Relevant or Over-Inflated?


The job market is competitive. So are the companies with jobs in the market. Whether you are happily employed or seeking a change, chances are that you striving to be relevant in pursuit of your livelihood.

Competition is common and we encounter it daily. Success is sorted by different levels of contribution and performance. High performance gets rewarded, (with attractive salaries, benefits and opportunity). Being noticed, appreciated and rewarded can symbolize relevance, and relevance suggests belonging. It suggests being closely connected. Confident. It may even provide a small portion of comfort.

Our confidence gets startled in an instant because, around the corner is competition and fear. You know what it feels like. That sense of security gone in a flash when someone knows more about a project than you do. When the office is buzzing with news of change and you had no idea. This is fertile ground for competition. It’s the space where we devolve from innovation and collaboration into scanning for threats, seeking rewards; focused on survival of the fittest. Change happens. Some of us become less generous with our cooperation, knowledge and appreciation. We exaggerate our role, contributions, privilege and sense of value. We call it relevance, but the tire guy, who doesn’t have a desk in the office knows that  over-inflation creates serious safety risks.

People, behaviors and tires have a lot in common. Did you know that over-inflating tires is highly discouraged? It increases chance of a blowout from excessive pressure. It reduces traction and performance and causes uneven wear. Vehicles experience less stability and safety for the driver AND passengers. Over-inflated tires (and egos) are more susceptible to damage from road hazards. They are more stiff and rigid than normal, leaving no room to flex around obstacles as they usually would. Tires and people share some common cautionary tales.

Today’s Tip: How to be relevant without over-inflation?  

  • Check your tire pressure. You may need input from a third party. Seek input.
  • Take a deep breath. Pause. Reflect. What’s changed in how you approach work?
  • Slow down periodically. Be curious. Don’t conclude too soon.

Here are a few ways over inflating can sneak into your arena:

  • Maybe you’ve been asked to “massage the data” of the report so it looks better.
  • Or you intentionally omitted a detail to impress the board.
  • You may have received feedback then argued, insisting the feedback was wrong.

Our desire to be relevant collides with our integrity and it’s in those moments that people are made or manufactured. Do you want to be trusted or applauded? Are you seeking comfort our demonstrating courage? You cannot have both in the same space. Just like people buckle under pressure, over-inflating your role reduces relevance and performance.

Remember:    Over-Inflating your role will leave you flat!