The Power of Being Underestimated

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I had a dear friend tell me that she had a goal to be underestimated. I thought that was a strange idea until she explained. When people underestimate you they leave you to your own work, usually forget to ask about what you are doing, and they never think about micromanaging you. They don’t expect much, they underestimate you so they simply let you alone. The process then becomes yours to do with what you want; the reveal is the best part. At that moment your fabulous work is revealed and their minds are blown out of their skull. They had no idea of what you were able to accomplish, so the reveal not only surprises them, their estimation of you are instantly corrected and their own incorrect assumptions fade to black. Their world shifts and you will never be underestimated again, at least not by that person.

Many incredible people in history were underestimated – Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Jessie Owens to name a few. No one expected them to do what they did for so many reasons. Then that magic moment happens and the world shifted beyond what it thought could ever fathom. These underestimated people shocked the world to it’s core and proved beyond any doubt that anything is possible if you simply are willing to do the work and stick to your guns.

The hard part about being underestimated is you never really know when it is happening. You think you know what people think and there are signs of what they assume. Prejudice, discrimination, disagreement, and so many other awful words set the bar way too low for too many of us. Nothing changes that until that magic moment and their low expectations are revealed and dissolved at the same time. I am not naive enough to believe the one moment can erase things like discrimination and prejudice, they simply knock it down, crack the edges, or begin to wear down the wrong assumptions. It is a process not a destruction.

I agree with my dear friend. I too want to be underestimated. I want that moment when people are surprised and astounded by the things I am able to accomplish. I want to blow away their prejudice, assumptions, discounts and patronizing opinions. I want to stand as living proof that anyone can do anything if underestimated. I want to ding and crack and dissolve the wrong thoughts and set a new, higher standard for people to set for themselves.

Hooray for friends who challenge our assumptions, who make us think differently, and who remind us that we are capable of much more than anyone can imagine.

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