That’s the number one question we ask ourselves silently, isn’t it? Do I matter? Sometimes we ask it as in ‘Does my life matter?’ More often, its circumstantial. “Do I matter in this particular area of life?”
I received an email from a blog reader this week that was most touching. Here is an excerpt:
Thanks for all the content publishing you do. It really helps.
I took a job last year as a sales person for a highly technical service. And I’m lost. I don’t feel like my expertise can measure up to my client’s expertise in what I’m selling. And I don’t think it ever will.
I’m thinking about changing professions. Either get out of sales. Or get out of this industry. I just don’t feel like I matter much when I’m calling on these high-powered doctors.
What should I do?
San Francisco, CA
It struck a nerve with me. How often have I felt like my work doesn’t matter? Lots.
I get so anxious to make the numbers and roll out quality content that I frequently forget about the true nature of my work – to grow people.
And yet, when I drop into that mode, it’s a signal that I’m not thinking about things correctly. And that was my advice to her.
So, when your thinking gets sideways, think about your ROLE. What is your ROLE in this circumstance?
In her case, it is NOT her role to be the foremost expert on the technical aspects of the solution.
I suffered with that illusion in the first few years of the training business. They told me to, “Call on CEOs.” And yet, that little voice (or that big voice, in my case) said, “What makes you think you can bring value to a $1,000,000/year CEO?”
So I had some good advice from a mentor who said, “What is your ROLE in this event?”
It turns out that my role was not to be the be-all-end-all in training. It was simpler.
It was to be a problem finder. If there was a problem that I could add value around, great. If there was nothing they needed, great. I’d be on my way.
When we don’t feel like we matter, in certain circumstances, we need to change our thinking and get back to exploring our true role.
In Becca’s case, I suggested she drop back to being a facilitator of the process. That’s it. Show up. Ask great questions. Be of high intent. And facilitate the problem finding process. Be an expert at that first. Later, you can become an expert in the actual solution.
You do matter, regardless of what your thinking tells you. And you matter most when you know and execute your role. Remember, if you aren’t feeling good about your profession or career, go back to ROLE. You’ll be surprised how it will take the pressure off.