Where you belong.

I belong!
The hidden gremlin – why the wrong upbringing can unwind the right talent.

I reject the notion that we all have “our station in life”. At its worst this is hugely demeaning and limiting.

It did make me think though of the environment we were bought up in, and the impact this has on the way we see ourselves in life. And what I discovered was an aspect no-one in 5 decades has pointed out to me.

As you grow you may ‘improve’ your environment through diligence and effort; but you also need to believe you belong in that new environment before you can realise your dream/ your potential.

As a child it was an exciting day when Ray Sadd the plumber would come around and smoke his roll-your-owns on our back porch.

This was my model of ‘company’, of belonging.

No Lawyers, Doctors, Politicians, Scientists, Heads of Industry, Entrepreneurs or high achievers.

It was entirely incongruous with my other aspirations.

My proposition then, is that life is determined by where we expect to be and also, and critically, by where we expect to belong.

To make progress I had to reframe where I belong much more than understand what I needed to do to get there.

One part of this journey was obvious (Academic you might say), the other incredibly subtle.

That is, if as a child you dream of being a world class football player, you need to dream not only of having the skills and the mental ability but also of being comfortable in the company of the stars you currently idolise.

I know the two characters recently gracing international TV screens and Newspapers dressed as Kiwi’s at the football world cup. They are tremendously at ease mixing with media ‘stars’ and footballers alike. They were brought up in a highly supportive environment where anything was possible, where in effect they were ‘taught’ to feel as though they belonged wherever they went and in whoever’s company they made. They have gone far and will go further.

I am sure we have many talented people falling off the radar because although they may have developed the ‘skills’, training and even career path of a leader, there may be a little voice saying “I don’t belong”.

How many times have you been told by an employer ‘you belong here’? Here being at this level, in upper management, onward and upward. Not many of you I expect.

Maybe, just maybe, this is a missing piece in the career and talent development framework.

We not only need to grow skills and experiences but we need to ensure the individual understands they truly belong. The sky is the limit.[pullquote]they were ‘taught’ to feel as though they belonged wherever they went and in whoever’s company they made.[/pullquote]

The lucky ones already know this. They believe they belong and develop the requisite skills and experiences to fit alongside this. I would hazard a guess that this is as much an influence on future success as any other factor. Perhaps the ‘fortunate and wise’ relay not the skills for future ‘wealth’, but simply the sentiment of belonging and a rightful place.

Does this resonate with anyone?

Do you have talent in your company which is not being realised because of this simple factor?

What do you think about this proposition?

6 Replies to “Where you belong.”

  1. Dear Richard,
    Wrong upbringing can unwind right talent but most of the time it lands you into trouble. You are right because a person who has seen the wrong side does not fall again, instead he has only one way left i.e. right way. That means the person who has already hit the bottom has potential opportunity and chance to bounce back and swing but the person who has always seen right path has good chance to steep. It also reminds us that when you have imagined the worst, nothing more than the worst will happen to you. It means you are prepared for the worst, so anything beyong worst will comfort you.
    I completely agree that destiny is not decided. We decide the destiny by our efforts, and there are lot of hindrance in our efforts. So size and distance of the destiny depends upon magnitude of efforts and the kind of hindrance. I also believe that when you grow, your environment also grows. You might think that you are not making any impact but positive energy flows in the environment and it slowly affects the people and environment.

    1. Dear Ajay thank you for this addition,” when you grow, your environment also grows” – very true. Even this blog has done that for me and i know for some of those sitting on the ‘outside of it. the best thing to create a powerful life is a powerful belief. i will do a post on Douglas Hofstadter view of self and consciousness which i think is a brilliant piece of work and will add to what you and others have said on this blog site. Bless, Richard

  2. Depending on the culture you create, by saying to someone they belong here you may be limiting them! What is best for the individual is not always best for the company and vice versa. However if the person is right for the company then that should be made VERY clear.
    I always like what Jim Collins has to say about the right people: get the right people on the bus…before you even start thinking about direction.
    As managers we must ensure we have the right team…before we do ANYTHING!

    1. Mark- an excellent point – may be that is why no one ever told me! 🙂 Regarding the Jim Collins comment, apart from the fact we must read the same books, I fully concur – and when you get managers to understand that (and not be threatened by having talented individuals underneath them) then a whole new world opens up. I would like to talk with you sometime – contact me via the contact page and we’ll see if we can make that happen. Regards

  3. I love the recognition Tessa gets for the boys costumes!
    Just goes to show, doesn’t matter how old you are you still need your Mum ,at times. Cheers

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