Be Your Own Champion

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I was in a conversation with someone who was expressing frustration that so many of her best ideas are ignored, yet many sub-par ideas from others seem to be selected by the organization for further development. I asked, “So, how have you changed your method of pitching ideas?”

She looked at me for a few seconds, unsure of what I meant. I tried again.

“How have you adapted your sales pitch so that others can better see the merits of your ideas?”

Certain she understood me this time, she started in again about how the politics of the organization are stacked, and how it’s not about how great the ideas are but who introduces them, and…

I stopped her. “Of course it’s not about how great the ideas are. Great ideas never make it to the top without a champion. You have to champion your idea, fight for it, and – if you really believe in it – aggressively stand your ground.”

It turns out that she wasn’t doing much fighting at all. She believed that the work would stand on its own merits, but she was wrong.

I encounter many people who do amazing work, but they are reluctant to share it with others, fight for it, and hold their ground regardless of the consequences. They believe that if they only craft something well enough, others will be swayed and have no choice but to acknowledge its brilliance.

Except…everyone else is doing work they also believe to be brilliant. They might nod in your direction, but they’re not going to stop what they’re doing to pay attention to your idea until you make them. If you believe in your work, you must be willing to share it frequently and aggressively fight for it.

You must be your own champion.

Don’t wait, because no one is going to beat a path to your door. Share your ideas, fight for them, adapt your pitch if necessary, and do whatever you need to in order to ensure that your work gets a fair audience. Even if you don’t win in the end, at least you don’t have to wonder “what if…?”

Todd Henry

Todd Henry

Positioning himself as an “arms dealer for the creative revolution”, Todd Henry teaches leaders and organizations how to establish practices that lead to everyday brilliance. He is the author of five books (The Accidental Creative, Die Empty, Louder Than Words, Herding Tigers, The Motivation Code) which have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and he speaks and consults across dozens of industries on creativity, leadership, and passion for work.

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