By Sandy Johnson, Senior Consultant
I have a great idea. I sit on one hand and thrust the other in the air. I’m not the only one who wants to take a crack at the answer but if I don’t get picked first, no one will hear my idea. “One at a time. Put your hand up,” my kindergarten teacher says like the supervisor she is. I wave wildly for her attention. She calls on someone else. I put my hand down.
I sometimes wonder how imbedded this type of waiting behaviour gets into our psyche as we get older. If no one asks us to voice our thoughts, do we? How many great ideas and insights are lost because there isn’t an immediate opportunity or formal permission to express them? And if there is, why might we feel reluctant to do so?
Do you keep your ideas to yourself for any of the following reasons?
- Your ideas are half baked and you’re not sure how they’re going to evolve.
- You know your idea has merit, but wonder if others will agree. And, what if they don’t?
- You don’t have enough knowledge or evidence to ‘back up’ your idea.
- You’re waiting for just the right moment.
- You want to make sure your audience will be receptive.
- Someone else will get the credit.
If you’ve said yes to any of the above, you’re probably a great listener and waiting may seem like the safe thing to do when surrounded by those who are more comfortable than you saying what’s on their mind. Don’t wait too long. Sitting with your uncertainty can mean leaving valuable ideas on the table. They won’t even make it to the table. On your next Zoom call, try taking yourself off mute and put your ideas out there! (And if you’re one of the regular talkers, put yourself on mute and watch who starts contributing.)
It’s pretty much impossible to keep pace with the rapid changes in our world today and you can be assured we’re all making it up right now. I’m convinced this is the best time to share ideas. We’re not alone in navigating the complex situations that make our lives so challenging and no one has monopoly over opinions and innovation. Great ideas can come from anyone. That “anyone” might as well be you.
Brene Brown believes that “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” I couldn’t agree more. The actions that make us feel afraid and vulnerable are the very ones that help us grow. They’re also the same ones that so often add value to those around us. Go ahead and share your brilliance today and see what happens. Put your hand up. The world needs to hear your thoughts.
Sandy Johnson is an ICF certified coach and career strategist at Feldman Daxon Partners. She supports professionals who want to advance their careers in the direction of their choosing.
- On June 29, 2020