You work very hard, you love your friends and the people in your direct network, and you really want them to acknowledge your presence. But, you feel that you aren’t being noticed by your friends, valued by your colleagues, and not getting enough attention in your work/organization?
If you feel so, don’t worry, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, most of the people whom I know either have faced this in their lives or are currently facing this issue. You must have heard this quote —
“A prophet is not honoured in his own country.”
It’s never a good idea to judge your self-worth by other’s opinions. But, if you want growth, you will have to take feedback and work on it.
As I always say, if it’s coming from a single source, it’s probably an “opinion”, but, if you notice it too often or if it’s coming from a bunch of people, it’s definitely a feedback that you should work on.
Being undervalued, or not being noticed (even though you work VERY hard), is definitely a feedback (coming from multiple sources) that there’s something that you should change.
So if you are going through this phase, let me help you out. Here are 9 ways you can avoid being undervalued or underestimated.
1. Be known outside your direct network
The best way to be known within your network is to be known outside your direct network.
I started this blog with this quote — “A prophet is not honored in his own country.” and that’s something many of us might agree on from our own individual experiences.
Many times, we put in a lot of hard work, go beyond what we are told, but fail to get recognized for those efforts we put in.
Do you remember this amazing quote from Jack Ma —
“When doing Sales, the first people who will trust you will be Strangers.
Friends will be shielding against you, fair-weather friends will distance from you. Family will look down upon you”
Unfortunate, but true. Most of the time, the people closest to us fail to understand our true value, and in this scenario increasing your value outside your direct-network can make a HUGE difference.
Think about these two scenarios,
- Jimmy goes back home and tells his parents that he got good grades and appreciation for his academics
- Jimmy’s teacher calls his parents and tells that “Your son is a true prodigy, he is performing exceptionally well for the students of his age”
Which one (according to you), is going to make more impact?
Logically, the second one! Things seem different when we hear the same from a third person, isn’t it?
Here’s how to do it!
Being known outside your direct network is much easier than you think (especially in this social era). Here are some tips -
- Decide one (or a combination) of skills or things that you want to improve on, or are working on.
- Start exploring more about it in your free time.
- Document your journey, start creating content in your spare time.
- Write blogs, record podcasts, write tweets, LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn articles, and so on…
- At the same time, start expanding your network, connect with more people, attend conferences and networking events.
- Keep publishing content consistently so that you get noticed. (according to the time you can spare, it can be — daily/alternate days/weekly/biweekly/monthly)
This involves some work, but it’s something that can give you huge returns,
- More opportunities
- Increased network
One of my classmates (during college) who didn’t know me personally, faced a tough time in understanding the OSI Model Layers.
He googled about it and found an article which he loved. That was my article, and after reading that he reached out to me. This was a very simple example of how you can increase your network, and your value in your direct-network, by getting known outside your direct-network.
It’s always about providing value!
2. Highlight your background in first interaction
First impression is the last impression
When I say “Highlight your background”, I don’t mean your financial capital. Instead, highlight your knowledge and career capital.
It’s not rude to highlight your skills if you do them in the right way. Moreover, it can help the other person get to know about you even before you meet.
People always appreciate skills, the world needs more skilled people. So, if you have them, don’t back down, let the world know. This makes you open to more opportunities, and you’ll be more valued within your network.
How to do it?
Career capital includes your -
- Connections, and
Before meeting a new person, give a short introduction about yourself, not because you want them to value you, but, because you want them to know about your skills and are open to discussion about the areas where there can be mutual growth.
Let’s take an example where you are going to meet/work with a new person in an official meeting.
There must have been many incidents in your life where you met a new person in any official meeting, or you worked together, but you didn’t know much about the other person.
From now, follow this simple technique, send a small email a couple of days before the scheduled meeting. In the email,
- Give a short introduction and tell about your areas of interest
- Tell them what you’d also like to discuss during or after the meeting
- End with humble greetings.
Subject: Regarding our meeting on Monday
… Tell about yourself
… Summarize your career capital
… Any specific topics you’d want to discuss
… Humble greetings
3. Include transparency in your core values
Low Transparency = Low Trust
It’s a fact that the more you share about yourself, the more will the other person trust you.
Of course, there’s a limit to how much you should share with others, and these limits vary with person-to-person and time-to-time.
But, if you are straight to the point, and share things that should be shared, you will see that people around you will start trusting you.
Here are some tips
- Communicate more and communicate early
- No matter if it’s a good news or a bad news, don’t hesitate to tell.
- Especially with bad news, communicate as early as possible
- Don’t make up things just to continue conversation
- Don’t start gossiping about others just to initiate a conversation
- Don’t beat around the bush
4. Stay relevant
Don’t beat around the bush
Human beings are social animals, connecting with others makes us what we are. Often, we look for various topics to initiate and continue the conversation.
