“You are neither talented or creative enough to participate in this conversation.”
Those words stung in my ears. My breath left my body. My colleagues looked at me to see if I had heard what they heard. I fought back the tears, it took everything I had not to just weep right there. But I couldn’t do that. There’s no weeping in staff meetings.
I was transferred into the marketing department after the subsidiary that hired me was sold. Since I was responsible for the web marketing, it seemed like a good fit. On this day, I wasn’t so sure. I was trusted with the website of a $200 Million corporation but was now being told I wasn’t talented or creative enough to even speak.
I was devastated.
In this particular meeting, we were tasked with brainstorming ideas for a new corporate tagline. I tossed one out there.
It started with the words The Best
And I was kicked in the proverbial gut.
That happens sometimes when we take risks. Sometimes we lose. Except this time, I didn’t know I was taking a risk, I thought I was an equal member of the team. My boss clearly felt differently, and it hurt. What’s worse, I believed her. I was a geek, with a penchant for marketing. Maybe I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.
Then a funny thing happened, they finally decided on a new tagline, and would you believe, it was the tagline that I was chastised for … with one simple change … it began with Your Best instead of The Best.
Screeeeeeeech. Hold the brakes. I’m not talented nor creative enough, but you flip one word and it works? You’ve got to be kidding me.
There were new signs installed all around the building, so I got to “enjoy” the irony on a daily basis.
I mean clearly she was right my tag started with THE BEST, but clearly, it wasn’t THE BEST, because YOUR BEST was deemed BETTER. Did you catch all that?
For years, I let that fester. I did not use that as a fire in my belly to prove her wrong. I used it as an apology.
“I’m sorry, I know this sucks, I’m not very creative when it comes to these things.” I was lying to myself and to those around me. Then, just last week, I had a client compliment a project I did for her, and her very words were … YOU ARE SO TALENTED AND CREATIVE. I nearly wept, but this time for joy. I had long forgotten about that one time someone told me otherwise.
The truth is, you are talented and creative enough. It does not have to compare to people who have more degrees than you, or make more money than you, or who have more success than you. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Being ENOUGH is not the same as being perfect. You won’t win everything, every time. But that doesn’t mean you get to “quit” because someone doesn’t think you’re good enough.
There are millions of success stories all around you. Almost everyone has had someone discourage them from pursuing a dream, and not nearly enough telling them to “GO FOR IT!” We need to lift one another up. We need to be encouragers. Even when we don’t agree. That is the gift we can give to the world by stepping into our highest and best selves.
If a member of your team isn’t performing at the level you expect, instead of bopping them on the head, find a way to lift them up, and help them become the best team member THEY CAN.
You ARE talented and creative enough.
The question is … will you be brave enough to admit it and never let that hold you back again?
I’d love your feedback.