In the game of life, we often see several types of victors.
Some are the showy type; they make a big ceremony about being there and winning, and do a lot to draw attention to themselves. Others are more quiet; they’re there to compete, improve, and win. Since the showmen are drawing such attention to themselves, those quiet winners are often underdogs.
It’s not just the pregame show where they differ. The showy types, once they win, will do everything to remind you about how they won. They’ll talk about adding this trophy or win to their other series of wins. They’ll talk about how they’re going to win the next one, too.
When the underdogs win, they quietly put their stuff back on, cheer on a few other people, and then leave. If you weren’t watching, you might not have ever known they were there. And they’ll go back to practicing just as hard as they did before they won.
Dennis Rodman was a showman; Michael Jordan was an underdog. Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Barack Obama, Dwight Eisenhower, and Abraham Lincoln were underdogs, as well.
The thing about underdogs is that, after a while, people start anticipating that they’ll win. People start putting them in the “best-of” lists. Regardless of how they act, they’re no longer underdogs.
Letting Go of Being An Underdog
I’ve always been an underdog.
When I was young, I was too poor, too black, and too white. As I matured, I was too smart, too dumb, too caring, too callous, too popular, too uncool, too athletic, and too unathletic.
In my twenties, I was too practical, too philosophical, too young, too inexperienced, too undisciplined, and too ambitious.
I recognize all the opposites that those sentences contain – I’ve always been enigmatic to people, even though, from my view, I’m not a complicated person. Complex perhaps, but not complicated.
No matter what I was trying to do, there was always a rather large contingent of people who told me that I didn’t have what it took to do it. Earlier on, it was race and class issues and their second- and third-order effects that were at play. Of all the things you can change, you can’t change the fact that you were born to a poor multiracial family in the South. The best solution to that problem was to get an education and get out of the South.
While I’ve never assumed that I would be a failure, as I matured, I started asking better questions about what it would take to succeed. It turns out that someone else has already done what you’re thinking about doing and they usually tell you how they did it. If you read enough stories about how to be successful, you’ll see trends. Then all you have to do is put in the work.
My 30th year has shown me that it’s time to let go of being the underdog. It was great for getting me here, but it’s a canoe I need to leave behind.
I was a bit upset earlier this week. I had stumbled on Escape Velocity and saw that it was totally up my alley. A few of my friends are contributors, too. But I wasn’t asked to contribute.
I was upset because I felt like I was overlooked. After I talked to Angela about it, I took a second look. The fact of the matter is that everyone contributing either has a traditionally published book or are friends with Chris Brogan. I don’t have a book, and we’ve met several times, but I don’t expect Chris to be calling me any time soon.
There are broader issues here about expectations of inclusion in your friends’ activities, but the main reason that I was triggered was because I saw a historical pattern at play. When you’re an underdog, you get overlooked all the time – in my head, it was just the same thing all over again.
You know what? It was the same thing all over again.
Since we tend not to make a ruckus over what we’ve accomplished and how awesome we are, busy people who don’t know us don’t know about our accomplishments. Because I have spent so much of my time, energy, and attention moving, transitioning out of multiple career tracks, taking care of clients, and pursuing an alternative growth strategy, I haven’t spent as much time as necessary displaying those trophies. How was Chris to know about all the behind the scenes stuff when they’ve been behind the scenes?
The fact that I’m hard to put a label on also doesn’t help things. People with massive social networks don’t have the cognitive space for round squares like me. Productive Flourishing is an expression of that complexity, to boot.
So, even though it was the same old being overlooked pattern at play, it was both not about me and also a consequence of my actions. There’s no need to have a bunch of drama, but there is a manifest need to start revealing some of the things I’ve been sitting on for years. I’ve got some medicine to get out there and doing so will require some help – I can’t do it alone, but to enlist people’s help, they have to understand what it is and that it works. In the realm of entrepreneurship, we call this marketing and social proof.
The truth of the matter is that I don’t need Escape Velocity to write about the stuff that’s up my alley. Productive Flourishing is my alley, and we can learn together here just the same. (Duh, right?!)
