I Don't Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants: I Am A Giant
Recently, a fellow coach and I were talking about the different ways that people come into the industry. He said that only people with lots of qualifications and bits of paper should be coaches; that only they knew how to help those who wanted guidance and support.
I disagreed. I said that I felt we all had it in us to support and guide other people, because we'd all experienced things - and if you've experienced something, and learned from it, you can then share that learning with others.
Experience trumps qualifications every day.
He ended our conversation by saying "I'm a great believer in systems; standing on the shoulders of giants and adding your own personal addition to it".
I thought for a minute, rather surprised by his insistence that coaches could only use fellow coach's formats and processes to help clients, and then replied, ''I don't really do systems, well not other people's anyway."
"I do what's worked for me, and share my learning".
"Oh, and the only giant I stand with is me".
And, instantly, I felt a mix of two emotions: pride (because I am ABSOLUTELY a giant) and a little embarrassment - because I didn't want him to think I was arrogant.
Yet why should I worry about whether someone would think I was arrogant when I was stating a fact? Albeit a fact that might make me seem overly confident, of course...
Here's the thing. We shouldn't feel embarrassed about stating the facts about who we are. It's all part of being able to achieve our goals and dreams.
You don't hear top flight athletes playing down their achievements, or world class footballers pooh-poohing a goal.
You don't hear billionaires saying that they aren't terribly successful, or Nobel prize winners asserting that their work was second rate and undeserving of the award.
So why do we do the same? And why, when we find the confidence to stand up for who were are, do we still let people make us feel embarrassed, ashamed or even guilty about standing up and saying who we are?
Why did I have that flash of embarrassment myself
It's a mixture of things I think: social conditioning, familiar habits, lack of confidence, and a desire to please others and perhaps even stay at their level.
But we shouldn't let any of that stand in our way.
We are who we are. Giants, or not.
We should be proud of ourselves, happy to wave our own flag, and even happier to walk away from people, or situations, who make us feel less than we are.
So I'll state it first: I am a giant.
Now it's your turn.