Wisdom//

Who Are You Trying to Impress?

When being a good student works against you.

Image via Unsplash.com

When Being A Good Student Is Working Against You…

Some of us were always determined to impress the teacher. Our homework was done on time, not crumpled, or half-eaten by the proverbial dog. We were thorough — often doing work for extra credit. And of course we basked in the praise and good grades the teacher bestowed.

That was me, in 6th grade.

Recognition of this kind can be habit-forming. Each time we demonstrate that we “know it all,” there is a subconscious expectation for reward.

But we are not in that kind of school anymore. Our lives as professionals call for a different approach.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a two-day conference with business thought leaders. All of the leaders had written books — some had grown successful companies, others were professors at notable business schools, and a few were consultants. Arguably no one had anything to prove. After all, they were speaking to an audience of 900 smart people.

The most memorable presentations did not give us vast quantities of data or impress with statistics, they focused on creating value for us, the audience. These speakers had thoughtfully created compelling presentations to give us something we could use — a fresh approach, an interesting concept, an awareness-expanding idea.

However, there were a few others who seemed driven to tell us more about their topic than anyone could reasonably absorb or possibly even care about. As I was watching one person go through her reams of slides, the image came to my mind of that “gold star student.” She wanted us to know that she knew. And having done that, she believed there would be some rendition of a good grade, a pat on the head, or some other adulation she had come to crave.

Having fallen into that same trap myself, all I could feel was compassion for her (even as I tuned out what she was saying).

A Question for Reflection Today:
Are you trying unconsciously to impress a teacher or parent? If you take as a given that you are already impressive, how would that shift what you are offering to your audience, your colleagues, your clients, your boss?

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Download your free copy of the Live Large Roadmap: Five Pillars of Successful Decision-Making.


Originally published at elizabethbcrook.com on June 6, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.