What If You’re Not an Underdog?
I have many personal stories like the one above that would illustrate the ways in which believing you’re an underdog and thinking like one gets in the way of you not being one. This post isn’t just about me and what I’m going through – it’s about you, too.
I know how awesome it feels when you’ve exceeded someone’s expectations and “beaten” the sure bet. I know it’s comforting not to have the pressure of performance on you. I understand the virtue of humility and “speaking softly while carrying a big stick,” to paraphrase Roosevelt.
But what you should consider is how much of your precious time, energy, and attention are spent feeding the story of you being an underdog? How much head-trash, psych-outs, and lost opportunities will you endure at the hands of this self-fulfilling prophecy you’re creating and perpetuating?
And, more importantly, how many people will you continue to miss out on helping because you’re too busy playing out your childhood and high school experience? Not only are you in your own way, but you’re in their way, too.
If you can’t tell, I’m writing this as much for myself as I am for you. I don’t have it all figured out, but I invite you to join me in the exploration. Will you?
Here are a few places to start:
- What would you do differently if you didn’t have to prove that you’re capable of doing what you’re trying to do?
- What are you waiting for permission to do, and what would it take for you to start with what you have right now?
- What if, rather than being a pawn, you were the queen?
Hi Charlie! All this time I thought you were part Asian like me. How funny! Being bi-racial is wonderful and weird, isn’t it? People don’t know where to put you and never seem to question their need to put you in a neat little category.
Your post made me realize that I put a lot of pressure on myself to prove that I can do it all and it’s counterproductive. I was something of a high achiever in school and I’m not just afraid of failure, I’m afraid of not being the absolute best at anything I try. I’ve made lots of progress on this, but we’re all works in progress, aren’t we?
At the same time, I have a hard time being comfortable in the role of being an authority. It’s difficult for me to feel like I’m ever expert enough or wise enough or experienced enough to give advice or counsel. I feel like a phony, but slowly, I’m getting comfortable with the idea that I don’t have to know EVERYTHING to be able to give solid, useful advice.
I’ve probably missed out on so many opportunities to help others because I just assumed if I knew it or it came easy to me than of course everyone else would, too.
Very thought provoking post.
Trust me, Tracy, you’re not the first one to be misled. Depending on how I cut my hair and how much I’ve been outside, I can pass for a lot of types of people. Heinz 57 FTW!
I’m glad to hear that this post got you thinking. It makes it all worthwhile. 🙂
Christina Crowe says
Wow, I thought you were Asian too, Charlie! I’m actually bi-racial as well. 🙂
I can definitely relate to what you’re saying Tracy. It’s hard for me to take the role of an authority, especially since I still feel like a child often times. I’m still waiting for that moment when I’ll feel different – more like a woman than a little girl and more experienced than like an amateur.
As a result, I’ve procrastinated, pushed back opportunities, and just simply hovered in the same spot – all the while, not making progress. Only recently did I snap back into reality and really work for what I wanted to achieve.
For example, I wanted to be a published author, so I got to work on my first eBook, which I plan to eventually turn into a paperback later on down the road. I’m also working more on the fiction pieces I have sitting abandoned in the dark recesses of my hard drive – which I plan to turn into fiction novels once they’re completed.
I’m no longer going to just sit back and worry about whether or not I’m good enough to partake in a venture. Too much thinking can certainly halt any progress you hope to make. From now on, I’m going to simply take action and decide where I’ll go from there.
Brandon Winters says
The first question is difficult for me to answer right off the bat. When I first think of it, I think that I wouldn’t be doing anything differently because this time, I’m doing it for myself. I’m proving to myself that I have all I need and only limit myself.
Your post here really points in the same direction that my arrow does, although maybe from a different starting point.
Your site has always interested me Charlie, I think it was your square-circle comment here that really helped me to understand why. My underdog feelings were due to size in sports, although I excelled in those sports tremendously. I didn’t have older siblings or loaded parents to let me be a favorite with the coaches, and I let those limiting thoughts derail my love and aspiration to live sports.