But, as I mentioned briefly in the last point, a lot of people start gossiping about others just to initiate the conversation, and a lot of people start making up things just to continue it.
Remember, other people and their lives are not a topic of discussion and doing so tarnishes the respect that people have for you eventually causing others to value you less.
In the moment, people might enjoy seeing you gossip about others, but after the conversation they will definitely think that if you can gossip about others in front of them, then you can (most probably) gossip about them in front of others too.
What to do about it?
Here are some tips from my side
- Talk about ideas.
- If not ideas, then things.
- Never gossip about other people and their lives.
- Stay relevant.
- Listen more.
- Think before you say something.
- When you make a commitment, make sure you fulfil it.
When you stay relevant to the topic, value others’ time, and share ideas for growth, they will implicitly start respecting you.
5. Be generous
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” — John Bunyan
Generosity is the first requirement for building strong relations.
When you do something for others, without expecting anything in return, you earn their respect.
- Is there someone in your life who stood by your side when no one else did?
- Is there someone who makes you feel happy by giving you small surprises?
- Is here someone who always helps you out when you get stuck?
And then ask, don’t you respect them a lot?
When you offer something without asking anything in return, you build strong relationships. And that “something” does not need to be anything big that you can’t afford, it can be as small as a few words of appreciation when someone does something good, or some words of courage when someone feels demotivated.
How to do it?
- Practise gratitude.
- Appreciate people when they do something for you.
- Be kind and humble.
- Spend more time with people important to you.
- Small gestures like remembering birthdays can make people feel special
- Do things for others.
A small gratitude exercise
For the next 20 days, send an appreciation email to an old friend, or a colleague, anyone close to you, or anyone who has ever helped you in any way. Are you in?
6. Avoid asking for help when you don’t really require it
When you ask for someone’s time, respect it!
A lot of people, as soon as they face any issue or doubt, directly reach out to someone for help.
Although, it’s not bad to reach out for help, but if you are doing that for something that you could have resolved yourself, you are wasting someone else’s time.
Remember, people will value you only if you value their time.
How to do it?
As soon as you face any doubt/confusion, instead of directly reaching out, do this —
- Ask yourself, is it really something I can’t fix/resolve on my own?
- Spend some time in trying to do it yourself
- Look for any silly mistakes or things you might have missed
- Search on google (Google will have answer to most of your queries)
- If nothing works, don’t waste anymore time, reach out for help!
7. Offer help when others require it
Your time is the greatest gift you can give to someone.
Remember that time when you were really stuck on some problem, and suddenly one of your friends appeared and helped you out of it.
How did you feel?
Others will feel the same way when you take out time from your schedule to help them. Not only will it strengthen your relationship, but it will also help you grow by trying to resolve the issue which someone else is facing.
The Five Minute Help
You will notice that a lot of times people don’t expect a lot from you, it’s just some small things that they might need you to do, or some small guidance that you can provide.
In such cases, follow the 5-minute help rule -
- If it takes less than 5 minutes to answer/help, and you are free, do it!
- If it takes more than 5 minutes, but the person is very important to you (might have helped you in past), do (it now) or schedule (it for some time when you are free)
- If it takes more than 5 minutes, but you don’t know the person and/or you don’t have much knowledge on it, delegate (or refer) to a person who might have more knowledge on this, or do it in your free time.
8. Take initiatives
Commit less, deliver more
A big mistake that people often make in their life/career is over-committing and under-delivering.
Before agreeing on something, ask yourself, can you do it, and then go beyond what’s expected.
It’s completely logical that when you provide more than what’s expected from you, you automatically start increasing people’s trust and respect for you.
That was the first part, but, when you go one step further, and proactively start suggesting your ideas, taking new initiatives and accepting responsibility, that’s when you truly become irreplaceable.
How to do it?
- Go beyond what you are expected to do
- Always have an idea about what are you going to do next.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you really need it.
- Keep others updated with what you are doing to take your work to next level.
- Don’t hesitate to discuss about your growth.
- Ask for feedback proactively.
- Make sure you work on the feedback and keep improving continuously.
9. Be patient
Rome wasn’t built overnight!
Patience is the core requirement for any significant result.
If your dreams are high, you won’t achieve them overnight and here we are talking about how to make sure that people don’t undervalue you, patience is the key requirement for this process.
People don’t form perceptions about others in a single day, when they see you doing something constantly over a period of time, that’s what makes their perception about you.
So, make sure you follow the above mentioned 8 things continuously over the period of time, and be patient! People will acknowledge your presence and skills.
That’s it, I hope you enjoyed this article. Do join my newsletter for more.
Thanks for reading till the end, I hope you found this article helpful.
Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you want to discuss something :D
I would be more than happy if you send your feedback, suggestions.
Moreover, I love to make new friends and we can be friends, just drop me an email.
You can contact me in case if you need any assistance: