During a walk in the swamps on the island, I had to think of a few friends and acquaintances and how they are moving ahead (or not) in their careers and businesses. While I believe they are quite similar in smarts, energy and resources, some of them seem to get ahead much easier. Listening to the sound of the reeds swayed by the wind, I figured this had something to do with courage. Boldness. Balls. Balls to show who they are and express what they care about.
Two thoughts on, well, balls and the balls bias we live in.
1. If you’re not ballsy, it’s a tiny tragedy. It means that people will easily overlook you – despite your potential, your abilities, your ideas and your true self. Because no matter how smart you are, if you don’t dare to stand up and contribute what you’ve got, chances are that the world won’t come to ask for it.
I know that sucks. I agree that it might be better if things were different. I still believe it’s true and worth to reflect upon: What is it that you would like to improve in your job, your community, your neighborhood, but haven’t dared to stand up for? What difference would it make if you just trusted yourself for a moment and went ahead?
Chris Guillebeau once wrote that at some point in his life he felt the urge to “jump on stage” and make his contribution. No matter what that contribution might be, if you haven’t jumped yet, when will you do it?
2. Derek Sivers’ 2c post is smart. I agree that a boss should not add their two cents to every single idea of their employees, but rather let them move ahead autonomously. As every smart idea, it comes with a flipside: If you’re an employee, grow some balls.
While there are more than a few control-freak managers in the world, chances are that yours isn’t as bad as you think. Instead of endlessly asking for permission, authorization and green lights, why not behave proactively? Try this: Be more courageous in your work. Surprise your boss by moving ahead, even when he’s still stuck in his email inbox. If you do the right stuff, people will notice. It might not give you a raise or a promotion, but in all likelihood it will increase your options.