Luckily I’ve found more things that I am passionate about as a result of moving away from sports for a while. Now I feel like I can bring all of it to the table and move forward to live fully now, and connect with people like you that have a perspective from the other side of the path.
Thanks for letting us behind the scenes 🙂
You’re welcome, Brandon. Be careful about how strong you make “proving to yourself.” It reminds me of a line in the Tao Te Ching:
“Governing a country is like cooking a small fish
Too much turning ruins it.”
Sometimes, instead of proving, you just need to be. That’s the summation of this article, in 9 words.
Brandon Winters says
I’m always working on that self-talk. The little things make a big difference.
Sandi Amorim says
Man, oh , man, this was just what I needed to hear today. Love the 3 questions Charlie, but especially what am I waiting for permission to do! I think this has been playing in the background on low volume my whole life. What if I no longer waited? Crying at the thought. Thank you!
You’re welcome! I just shared Why Waiting To Be Great Leads To Failure on Twitter, but it sums up the same question: what would you do differently if you expected the world to stand with you.
That track will always play for you, I’m afraid. The point is to crank the volume up on more empowering tracks, though. 🙂
Amy Harrison says
I like this post because it’s nice to see that just about everyone has those thoughts of being overlooked.
The last couple of weeks has made me quesiton the group I thought I wanted to be a part of. No matter what I did, it seems they don’t want to know.
A friend said to me: “Instead of trying to get into a group, have you thought that you’re creating your own group?”
And soon I looked around and I honestly saw a group of inspirational bloggers and business owners who were already happy with me being me, and liked what I did.
I am good enough, you are good enough, your readers are good enough. We will get better, but we’re no underdogs. 🙂
I’m so glad this resonated with you, Amy. I often ask my friends and clients: who’s right in front of you who needs your help? Let’s focus on them before we look too far in the distance.
Ruben Berenguel says
Not being the underdog is also troublesome. In my school & high-school years I was always the nerdy type, always excelling in anything involving “thinking”. The pressure to always get the best grades (just not to disappoint anyone) is always pressing, and when I got to the University I stopped being the “best” to just be “another one”. More like being an underdog: I wasn’t the top of my brood, I was just one following the path flawlessly. Finished my degree, started my PhD and got my first paper published… And I still feel like I am some kind of underdog (mostly because I still have to finish that PhD…).
Summarising the odd thought chain: giving up your “underdog cover” can be troublesome. You will have higher expectations, which unless carefully managed will feel like a stone over your soul. Your sense of freedom will be close to “chained”, and your mental clarity will plummet. Beware of others expectations managing what you really want to accomplish!
Great points, Ruben!
As someone with the albatross of a dissertation over his head, I feel you on the underdog thing there.
It’s troublesome to give up the cover, but when you’re looking to be a contributor and change-maker, it’s more troublesome to limit yourself. As I said in the post, I don’t have a lot of answers here and it’s going to be a lot of practice to rewrite this story.
I’ve been through similar experiences, only with me it was disability. ‘You can’t do that because you’re disabled.’ was a common theme in my 20’s.
Then it was my background; my father was a miner for 35 years, not the right side of the tracks for barrister material in England.
And you’re talking to me when you say how is anyone to know what we’ve got going on if we don’t tell them? I’ve done exactly the same thing: looked around and felt left out.
And just like you, today I decided that has got to change. I can’t answer the 3 questions specifically, I’ll go away and think on them tonight.
But I’m definitely along for the exploration!
Thanks for joining me, Ryah! If your experience is anything like mine, we’ll have to ask these questions for a while because the specific answers will change. It’s the practice that’s so much more important than the answers.
Wow Charlie, this was very thought provoking! I have felt overlooked for sure, but I definitely saw myself when you said “it was both not about me and also a consequence of my actions.”
Thinking about your 3 questions will be my homework for today, thank you for forcing me to think about this “overlooked” thing in a new way!
I’m glad this helped you see something differently, Valerie. Thanks for the feedback!
