Have you ever seen successful people become targets for others that seem to look to “take them down a notch”? Have you ever found yourself participating in finding fault with successful people? It sometimes seems that our culture delights in creating idols, then tearing them down.

I have certainly participated in this practice. I recently watched a Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking and commented that I felt it was much more a performance than a speech rather than celebrating the brilliance of the presentation.

If we step into our brilliance, we may become a target for others who don’t celebrate their own brilliance. Are you ever afraid that if you let your light shine, others will attack you?

I recently watched someone I admire greatly “take it on the chin” in a rather public evaluation. The format of the event did not allow for a rebuttal, and I watched my friend hold his head high and stand in dignity. I was inspired by his grace in this situation, and aspire to be like him.

When you are the one in the spotlight, do you invite feedback? Can you find a place where you can be objective about what is shared? Sometimes I’ve found the comments that stung the most when delivered were those that I had the most to learn from once I could get through the emotional upheaval and see it from the other side.

Even when the comments seem hyper-critical, we now have the gift of another person’s perspective, even if we do not agree with their conclusions. I think of the little birds out in the pastures who pick through the horse poop to find the bits of undigested grain. If we can find the grain within what appears to be poop, we will remain on the path to continuous improvement and lifelong learning.

Having the gift of another’s opinion can help pave the pathway to success. The secret is in knowing ourselves well enough to take what fits, and discard what doesn’t. We mustn’t place more value on others’ opinions of us than we do on our opinions of ourselves. Then we can stand in our own glory and be grateful for the contributions of those who have offered guidance along the way.

I wish you guidance and glory.

  • Jocelyn Hastie