Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer to your business peers?

Almost every single person I meet who is contemplating coming along to a Boardroom (@EcademyBR) for the first time will invariably say to me something along the lines of "I am not sure what I can contribute" or "I don't think that I have anything to offer".

I do know how they feel.

When I first encountered Boardrooms I was completely intimidated by the expertise in the room. In awe of the day rate charged by some of the people who had come along. Convinced that I knew nothing of any real value that anyone else would be interested in. I was determined that it was going to take me at least six months to get to grips with the process and probably a bit longer to learn not sweat over how I was going to put forward my issue. Petrified of being interrogated to the nth degree a la Dragon's Den (holographic memories of draconian PE teachers loom up before me!) And that, I decided, was before I was going to even contemplate opening my mouth and 'pretending' that I knew what I was talking about.

Little did I realise.

My determination to sit on my hands, keep my mouth shut and just observe to learn lasted about 20 minutes. However ….. I got to the stage where I was convinced that I must have blinked and missed something. All I could see was a glaring gap in the information provided and I really didn't understand. I couldn't stand it any longer and just had to admit that I was confused and needed clarification.

And then the lightening bolt of understanding struck.

I hadn't missed anything. I had wrongly assumed that what I could see as being absent was something that I believed was 'common sense', so common knowledge and therefore common practice . It was then that I realised that the many years that I had spent in business were completely different to everyone else's which meant that what I brought to the table was unique and to the right people immensely valuable. Just because I hadn't made my millions and was driving the life of my dreams did NOT mean to say that I had nothing to offer.

Subsequently I began to realise the true value of connecting with other like minded business owners and now nearly two years later, that value continues to grow as my understanding of what others have to offer grows too. There is always so much more hidden behind the company profiles that we are so used to seeing.

Despite the fact that many of the people I speak to recognise the fact that they need and want to be able to tap into the expertise of their own Boardroom group, the anxieties about what their own contribution might be is often the thing that will stop them from joining in. Interestingly not everyone thinks of what they can get out of their investment first.

It does not take long talking with people to discover some of the nuggets of wisdom that I know from experience will be immensely appreciated by the group as a whole. It is amazing what each and everyone of us can really offer given the opportunity to share what we know.

Just because something is easy for us to understand does not mean that it will be easy for everyone else. As such there is a tendency to undervalue our expertise just because it requires so little effort on our part by comparison to other things that are a real challenge.

Question is how do we find out what it is that we can contribute to those around us?

What do you think is really easy to do in your business and perhaps might be undervaluing as a result?


[EDIT: (In response to a comment below) You can find out more about going to Boardrooms by going to the dedicated Ecademy Boardrooms website. There is a form that you can fill in too which will put you on the mailing list to get regular updates, news and information on how to get more details.]




Ecademy Boardrooms - finding innovative solutions for your business | Boardroom - Hotel du Vin Bristol | Arts Wales |Internet Marketing Group | Luxury Wearable Art for women | PR and Marketing | Arts Wales UK | | Charles and Patricia Lester

Maurice Poole

mauricepoole-96500

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

This is a very valuable blog. I want to show my appreciation. The issue of apparent "know-alls" has been mentioned, but mainly in terms of those that don't want the available advice because they know their way is best. There may be another aspect that I think Stuart surfaced actually, which is that we don't want to put people off by giving advice that might put us in too powerful a light. Of course in an extreme case that results in our "hiding our light under a bushel". There is no need for such reticence, as the person in the "hot seat" did ask!!! The other point is that of a confessedly poor business person - a sort of "unbusinessman" - who doesn't know what to ask and wouldn't know what to do with the advice if he got some. I suppose such an one would not see a place for him in a Boardroom and perhaps could be forgiven for thinking so? You posed the question: how do we find out what it is that we can contribute to those around us? I think we find that out by listening to the problem statements and contributions of others. To add to the latter, perhaps even offering a very different view, is contextual and gets away from the idea of "knowing what we are there to contribute" - my first point above. Best Regards   Maurice