Tina Van Erp says
I’ve been following your blog for the past few months. It’s important to me for you to know sometimes your voice and message is the only person who says the things you say and they matter as I/we continue living in the (fun) trenches of what it means to be “complex but not complicated.” I honestly almost fell out of my chair when I read that, as that’s what I’ve said to clear up whenever someone doesn’t quite know which box to put me in. Truth be told, I also use it when I don’t like the box they chose because they needed to put me in one. 🙂
I really appreciate your underdog blog. I’ve thought most of the things you said, so I only want to add one thought. In the fast pace of today’s culture, we sometimes think that being “out there” and not an underdog, is success – and sometimes it is. But what we do, who we are and all we ultimately contribute is formed through the day-to-day – the practice.
As “success” has started to form in my work, I’ve had a few colleagues who (kindly) yelled at me in parking lots to “get over” my propensity for being the underdog. After two years of listening (and not doing anything different), I finally found the words to tell them what I’d been feeling all along … “Please stop trying to fix something that isn’t broken. I know what I’m doing, even if I can’t explain it to you. I’m creating and doing the work that involves. There will come a right time where the public meets the private and when it does, I’ll be as fully me then as I am now in the private time.” It was a revolution statement for me.
I agree with you – some canoes definitely need to go sometimes. But sometimes, our underdog spirit is the love that’s evident when our work goes public. You have that and I am grateful.
Wonderful, wonderful comment, Tina.
I’m not letting go of the gifts and advantages I have, but, rather, the idea that I am a certain thing. It also allows me to check my reactions to things, as I’ve had to do recently. I know that I’ll get especially unsettled when the underdog mentality comes into play, whether it’s with me or with other underdogs and weirdos. My first patterned reaction only perpetuates the very thing I’m trying to change.
You’re right – I’ll always be scrappy and in the crowd. But it’s why I’m in the crowd that makes all the difference.
Tina Van Erp says
I love your last sentence and for the record, I’ve never thought of you as “scrappy” :). Below has been my cornerstone and core belief as to why I’m in the “crowd” I’m in. Hope you enjoy. It’s from http://www.greenleaf.org/whatissl/
“The phrase ‘Servant Leadership’ was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, he said:
‘The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”
Susan T. Blake says
Tina, this is the second time today I’ve heard someone talk about the difference between complex and complicated. Hmm. You completely derailed me from whatever I was going to say to Charlie beyond “Thank You.”
Susan T. Blake says
And of course, then I had to go back and re-read your post, Charlie, and you said it first. So Tina was number three today. Thank you both for making me slow down.
Sparky Firepants says
“I am the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali
I still feel like the underdog at times. Other times I’m sure I’ve crowed about my accomplishments and the people around me felt like the underdog. Or just really, really annoyed.
The little man in my head chides me. “How dare you think of yourself as anything but powerful and amazing? Why have you given other people this supreme lordship over you and your abilities? When did you get so small?”
I always feel sheepish after these lectures. To avoid more of them, I try to think like Muhammad Ali. It takes a little while before I believe it. But I have to do this. I have to believe that it’s more important to shine this big light and risk appearing arrogant than tout my humility.
I know there are other artists who look to me and say, “If he can do it, so can I!” When I fall into the underdog role, I feel I’ve let people down.
Thanks for writing about this, Charlie. It’s really important.
And when you start to feel overlooked, remember that there are people like me who look to you for those things we can’t always think about without your prompts. You’re needed.
P.S. I think I’ve told you that T.R. is a hero of mine from childhood. I always thought his “walk softly…” quote was ironic because in Congress he was known as the annoying dude with the loud, high voice, manic energy, and lots to say. 🙂
Heather Allard says
I was just telling a friend of mine about the wonderful Facebook message you sent me and how I was stunned by it – because, in my eyes, YOU’RE the amazingly accomplished one, not me.
It’s funny how we see ourselves, isn’t it? I’ve never thought of you as an underdog and yet, here you are feeling like one.
