The people you love to hate are the very ones you should tell they’re pretty.
Tell the pretty girl she’s pretty. Here's what I mean by that...
I’m a talent scout. I discern talent immediately. Let’s be honest though, so do you. I love helping people discover, embrace and ultimately leverage their talents for the better good. However, when you are a talent scout and a champion of those around you the competition to "compete with your prodigy" can be very tempting. Like many of you, I love a good competition. Often though we fall in to the trap of only allowing other leaders to be beautiful to a point.
Other leaders can be pretty
as long as they’re not too pretty.
A leader can be beautiful, but if she’s also smart, organized, and a great communicator? Forget it. We gossip about her and secretly love seeing her slip up. We alternate between wanting to be her and, well, hating her. I know this is a terrible thing, but if we are honest with ourselves we have all been found in the midst of the "mirror, mirror, on the wall" trap. You remember that one don't you?
In the story "Snow White" the Evil Queen had to be prettiest, the best, the most adored. She couldn't stand knowing that someone was prettier than her. She couldn't live knowing that the people might look to someone else instead of her. She held her mirror up every day and virtually begged the mirror to tell her that she was the most beautiful, the most talented, the most gifted and for awhile she was...but the mirror couldn't lie.
One day, there was someone more beautiful than her...she chose to hide that beauty instead of promoting it, appreciating it and leveraging it for the good.
Here's how that story unfolds in my life and yours: it happens when the guy down the hall writes a blog post so riveting that everyone in the building will secretly be tuning in each week to see what he writes next. When your coworker delivers the most engaging message you’ve ever heard in you life. When his leadership lessons and his team meetings are gaining more popularity than yours. It's waiting deep inside when one of your peers is walked to the front on the line and promoted to manager.
Here's my challenge to you:
BREAK THE MIRROR!
I dare you to get out of the way. Stop wondering how you stack up to the "Snow Whites" of your world and tell the pretty girl that she’s pretty, tell her today. It's not always comfortable to expose talent, recognize it and then watch from the sidelines as that person is vaulted to the forefront of the organization, but it’s essential to a healthy organization.
Your peers, those people you say you deeply care about, they may be on the verge of seeing their God-given talents and dreams go unnoticed because no one is willing to tell them they’re great at something, that they’re better at something than you are. No one is willing to get smaller so they can get bigger. No one is willing to turn the mirror around and tell them that they are the most beautiful, talented or gifted one.
What is it about losing our
place at work that’s so scary!?
One day I was walking past a coworker's door and decided to walk in his office and chat for a while. As we talked, he shared with me that there were some ways he would like to use his gifts and talents within the organization, however he wasn’t exactly sure he would be allowed to. He felt he had more to offer.
Truth Card: I knew what my coworker was saying in that moment was absolutely true. I also knew that if I walked him to the front of the line and shined light on “his” gifts my gifts may appear smaller.
I could lose my place, my title, my position, my influence, my dreams. What if my team and my boss begin to appreciate his gifts over mine? What if he gained more popularity with his messages than I was able to gain with mine? What if my friends and family began to sing his praises louder than they did mine? On the other hand, what if I saw his potential and readiness and refused to stay silent? What could this do for our organization?
Don't just tell the pretty girl she's pretty, tell her she's freaking gorgeous!
What if I did lose my place and what if that’s exactly how God designed this whole thing to work in the first place? What if you and I were created by God to play to one another’s strengths instead of being intimidated by them?
Quit hiding the pretty leaders
in your buildings.
Let go of your immaturity and trade it in for the celebration of others no matter what the cost is to you. Your investment is a risk; no question. However, I’m daring you to see it as a risk you must take. Tell the pretty girl she’s pretty.
As your organization’s lead talent champion, walking the talk is important. But make no mistake, so is the talk itself. You must live this out or you’ll lose credibility with your peers. I walked my coworker to the front of the line that day and I promise you it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my organization...ever. We're all better because he is now being celebrated and has been given full permission to lead in his God-given strengths. Acknowledging and celebrating his gifts has brought countless hours of creativity and leadership into many of our leadership circles at work.
Instead of using your insecurity as a propensity to hate, or worse, to use them as ammunition to hate yourself for feeling jealous, I invite you to use that discomfort to unleash play to your individual strengths. Come to grips with your jealousy.
Break the mirror.
Don't allow the talent around you to "drift off to sleep forever",
instead I want you to awaken it and celebrate it.
Open doors for others- it's why you exist.
Tell the pretty girl she is pretty.
Tell the awesome guy he is awesome.
Tell them, today.