Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Burn Your Bridges By Having To Be The Smartest Person In The Room

When seeking answers to help you navigate the path toward success, sometimes a double dose of humility goes a long way.

Very often inexperienced entrepreneurs long for the advice, guidance and direction from successful business professionals, but fail to receive the boost they desire. We live in a relationship economy, and for the ecosystem to work, there must be give and take. Too often those who seek to take, forget they also must give in return. Their focus on what they desire clouds their judgment. Sometimes their gift is no more than allowing the more seasoned executive to share. They must be conscious of how the relationship is established or they could end up with nothing.

When they get their audience with the person of achievement, some spend too much time trying to prove how smart they are and kill their potential for a mentor, adviser, board member, investor, or a transfer of knowledge.

We all have egos and long for the respect of those we admire, but when exposed to greatness it is best not to try to demand the position of an instant peer. You earn respect, you do not demand respect from those at the top. To be a true leader, you must recognize the situation and acknowledge that sometimes it is best to follow others.

I have found that those who are the most successful (financially, emotionally and spiritually) no longer have anything to prove, and thus are beyond the need to be the smartest person in the room. They either know they are the brilliant one... or they know they are not (to be successful is not bound to being the smartest)... and their own victories speak for themselves. However, they expect those who seek their assistance to understand the realities of the situation, and to act accordingly.

I have struggled with this, and so have many others. Opportunities are lost when we must be right. It happens in business, politics, religion, and relationships, (anywhere human beings interact) that deals die before they are ever born.

Most successful people like to give a hand up to others who are making the effort to better themselves. They take pride in being a catalyst that launches others to the top. But they will not help others who lead with pride and ego. They have no reason to want to support a know-it-all.

When you get the chance to intact with the person who has achieved the success you desire, ask questions, listen, and learn. Help build the bridge of a relationship that can bring you both to a mutually beneficial exchange. If you disagree, resist the urge to "school" them on your point of view. While you might be right, you also might be missing some key pieces of information that will alienate them from serving as your guide. The best leaders seek to see the situation from other points of view.

Killing the golden goose hurts both you and the goose. You lose your easy gold, and they miss out on the joy of providing you with the riches they possess.

Have A Great Day.


1 comment:

Omarr said...

Great word Thom. Its inspiring to see vulnerability and truth from a human being every once in a while. Its seems like every news broadcast and executive on it lacks all the above.