Under-Valued and Uncomfortable; Signs You Are Leaving Value on the Table

What do you do really well? In what capacities do you perform like a rock-star? What have you experienced in your professional life that gives you super powers no one else could possibly replicate? These are some of the questions I like to ask people to get an idea of how much value they are leaving on the table. And how much value a person is leaving on the table is almost directly correlated to how uncomfortable they are in their current role.

Most people, when confronted with these questions, look at me like a deer in the headlights. They often start regurgitating some painfully boring job description or spout off some soup-du-jour buzzwords that they think someone else thinks is meaningful. Only, when pressed to identify their own uniqueness beyond those production line definitions, they have no idea.

So many people in the working world believe they have more to give. They feel down in their stomach that they can have a bigger impact, a more lasting effect on the world, and create value that far surpasses what they are currently receiving right now. But they don’t know, or aren’t comfortable talking about, those things that they are awesome at.

The more clear a person is about what they do well, what they provide that will blow the socks off of their clients, the knowledge, skills, abilities, passions and purpose that make them unique and provides boatloads of benefit to other people, the better they will be position to actually realize their value in the marketplace. (that’s code for making money, among other things)

That feeling of unease doesn’t go away with a new job, a new position, or even a new salary, it only seems like it momentarily. The discomfort that comes with being under-valued, under-utilized, and, let’s face it, under-paid have almost no chance of going away if the person doesn’t know, in detail, what particular blend of magic it is that only they can create.

Knowing what you do well will give you the confidence to step into things others avoid. Knowing where you are a rock-star helps you identify opportunities others will miss. And fully embracing your superpowers can provide motivation to see things through where others would stop.

How much value you are leaving on the table might just surprise you. But, if you don’t seek to understand the potential of your unique value, that discomfort should be no surprise at all.

Suffering Fools

People are talking about you. They are making some pretty un-flattering statements, questioning your decisions, and calling you an idiot. You may not have heard it out loud, but I bet it’s in the back of your head.

Maybe you had a new idea, a new plan, something you were going to try out for the first time. Only you don’t, because those people talking about you get pretty loud. And they’ve done it to you before. Made you pause, become overly self – critical, or even drive you into quitting before you even start.

The question is. When the hell are you going to stop listening to them? When do you finally decide that they were the kids who thought they were cool in school, but grew up to be miserable adults criticizing others because they don’t wan to look at themselves? When do you realize that that background noise is being made by people that don’t give a damn about you in the first place and that there are literally billions of other people in the world who at least don’t know you, and that’s worth pursuing more than the judgement of those who think they do?

If you surround yourself by idiots, you are likely to become an idiot. Just as certain, if you continue to let those voices, the real ones, the imagined ones, and the ones that jump out at you from nowhere, run the show, you are likely to become that same miserable person being judge-mental about the progress, growth, and brave steps forward made by other people.

Suffering fools only makes you a fool. People are talking about you, talk louder. They are making some pretty un-flattering statements, questioning your decisions, and calling you an idiot. Double down on your choice, commit even more deeply to your path, and move forward knowing an idiot that tries is much braver than an idiot that doesn’t. Make your voice the one you hear out loud, it’s waiting in the back of your head too.

Stacie – Turning a love for social events into an example for her daughters.

I knew I was on the right track with interviewing Stacie when, after I asked her to be on the podcast, she said, “Brian, I don’t know if I am that interesting..” Because how many of us have had that feeling, believed that thought?

See, for those of us around her, we get inspired by someone believing in themselves enough to try something different, to go out on their own (even if it’s not a full time gig), and being willing to risk a little when the excuse of “I’m too busy” would have been perfectly acceptable, and true. For Stacie, it seemed like something as simple as connecting her desire for social engagement with a product she loves, but for the rest of us, she provides an example of the type of confidence we are all looking to develop.

For her, it started from someone else being an example. Someone influential in her life showing her a different potential path and opening her eyes. And, while she does not consider herself a salesperson, perhaps she is simply the kind of salesperson we would all like to see a bit more of. Someone doing it for the right reasons and with a company they are proud to represent.

That single example allowed her to find more examples, like a friend not being afraid of failing. And even more important than that, it allows Stacie to teach her daughters that it is ok to try new things, to take risks, and to not be afraid to fail. For those of us that care to be an example for our own friends and family, Stacie is not just an interesting example, but the type of example we need more of in life. That we can be influential, inspirational, and successful by simply connecting something we like with something we like to do.


John – Navigating the Unknown

When I asked John to be on the pod-cast, I assumed I would be talking with someone that knew exactly what he wanted his entire life. Having been successful in just about everything he has tried, from playing professional rugby and competing in 2 world cups, to an ag startup that is now international in scope, and now starting a stellar real estate career. What I didn’t expect to hear was, like the rest of us, he was very much trying to “figure it all out.”

Having never played the game, it only makes sense that John would leave the country 18 months after being introduced to rugby, to play in Brisbane Australia. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to everyone, but when your internal driver is fixed on exploring what the world has to offer, then it becomes the only decision that really makes sense.

And, when you are at the height of your professional career, leaving to go found a start-up makes sense when you know what is important to you at the time and are able to listen to that instead of everyone else. It’s the same voice that allows him to take on the real estate world with a tenacity that he seems to apply to everything.

As it relates to John’s consistent values, he is a “wealthy” person. He has a wealth of great friends, great experiences and a fantastic outlook on life. And it was in hearing his story that I realized my assumptions about John always knowing what he wanted was a bit off the mark. Achieving so many great things, it seems, didn’t happen because he knew what he wanted to have, but because he always knew he wanted an experience.


Melissa – Jill of All Trades

When I saw the Facebook post about someone that started a gym out of their garage, and were still in operation over a year and a half later, I had to interview them. Turns out, Melissa did not start it out of her garage, and it wasn’t her first business, and I was in for a wonderful conversation about confidence, determination, and a woman that loves proving the doubters wrong.

Starting as a server, Melissa learned to approach all customers as potential future clients. Learning early on from her mother that she can do anything she sets her mind to, and believing it, gave her the mindset that all clients were her clients, it would just be a matter of time.

Her focus to treat all people well has allowed her to be successful in a number of different businesses, from owning a coffee shop to a property management company and beyond. She sees change as the spice of life and listening to her positive energy as she talks makes you want to believe the same.

Ultimately, Melissa’s confidence that she will make it through with hard work and determination seem to inform everything she does. Which is good, because that confidence is the very thing her clients are looking for, and the very type of people she surrounds herself with in all of her endeavors.