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Maxine Cook

maxinecook-407165

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

I totally relate to this. Often, its really intimidating wading into a discussion, especially where people have already been conversing about something they surely know a lot about, and all of a sudden a new voice pipes up, with a new perspective and an objective viewpoint. We're all terrified of that resounding "who the hell are you" silence, that has the potential to destroy what fragile confidence we may wade in with! But realistically, everyone has something to offer (even if its only entertainment value), and potentially so much to gain, from contributing to a discussion. At worst, listen and learn. At best, contribute something valid that can be an "aha" moment for yourself or somebody else. Many people have an issue with confidence of feelings of "worthiness". It doesn't mean they're not fantastic at what they do, with lots of experience and insights to offer, and although we judge by our own standards and are often our own worst critics, in my experience most people genuinely welcome fresh perspectives. Maxine (Max) Cook Darlings Who Do Limited

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Selchouk Sami

selchouksami-351118

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Georgina Interesting blog... How do we find out what it is that we can contribute to those around us? Becoming more self aware and confident in what we do and what makes us different. Once you become in tune with yourself you will find out what you have got to offer to those around you. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Identify your USPs you must have at least one ;) Whether it be a social media consultant say who specialises or is in to Twitter over Facebook, business doctor, accountant, lawyer. What excites you, what kind of book would you find a joy to read? What makes you get out of bed in the morning? These questions should help you focus your mind on your self. As to myself I am a property and commercial solicitor who has a deep fascination with business affairs. This is what makes me tick. I am aware of my interest and enjoy sharing and learning on such related topics. Learning and applying the law has now become second nature as with anything you repeat over a long perod of time. Regards Selchouk

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Stuart Chalmers

stuartchalmers-309448

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

I have been a long time partial participant in eCademy and LinkedIn too but I have warmed to it to quite a bit. Between all the info flying around via networking sites, Twitter, Facebook and everything else it is sometimes hard to keep focus. I think this thread is about re-assurance but why? Why do we need to be re-assured, why do people feel undervalued or have low esteem so often in countries like ours? You could ask, is this a trait of human nature or you could turn it around and say why is it in the interests of society to make people feel like this. I am more successful than you because I have more money or I am better than you because I know more about something in particular. If you are not motivated by money then having a lot of it does not equate to a fulfilled life and we all know there are unhappy rich people. The people that shout about how much they know are often just shouting about it, they are metaphorically just parading around with their feathers spread out, it doesn't mean they necessarily do know that much and sometimes rely on the ignorance of others to go forward. Sometimes when you quiz them you find that they don't know any more than you and they are just self-established experts. I agree that it can be intimidating at times though. I remember a chap from quite few years ago who quietly sat by his desk beavering away and people did not at first seem to take much notice of him. He had a thick regional accent which helped to disguise his true worth. After a while I noticed people quietly going up to him to ask his advice. Eventually he gave a talk to the office about his area of expertise and it became clear what a real expert he was and how eloquently he was able to put the information across. It turns out that he spent a few years lecturing then went back out into industry to gain more experience and keep up with emerging developments, he then repeated the process, learning more, passing it on, learning more and passing it on ... Anyway the point is, he knew an awful lot but did not feel the need to put it about in a way that made other people feel small. Another observation is that "professional" is a much over used word. I have met people very good at what they do but professional seems to imply a level of perfection to me that people can rarely deliver. I have met people who say they are professionals and are very proud of the fact. After a while I sometimes find out that they are not really, in fact sometimes they are rubbish at what they do and it turns out I know more than them by far. But people love to put it about "I'm better than you" without saying it outright. Ok, there are few people so talented we are not going catch them. Chet Baker, a famous jazz trumpeter and singer was famous not only for has talent but it was claimed that he never had to practice, it just came naturally. I cannot conceive of ever being able to compete in the Tour de France, I'm just not that athletic and never have been but I like cycling. Lady Gaga on the other had is just, well, just average really but she has some good ideas and is able to exploit them through a bit of luck and probably some hard work. Perhaps the above is just rhetoric but really, don't let the &^!£&£ get you down, we don't always have to aspire to what other people tell us we should aspire to. I agree very much with Steve Waters statement about work ethic. It is in the interests of our type of society to keep that ethic to the forefront. Metaphorically speaking it is in the interests of those that are rich and powerful to make sure there are always enough people to empty their bins. Hmmmm, well the above may have come out a bit more over the top than I meant but the point is that there is a lot in our society designed to make people think their worth is less than it is which we fight to contradict. I fear sometimes that the negative side is just a little bit stronger than the positive. It is a case of reminding yourself that "I am me and that is enough" if you are in that "I'm not good enough" place. Stuart Chalmers Tel: 0845 1800 187 Fax: 0844 811 7899 Mob: 07788 673856 stuart@stuartchalmers.me.uk

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Stuart Chalmers

stuartchalmers-309448

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

This is a test post. Stuart Chalmers Tel: 0845 1800 187 Fax: 0844 811 7899 Mob: 07788 673856 stuart@stuartchalmers.me.uk

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Amanda Hamilton

amandahamilton-243510

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Love this blog Georgina. Your writing style has changed so much over the years. You are clear and passionate about what you do and it shows how much you have learned and developed over the last (ehem) number of years. And if you found it scary, then discovered that what you have to say is really needed, you encourage others who are feeling timid or lacking in gravitas to come along.

