when she set her sights on taking this next career step. Yet her humility was once again on display as she seemed genuinely astounded that after a lengthy process, she had indeed been chosen.

This incident came off the back of another conversation I had engaged in that day. A young man sat across me, expressing surprise that he had been selected to participate in a highly sought-after and competitive leadership program. "I don't see myself as a leader," he said flatly, "I'm not that sure of my opinions, and I'm really not that assertive. Shouldn't I be all those things to succeed?"

But that was it. I thought he was all those things. Here was a young man with a balanced and measured presence, who was personable, reflective and mature, a person who I felt anyone would be happy to be led by.

These two conversations made me think about self-perception and inheritances and that our image of ourselves is often outdated, outmoded and based on an earlier version of self. Our shifting environment and life experiences push us forward, communicating the new and urging us to break free from the past. Our self-awareness needs to keep up.

You can't stop progress.

And so, I responded to this young man as he was about to step into his developing power: "No, I don't see you in that way at all. You've been chosen, you heeded the call, and the call was right. You belong in this new arena of authority and influence."

As your life unfolds, it will deliver opportunities in alignment with your blossoming power. When we trust that our life knows what it is doing and yield to its influence rather than resist it, we accept who chooses us and why and embrace our purpose. We welcome the decision of others to put their faith in us, knowing that by trusting another's commitment, we trust ourselves. We say, "I've got this", ensuring that on any given day, the best version of us shows up, present and ready to act and contribute.

3 Tips for Claiming What's Right

1. Pay Attention

Challenge negative self-talk and disrupt established ways of thinking. Confront thoughts that don't make you feel good – such as "I'm dumb, I never achieve my goals", etc. Be mindful of the stories you tell yourself and examine them for accuracy. 

2. Create the Reset

Ask some trusted friends or colleagues for their views of your strengths. Establish a current perspective of how others see you. Participate in an online assessment such as the HBDI to give factual and scientific feedback on where you are now. Reset and take stock of the present.

3. Embrace the Edge

Understand that being uncomfortable means you're at the edge, at the boundary of what is known and what is unknown. You've reached a line in the sand which you can choose to step over or not. I encourage you to take the step and move on.

Remember, you can't stop progress.

Robin Elliott copyright 2023

Personal Development