There have been many times in my work that I have found myself in a room filled with people who had higher salaries and titles than my own. When it happened the first time I sat there quietly and listened, as I could not imagine anything I had to add or contribute to the discussion. In one particular meeting the topic brought a few questions to mind, which no one else in the room had asked. When the speaker asked if there were any questions I dared to raise my hand, asked my questions, and found myself a vital part of the conversation. This quote reminded me that our salary and title do not always illustrate or communicate our value.
Success us not all about money and title, power and influence. Successful people all over the world understand that being successful means knowing the value you bring to the room each time you walk through those doors. Maybe you are the person who dares to ask the question on everyone else’s mind. Maybe you are the person who provides an alternative perspective. Maybe you are the only one willing to question the group if the decision being made is the right thing to do versus the most convenient solution. Or maybe, just maybe, you are the person in the room who understands ten steps beyond where the group is deciding and need to help everyone else think a bit further ahead of the current issue. You will not know which one of those purposes you serve if you let your title and salary level get in your way.
Most great leaders behaved and thought like great leaders long before they had the title of leader. Bringing value is not limited by nor defined by your seat in the organizational chart, by where you in the community or where you live. Leaders bring value and grow influential by the thoughts, ideas, and a willingness they bring to move the room forward. Dumbing down your thoughts and ideas because of fear, uncertainty or even because you are the most junior person in the room does no one any good. Someone has got to think and act differently in order for everyone to succeed, and you may just be THAT person in THAT room at THAT moment. So let this serve as your permission (if you still think you need it) to bring your ideas, questions, and comments to the fore front no matter who is in the room. Do not hide the value you bring under a bunch of organizational mish mash. Speak up, add value, and then be willing to move into a more influential role.