So many times I feel like the underdog in the mom entrepreneur arena – I want to say, “Hey, what about me? Look what I’ve done, look what I’ve built! Feature me in your magazine article, have me on your TV show!”
Then I get an email from a reader who tells me that I’ve inspired them to keep pursuing their dream even though it’s sooooo hard while trying to raise a family and be a good mom. And all that underdog nonsense fades away – because even though I might not be the most famous, the most in demand, I make a difference even if it’s in just one person’s life.
Charlie’s right about missing out on opportunities to help people because we’re too busy stuck in underdog mode, isn’t he? 😀
David @ Excellence Daily says
Great article! I’m your typical underdog and have to work with showboaters all the time. I’ve found the one thing they don’t have is staying power – after a while all their boasting and bravado wears thin and it’s up to an underdog to follow through.
Heather Allard says
Like LL Cool J says, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” 😉
I’m so glad you’re back and am so blessed to read your insightful, moving, inspiring words.
I like this alley you’ve created and appreciate all you do. Thank you.
Molly Gordon says
Ooh, Charlie, what a winner.
I wasn’t so much the underdog as the loner. The nerd. I prided myself in not being part of the cool kid cliques because my brand of cool was so much more meaningful. And these beliefs cost me in life and business until I woke up.
To your questions, I would add these:
1. What contribution have you made that is a well-kept secret, and what can you do to change that?
2. What are you getting out of staying in the shadows? What if you didn’t need that to be okay or safe?
3. What if the things that are obvious to you are precisely the things the world needs most to hear from you? What if being exceptional is a done deal, and all you really need to do is stand up and step out?
I suspect there is an underdog in all of us, a part that believe s/he is never fully appreciated, always last to be picked for the team. Your call to be aware of this and challenge it is a great service.
Leisa LaDell says
Great post, Charlie. I can identify with the “underdog” theme, but I think I’ve been experiencing similar affects from a different angle. I’ve been one whose had all the advantages – great family, education and support, and along with that, great expectations about what I “should” be able to accomplish. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to prove that I could live up to all my touted ‘potential.’ And….I love your comment about “it’s gotten me this far” – but now all that ‘potential’ and ‘opportunity’ is starting to feel like a straight jacket. Like I need to prove I deserve it. So, your questions are getting me thinking:
1.) I’d just be writing and publishing, and learning what I can from the feedback – repeat.
2.) Waiting for permission to say that as a gifted writer & editor, I can help you hone your message to make it effective and engaging and you should hire me.
3.) The queen would stop pretending to be shy and humble. : – )
Good stuff. Thanks.
Catherine Caine says
Oh Charlie, thank you for writing this one. I’m still working at shedding parts of myself that don’t fit me any more but keep on clinging nonetheless.
I’m making Plans right now to let my light shine brighter, and I keep finding myself bumping into, “Oh, but *I* couldn’t do THAT” thinking. You just gave me the fuel to keep crushing for awhile.
Susan T. Blake says
And here’s my other thought. I grew up hearing a lot of mixed messages from my parents who honestly believed their kids were smarter than they were and could be more “successful” than they were. So we heard things like “You can accomplish anything you set your mind to,” along with “Be careful,” and “People might not like you because you’re a) a girl b) too smart c) too honest.”
So I think maybe what needs to be left behind isn’t bits of who I am but beliefs about who I am and how others view that.
Tina Van Erp says
I don’t know if this will interest you, but a new book came out this year that does an incredible job with all the “you’re too…” phrases. It’s a book for teens, but great for anyone who has heard that phrase. I’m a Gifted Education Specialist and have found it very helpful. There’s also a parent’s guide too.
Here’s the Amazon listing: http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Teens-Guide-Living-Intensity/dp/1935067001
Tina Van Erp says
I’m not sure which I’ve enjoyed more today … your original underdog blog or the community of people who responded to it. Thanks for a great day! Looking forward to Tuesday and all the awesomeness!
Archan Mehta says
Nice post, as usual, thanks.
If it’s any consolation, you are a winner in my book, not an underdog at all.