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N Bhashyam

dr-nbhashyam-263898

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Well, very goes through this in any new unfamiliar environment. However, one can learn from any one , provided one is positively inclined and fine tuned his frequency to welcome new ideas,thoughts, concept etc.Also, what is true for the giver is equally true for the receiver too more so in a multilateral forum .It is only through such exchange of ideas and thoughts the optimal evolves. N Bhashyam

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Judith Germain

judithgermain-78129

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

This is an excellent blog and I think something that is experienced by most that attend a Boardroom for the first time. Even the most 'expert' of us, find that the value of chewing over a problem with others can have surprising results. We all bring valuable experience and combined with others in the room can lead to a powerful change to someone and their business. Take care Judith Follow @MaverickMastery Judith Germain - Reputation CatalystDynamic Transitions Ltd - Specialising in Leading through influence T: +44 (0) 208 288 0512; or jude@dynamic-transitions.co.uk for Leadership dRive™ - Reputation and Influence combined

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Chris Farrance

chrisfarrance-22908

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

I think it's very difficult to value one's own capabilities but conversely infinitely easier to be self critical. I have always seen myself as a generalist rather than a specialist and therefore a sort of second class citizen. A conversation with a fellow Blackstar just recently helped be realise that being a generalist is a good place to be and equally valuable. Chris Farrance Trainee Digital Coach m: 0770465560 e: chrisfarrance@btclick.com w: www.chrisfarrance.co.uk

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David Winch

davidwinch-91561

Is it just me?

Every Boardroom and Mastermind Group that I have ever attended has demonstrated the same thing. It's far easier to come up with answers to other people's problems! What else could be said to motivate those who think they'll have nothing to contribute? Not only have I been able to share my wisdom as well as receive immense amounts of wisdom from others. Every single time I have found myself coming out with suggestions that I didn't know were lurking in my subconscious! As everyone else has said - If you haven't already, give it a go. David Winch Make Sales Without Selling and Get Paid What You're Worth

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Jayne Albiston

jaynealbiston-624689

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Really great to read about your experiences Georgina! I experienced a mini Ecademy Boardroom at the afternoon we went to in Brisbane with Geoff Kirkwood and it was really interesting when my topic was chosen. Even though we were all novices and it was just a demonstration of the process we did all gain from it and I am passionate now about the huge value that Ecademy Boardrooms can bring to business people from all different backgrounds. I am really looking forward to Ecademy Boardrooms coming to NZ - I know for sure we will embrace them and put our own Kiwi stamp on what has been largely a UK thing in the Ecademy Community! It would be great to see you over here one day to help us out and participate with us! Thank you for the encouragement! Jayne Albiston Director International TradeLink Australia New Zealand BoB Clubs NZ T: (AUS) +61(0) 468 931 067 or (NZ) +64(0) 21 024 838 24 | E-mail: jayne@itradelink.com.au/ jayne.albiston@bobclubs.com | Web: www.itradelink.com.au www.bobclubs.co.nz

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Doug Smith

dougsmith-287845

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

From my experience with executive boards, mastermind groups or peer groups there are two things (besides the quality of the leader) which make them work. First, everyone in the group must have cold, hard cash on the line to participate. Even if you give people their money back when they show up and they forfit it when they do not, this ensures a consistent turnout. Second, the minimum commitment must be 2 years. When there is constant churn it is difficult to build relationships and transformation is a process not a quick fix. You must determine upfront, whether potential board members are being honest with themselves. DS

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Georgina Lester

georginalester

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Fantastic comments so far. I will get to responding to them all but I just wanted to say this is really great input and thank you! Follow @Georgina_Lester Ecademy Boardrooms - finding innovative solutions for your business | Boardroom - Hotel du Vin Bristol | Arts Wales |Internet Marketing Group | Luxury Wearable Art for women | PR and Marketing | Arts Wales UK | | Charles and Patricia Lester

