Are You Creating an Eclipse by Hiding Your Value?

Watching the eclipse in North Dallas was awe-inspiring. The clouds parted at the right moment. When the moon blocked out the brilliance of the sun, it was an unreal experience.

The recent eclipse can be a real reminder of how we block our own brilliance or do not view our value in the eyes of others. One of the areas many leaders and negotiators miss is the personal, unique value they offer.

A few years back, a coach asked me questions regarding my value to others. I rattled off bullet point responses about deep preparation to really understand the client, creative problem solving, and seeing opportunities in challenging situations.

My coach replied, “Many could say they provide similar services and achieve results. What is unique about what you bring to the table?” Then, she challenged me (aka dared me) to ask those who paid me where they thought I was unique and provided value.

First, I needed to get over the idea that I was bothering clients with my “selfish” request and just ask.

Their responses reflected some of my initial thoughts but they were much deeper than expected. Also, a theme emerged. People said they felt encouraged and empowered. They felt I created a safe space to be vulnerable, admit areas of concern, and to stretch outside their comfort zone.

Really? At first glance, their words didn’t seem very exciting and/or marketable. How does, “Makes you feel safe to be vulnerable and to stretch outside your comfort zone” become a catchy soundbite? Are people wanting to lead and to negotiate more powerfully looking in their web browsers for those phrases?

However, what others perceive is unique about your value is their truth. If you ask about your value, I bet the responses you receive will be different and deeper than what you identified, too.

How would you respond to these questions?

❓What do you bring to the table at work, to others, and/or to a deal?
❓Are you sure that’s what others think about you and your value?
❓How do you ensure that your beliefs around your value are correct?

This week’s challenge is to list what makes you different and where you add value when dealing with others. Soon I’ll give you a tool to find out.