Underestimated leaders are powerful

Image: Juan Mendez

Leadership takes many forms and successful people are not only found in business. In fact, parents, team captains, chairpeople of community organisations, teachers, psychologists, adventurers and scientists are often underestimated leaders. They have the power to do the right things, the right way and influence the behaviour of a group of people to work towards an inspiring vision of the future.

Why others may underestimate you

It is extremely easy for someone to focus on one small fact about another person and immediately begin to underestimate that person without even realizing they are. In our competitive world, sometimes people also belittle others ideas to make themselves feel better because of their lack of self-confidence. Many of us are underestimated based on circumstances out of our control. It could be that you are in an entry level work position or you have a mental or physical disability or you’re unmarried and have a baby on the way.

Being underestimated can be a good thing

One of the best opportunities you may be given in life is to be underestimated. When someone considers you to be less capable than is actually the case, you are given a driving force to reach success. Being humble, you have an accurate assessment of both your strengths and weaknesses and see them in the context of the bigger whole. You recognize there is a cause greater than yourself and know that you do not know everything.

Furthermore, you don’t stake your identity on being right which allows you to focus on working towards your greater vision. You admit when you make a mistake and invite others to brainstorm with you which promotes a collaborative and empowering environment for solutions and innovation. Additionally, others are more motivated, work harder and consistently give you their best because they know you value them and their input matters.

Getting a handle on being underestimated

Facing underestimation continuously can cause you to feel bad about yourself making your performance suffer. If someone is underestimating you, try to ignore it and remind yourself of the qualities that make you valuable. Focus on the work at hand, what you want to achieve and stay committed to your goals. Also, think about how the lives of others will be better if you succeed.

Remember that mistakes are inevitable and they don't indicate your abilities. Intelligent people do unintelligent things all the time. It's easy to sabotage ourselves with old beliefs that we carry from childhood, learned from family or others. But you should examine the truth of these messages and not let them dictate how you live now.

Everyone has a story and it can be helpful to share it with the person judging you so they are given a perspective they might not have known. Misinformation and lack of understanding plays a part in the underappreciation of others. In addition, you can be assertive in your communication expressing yourself clearly. This can help others understand you better and help you feel more positive about your abilities. Also, the people you surround yourself with are the ones who will make or break you so make sure they lift you up. If not, join a yoga group, sports or cultural club or any place that allows you to feel supported and connected.

Be the director of your life You know more about yourself than anyone else ever will. You are your most important critic. You are the one who knows how successful you are and can be. No matter what anyone thinks or says, you choose your life and your path. Learn to be you and only do what you love. The best antidote for underestimation is action. They might underestimate you, but you believe that you can achieve your goal, so take action and keep on going.

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