I work with some of the world’s most talented people.
Brilliant, successful, creative people who I admire, learn from, and respect.
But I’m never in awe of them.
That’s why I’m able to benefit from my experiences with them.
Because being in awe of people — no matter their status, talent, or experience compared to yours —holds you back and stunts your growth.
The dictionary defines “awe” as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”
That may be a harmless feeling when viewing somebody’s work from afar, but when you find yourself in the same room with them, working on the same project, it can be debilitating.
Over the years I’ve seen too many people allow their “awe” of a person to make themselves invisible — they hide their skills, miss their opportunities, and slow their development.
Because of their awe.
There are several ways this plays out…
When you’re in awe of somebody, you hesitate to suggest new ideas to them or criticize bad ones.
You hide your thoughts because you assume other people’s are better or you’re not qualified to suggest them.
Don’t assume you have nothing to offer simply because others have more experience than you.
Your perspective is unique and valuable. It matters. If you’re too in awe of a person to share it, you do a disservice to yourself and them.
Awe also rears its head in how people present themselves to people they admire.
If you place somebody on such a pedestal that you’re intimidated to interact with them, you send a message that you’re not worthy of their time.
Don’t take yourself out of the equation and hide from people you admire.
Be confident you have a contribution to make and establish from the start that you warrant their attention.
Being in awe of somebody won’t just hamper your ability to contribute to a particular project — it also prevents you from developing valuable relationships with people you respect.
Don’t be intimidated by people you admire. Nobody wants to develop a relationship with a person who fears them.
You won’t develop a relationship with every person you admire, but not being in awe of their talents gives you a chance to connect with some of them.
And those connections create incredible opportunities and learning experiences.
People don’t expect you to necessarily be on their level — but they won’t respect you if you’re uncomfortable with their level.
Finally, recognize the root of your awe isn’t about the person you admire, but rather your own insecurity.
You’re in awe of them because deep down you don’t believe you’re capable of doing what they do.
And there may be some truth to that.
(Or maybe not — you’d be surprised how many “brilliant” people aren’t as brilliant as you think.)
But just because they’re better than you at something doesn’t mean you don’t have value.
Don’t allow your awe to convince you that you can’t become as successful or talented as the person you admire.
It’s easy to turn awe into excuses— “I could never do what that person does,” or “I’m just not as creative as that person is.”
That’s not true.
The person you admire became that way because they weren’t intimidated by the people they admired.
They respected them, learned from them, and were inspired by them.
But they weren’t in awe of them.
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