mer·i·toc·ra·cy n.: A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
Given we live in a country where the national sport is tearing successful people down, it’s easy to understand why Australians are so bad at being tall poppies. Unlike our counterparts in the US we continually labour under the assumption that life is a meritocracy.
In the simplest terms this means we think that if we work hard and are good at what we do, we will get our just deserts.
If I have learned one thing from life though, it is that this is not the case. This expectation we have that so long as we do good work, people will recognise this and pay us our dues is delusional at best.
Yet I see people doing this every single day and yes, have even been guilty of it myself. The worst thing about it is that when we are passed over for those we consider less worthy we are left with feelings of resentment or jealousy or both.
I’m a better runner than her, how come she’s managed to wangle a shoe sponsor and I haven’t?
My blog gets WAY more traffic than his, how come he got flown to that blogging conference and invited to that cool event?
I’ve sweated blood and tears for this company, I can’t believe they didn’t even consider me for that promotion.
Hey Joey D is a MUCH better singer than Jenny B – how come he got kicked off Idol?!
So now that we’ve established that life isn’t fair and being awesome is often not enough, what can you do to stack the odds in your favour?
Well, why not start by picking yourself?
Whoah!! Holy un-Australian batman! What – do you think you’re good or something?
Yep – if there is one problem with our great country it is the way we abhor self-promotion of any shape or form. Well I say phooey to that.
We all hang our hats on those stories about the tiny percentage of people who have been ‘discovered’ and made it big overnight. But for every one of those success stories, there are thousands of others where people have chosen to put themselves out there.
And “putting yourself out there” doesn’t need to be all sleazy megaphone stuff you know. Try these:
If you’re an athlete you can start a blog or get on twitter, grow a following and then (here’s the holy un-Australian batman part) APPROACH potential sponsors instead of waiting for them to come to you. SHOW them how your ideals are aligned with theirs and how a partnership with you would be good for their brand.
If you are a blogger … well der, ditto.
If you’re a writer, why not do what my very talented friend Anna has done and crowdsource the necessary funding to write your book. (PS get behind Anna, she is the real deal).
If you’re desperately unhappy in your work, strike out on your own. There’s nothing like the fear factor of ‘oh my goodness how am I going to feed my family’ to jolt you into actually blowing your own trumpet.
Need some more ideas? Well try these from Seth and Bernadette. Because like the clever people they are, they agree with me Still not convinced? Check out this Striking Truth, print that baby out and put it on the wall!
So now it’s time to share
What are you holding back on doing right now because you don’t think you’re good enough? Or because you don’t want to put yourself out there. What is it that you are afraid of? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!