You have achieved so much, and you will earn your PhD. soon as well.
Anytime you need a pat on the back, well, we are here for you, buddy. You have a great support system of fans.
I also think you are at your best when you write about your personal and professional trials and tribulations. It allows the reader to have more empathy for you. And that’s a good thing.
Speaking for myself, I was a rolling stone that gathers no moss for a long time. I never found any peace of mind until the day I discovered the inward journey. In a word, meditation.
If you want to just be, discover who you really are, feel good about yourself, this journey of self-discovery is your ticket to freedom. I should know.
I practise meditation daily. I can’t imagine my life without it. Cheers.
Sandra Lee says
I really appreciate that you have the guts to tell us that you felt overlooked. This post really hits a chord for me today. I don’t particularly feel like the pawn, but I love the imagery of being the queen. Thanks so much!
Laura White-Ritchie says
I’ve had this post open for 12 hours today waiting for time to comment. I’ve loved reading everyone else’s comments!
That high school version of me was definitely the loner. The non-clique-chick. Picked last (most likely because I was tiny, clumsy and uncoordinated). She always felt kinda invisible. As much as I’ve grown and changed since then, she’s still in there. Now days, I think I’d rather be remembered as snarky than smart. But I can be both, right?
I know, intellectually at least, I know that I have all of the knowledge, skill & talent I need to have the life I want. But, its so much easier to be sarcastic and under-appreciated than it is to always be right or in the spotlight (read: fish bowl). Yes. I admitted it. It’s easier. That’s lame and that is my huge epiphany for the day. So, now I get to go figure out how to not be so lame. I see less sleep and more epiphanies in the future. So, yeah, thanks Charlie (sarcastic thanks) and thank you, Charlie (real, sincere, genuine thanks).
Underdog Overlooked. Sounds like a great title for a book. 🙂
Very insightful post and thank you for sharing these feelings. I can certainly relate. I create every day but rarely give myself any credit because I don’t have any public recognition, or awards, or accolades.
I’m going to run with question 3 and add to it. What kind of a kingdom would I create were I the queen?
Thank you Charlie.
Andrew @ Blogging Guide says
I’ve felt overlooked too at times but I don’t really let that get in the way. Why brood? So, I just continue doing my best. I think your accomplishments will almost always be heard especially if your satisfied customers or readers would talk about it.
Megan M. says
Yes, and WOW, and damn.
I was usually one of the last to be picked for teams in gym class- probably self-inflicted as I hated gym and didn’t try too hard.
As an adult, I was told I would never make it starting a home daycare- I did it anyway and had some of the best (and most profitable) years of my life.
I was told that I would never make it online- I did it anyway.
It’s taken a couple of years to figure out what I wanted to do, but I figured it out, hunkered down and I’m starting to see some good income flow…
BTW- I was told these things from my sister, who has a great job in a well known company. She travels 2 hours to work and back each day….12 + hour days are not my forte’. Puts up with tons of BS….
I enjoy freedom…..
One good thing about growing up is you can choose to be who you want and ignore what people say…………..
Sherrill Leverich-Fries says
What a rich post, and tremendous comments. So much food for thought, and I see myself in this in myriad ways. Must come back to read when my 4 year old isn’t distracting me with his awesomeness 🙂
Thank you for sharing and revealing yourself. You continually model Marianne Williamson’s quote to me, and I am grateful.
Jennifer Louden says
Love the questions at the end and love you!
Lisa Alessi says
Wow what a great post and so timely too. I had to comment because I’ve been grappling with a similar issue all week and love the synchronicity – when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Thank you Charlie!
I felt cast over by a colleague this week and couldn’t help but think – she should value me, want to work with me, like me. I started to spin and focus completely on the wrong things wasting so much time and energy as you eloquently point out.
But in retrospect, I’m so glad we didn’t work together. Partnering with this colleague would have been a mistake – a clash of styles, values and approaches – I would have been miserable. It saved me a tremendous amount of drama.
