Intoxication of the Most Dangerous Kind

Recently, a colleague of mine and I were discussing a phenomenon that has been coming up quite often in my recent client meetings and other personal discussions. Individuals, with tremendous experience and successful careers up until now, have become inhibited, and in some cases paralyzed, by their perception of others. Their reasons are illogical, when we take the time to truly digest and dissect them; however they are very real and indeed quite powerful at the time.

What am I talking about?! Well, it appears that we can often become intimidated by titles, credentials, educational degrees, and seemingly ‘more robust’ experiences of others, that we don’t believe we have or have had in the past.

Rather than to value our own worth and our individually unique gifts, talents, and successful track records; we cave under the perceived weight of what the other’s perceived successes are or have been. We become intoxicated and swept away by the PhD and the CEO titles, and forget that we, too, have experiences which are equally as valuable to our collective journey. We have virtually de-valued our own worth and ability to contribute.

I have seen and experienced this personally; and nearly every single time I have ‘caved’, I have found myself in a place I did not want to be. This ‘intoxication’ can lead us to partner with individuals with whom we are not aligned in other areas which may indeed be more important than the credential or perceived ‘power’ that they bring.  We may not be aligned around our overall intentions, our values, and our ethics – which are arguably much more important and certainly more representative of who we really are. It can lead us to hide our own light under a bushel, only because we do not think we measure up or have the ‘degree or credential’ to warrant our comments, our input, or even our creative thought processes. It can lead us to withhold potentially extremely valuable information to the “C-Suite” (which by the way, they are almost always hungry to hear), only because we are afraid of what they will say or think IF it is not ‘as smart’ or ‘as informed’ as we may think it needs to be.

I have been astounded at how often this state of intoxication is present; and how many of us allow the acronyms following a person’s name on their business card, or their numerous self-promoting posts on FB and LinkedIn intimidate and often paralyze us. We can do better, as individual contributors in this world AND as partners to one another on our collective and individual journeys.

We can celebrate the marvelous successes of others AND learn from them. We can also celebrate what we have to contribute. Each one of us is unique and different; thus, by default our contributions and journeys will also be unique and divinely different. There is only one YOU and only one ME. Our job is to learn, grow, and contribute in our own unique ways – and remember that EACH one of us has something of value to offer irrespective of title, credentials, or perceived power. Our job is to get on with it!

8 responses to “Intoxication of the Most Dangerous Kind

  1. Thank you for your comments. By the numbers of notes I received ‘off line’ (i.e. NOT on the public page) this tells me the issue is real and huge. Not new – of course, this phenomenom has been present for generations. However, seldom are we vulnerable enough to ‘splay’ our ourselves in the spirit of growth. Thank you for your acknowledgements!

  2. Dear Kristin
    It ia a very true thing, and I think it overpasses the cultures because it occurs anywhere.
    I have had once a very nice experience, something not really at the point yuo have said on C level people, but with Navy credentials, when a professional responsible for making a lecture about his company’s product(Hospital Information Systems) for the navy admirals that were there, we got inhibited and simply couldn’t even talk… and he was very experienced and he was surelly in a position that could add lots of value for them…
    Well, I have appreciated a lot your thoughts
    Best Regards

  3. Ah Kristin…you hit upon my exact challenge….I always believe the ‘intoxicating’ wonderfulness of everyone else and never, never accept that some can e present here in me. A perfect blog and thanks so much for the heads-up.

  4. In addition to Titles is how some folks express their ideas as absolutes.

    I tend to speak using “I think” vs. simply stating a point as given fact.

    I think (see there it is) each of us needs to have solid self-awareness of our strengths and experiences and use that as a filter. There’s a balance between good manners we learned early on and being business assertive at acceptable (to others) levels.

    Interesting topic.


  5. Thank you ALL for your comments on what proved to be a very popular topic. Apparently – many of us are intoxicated with the credentials, pedigree, and seemingly ‘superior’ records of others. What a dangerous position for us to take – as we ALL have unique contributions to make and if we hold our own lights under a bushel, we are not giving the world our own unique gifts and talents. I recently (late last year and early this year) found myself in a situation which was absolutely created by my own ‘intoxication’ and it was one that was not in alignment with my own intentions. Severing the situation was painful and frankly the most challenging in my career of late. So – this topic is one about which I am very passionate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *