In December, Alana Spencer, a quiet 24 year old from Mid-Wales, secured a £250,000 investment from the famous business tycoon, Lord Sugar. By competing in a series of gruelling business challenges against 17 other high-flying candidates, she eventually won the UK’s 2016 edition of The Apprentice.
But throughout the process, she was constantly underestimated.
She didn’t blow her own trumpet or undermine the other competitors, and so she was repeatedly overlooked and snubbed. But Alana was knowledgeable in her area and articulate when she needed to be. And I, for one, am thrilled that she won.
I’m quiet too. I find it difficult to offer my opinion in a group. I often let the louder characters lead. But that does not mean I’m incompetent.
Actually I have some really good ideas.
If you give me the opportunity to speak, you’ll see that I am following everything that you’re saying and can often bring a different perspective or idea. I am thoughtful and analytical. I have accumulated a lot of knowledge in my chosen field, and I’m happy to share it with you.
But when you talk over me or act aggressively, I find it difficult to contribute. Just because I don’t push my ideas in your face doesn’t mean that I don’t have some great solutions.
Please don’t ignore me.
Quiet Yet Confident
In my recent Christmas blog post, I mentioned that I’m quiet and a number of my readers were quite surprised because I seem so confident.
The truth is, I am confident; I’m more than happy to deliver a pitch to a hundred people, just like Alana. But it’s face-to-face, spontaneous discussion that I struggle with.
Blogging solves that problem; you get to share your opinion and discuss with others, but you have chance to think about what you want to say before it’s sent out into the world. I find it easier to get my thoughts on “paper” rather than cobble something together when everyone is looking at me. It means that I can think through what I want to say and order it effectively.
It’s a shame that society so undervalues us listeners. It is so often the ones who shout the loudest that influence decisions, but the people who consider what is being said and produce a calm, informed opinion can be so beneficial.
I’m not saying that we’re better than our louder counterparts. I just think we all have a role. There have been hundreds of times I’ve been grateful for my more outgoing colleagues who are comfortable with confrontations and able to negotiate with aggressive clients.
But I sometimes wish the thinkers were appreciated a bit more too. I’m more than capable if you’ll just take the time to look past this one issue.
- I’m reliable
- I’m experienced
- I’m hard-working
- I’m educated
- I’m approachable
- I’m skilled
- I’m confident
- I’m organised
- I’m methodical
- I’m creative
I’m good at what I do, I just struggle with pushing myself to the front. Please forgive me this hurdle that I’ve been trying to conquer all my life. Please give me a chance – I might just be an Alana and surprise you!