Your questions are awesome, they made me realize what I really need is to appreciate all the great work I do. We all do! Plus focusing on being the queen and what I can accomplish is much more fun and powerful than pondering my shortcomings as an underdog.
And in my opinion, you are no underdog. It’s the amazing insights and perspectives that you share in your work that drives me to recommend your blog to so many friends and clients and that to me is an incredible advantage!
Thanks for all the great work you do!
Kirstine Vergara says
I’m glad I was able to read this. When you’ve always been an underdog, you get used to it and you sometimes forget that you can be someone else, someone better. You just have to realize it. I think I’ve always been been a “middledog” (if there’s such a thing), not up nor under. I know that I want to be something better and I am in the process of believing and doing something about it. So for now, I’ll work harder to be on top.
Sharing with you a great article on Goal Setting . This inspired me to effectively program my goals. I hope it will do the same to you and to your readers. Thanks!
Wow, this really hits home.
” 1. What would you do differently if you didn’t have to prove that you’re capable of doing what you’re trying to do?”
I would probably act that much more boldly and fearlessly.
” 2. What are you waiting for permission to do, and what would it take for you to start with what you have right now?”
I’m trying my best to set my own standards, but it is tough not to be somewhat affect by external factors.
“3. What if, rather than being a pawn, you were the queen?”
I would feel more free. I would also be more commanding, and I would lead others toward common goals.
C. A. Kobu says
Thanks a lot a for this article, Charlie. I can’t explain how it turned me upside down. I come from a Turkish background. In our community and in my family, we were always preached about the value of modesty. We were expected to be modest to the point of unowning and unembracing our feats. We were taught that others should discover our virtues, and we should never advertise them ourselves.
Then, at the age of 11, I started going to an American school. I studied there for 7 years until I graduated from high-school.
The American school was a totally different place. We were expected to promote our work, compete and talk about our successes openly. It was a totally different culture. So that’s how the inner clash began.
I’ve suffered the underdog attitude all my life although at times I suppressed it. I leashed myself and missed out on many opportunities.
Your words hit a chord for me today. I think I still have much inner work to do. It’s not done yet because I’ve been observing the same historical pattern in myself lately.
And one more thing: I would have never ever thought you’d believe that you were an underdog. That was surprising for me. Thanks for being honest, open and sharing. I think this article will be a change-tool for many.
Andre Blackman says
This all makes sense now 🙂 Thanks again Charlie!
Annie Russell says
I appreciate this article. I like both types. The challenges come into play when feelings of inferiority and/or superiority feed into disrespect of self and others, especially, those closest to them. I like it when you state, ‘just be’. Thinking that one has to do or be something else or more to ‘count’ can be self tormenting and produce residual effects on people closest to them, now or later. Some parents/bosses/teachers/spouses find themselves in real or assumed authority positions living out their latent over dog fantasies at the expense of people in their charge. For me, you seem to have exhibited the activity and involvement of authentic self love. Self love is always the road to ‘Servant Leadership’. whether coaching leaders or coaching ‘underdogs’ to know that each of them is a miracle, unique and unrepeatable. Thank you for Flourishing.
Interesting post… So interesting I wrote a book on overcoming the UNDERDOg mentality. I give 60 tips that helped me overcome my UNDERDOg mentality as an UNDERDOg playing football (at Vanderbilt University) in the SEC and competing for victory in corporate America as a medical device UNDERDOg (sales rep). The link find out more about it is http://www.gionic.com
Be encoouraged becuase UNDERDOgs can and do WIN.
I found this article recently, and I found it incredibly thought provoking. I have always thought of myself as an underdog – I was always too much of a procrastinator, or too fat, or too shy. But really, was I ever? I would constantly, constantly say I couldn’t do something because I was too shy. But who says I was too shy? Why couldn’t I just break that wall, burst out of my shell and do what ever I wanted? Did I miss out on oppurtunities because I put myself down? I know others put me down; but other people are always, always putting you down. I would really like to know, though– did I ultimately hurt myself?
Thank you so, so much for this post. I will continue to reflect on it, as well as my own personal feelings. Thanks again.