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Wendy Ager

wendyager-559608

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Great post! I believe everyone has valuable knowledge, from life, business and elsewhere. Sharing this not only brings fruitful friendships, contacts and business referrals but we also learn from telling each other (teaching/training, some call it) as it reinforces it. You can often learn from sharing what you know with others as it often reveals to you more about what you know too. I'm sure this is true in boardrooms and that people will get out as much as they put in. Wendy Ager Get Better Coaching Helping you to get better

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Steve Waters

stevewaters-619905

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Hi Georgina. A thought-provoking observation and equally thought-provoking responses. Some observations: our culture (unlike the USA) is not to 'boast' about our successes. Being proud of what we have achieved does not come naturally.To be able to do so with confidence and without arrogance whilst acknowledging the abilities of others without feeling threatened is a skill which parents and schools need to teach and encourage. When talking to people who have been made redundant, they often say 'What can I do? All I've ever known is teaching/marketing/administration etc' One of the first things I do during my training course is to ask the participants to audit their personal qualities and business skills and to consider which are transferable to other employment or self-employment settings. Sometimes, a person's response to redundancy can be to feel depressed or worthless which makes it even more likely that they will denigrate their skills. Clients I have coached recently have also said that it something comes easily to them, they don't consider it as an achievement. This perhaps comes from the Protestant work ethic which is deeply ingrained in our psyche - things we are good at, which we enjoy and which we find are second nature to us can't be work. Work has to be hard and unenjoyable to give us satisfaction and our talents have to be earned. What comes easily to us, of course, does not necessarily come easily to our colleagues - and this is why collaboration, sharing and helping one another is so powerful. A reflection on the Boardroom: I agree with the comment that the name may have connotations of a select group making decisions behind closed doors about procedure and policy. Of course, they are anything but, and the stimulating discussion and creative ideas are invaluable for triggering business ideas. I wonder, now that Ecademy is changing, whether the Boardrooms should be given a different name. Perhaps we could all contribute ideas on the name and/or a logo. What do you all think? Steve Waters

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TØny Hine

tonyhine-94555

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

I don't want to sound patronising, and anyone that knows me will probably tell you that I am far from it, to the point of being rude. However at the risk of sounding patronising, I can tell you that Georgina has demonstrated in her writing here her skill in seeing into the heart of the matter, her insight is powerful and seldom wrong. And on top of that she has the ability to articulate it, again demonstrated here. At boardrooms you get to meet people like Georgina, you get to benefit from their knowledge and wisdom, to the advantage of your business, your personality and your self esteem. Cheers TØny...

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Rudi Mehta

mr-rudeshmehta1-164914

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

So glad you brought this up Georgina. I suppose there will be quite a few people reading this and getting in touch. Unfortunately,I'm one them chaps found,going into a boardroom fully of confidence ready to offer my expertise but after a brief intro by everyone I felt that they seem to know more about everything and anything and just maybe,my speciality is not really required. I still question myself,Should I still remain a Blackstar !!! Maybe I'm not quite ready yet. Anyway,Excellent blog Georgina and good luck.

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Chris White

chriswhite9-602738

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Georgina, A very encouraging blog which, I am sure, will motivate a lot of readers to get involved with a Boardroom but how we do we get information about where and when they meet, what is the Boardroom process and how to join a Boardroom.

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Alan Stevens

stevensa-38366

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Georgina, Excellent insights. It's for the same reasons that I've been in mastermind groups for many years, which sound similar to Ecademy boardrooms, though usually focused on one profession. We all have a great deal to offer each other, not least as a sounding board for ideas. Good luck with your boardroom. Best wishes Alan Alan Stevens, Past President, Global Speakers Federation, 2010-2011 Communication, PR and Reputation Management Author of Ping! Presenter of Media Coach Radio Show Follow me on Twitter

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jet rotmans

jetrotmans-173923

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

dear georgina well the first time or the second time or third time or the 100th time we are humans and can be insecure on any moment anyway I can and that is charming and giving and extra extra when we share like you do now even more than the story of success good wishes warmest regards jet

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Shelley Fishel

shelleyfishel-235880

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

Hi Georgina What a fabulous blog and so insightful. I went to my first boardroom not having a clue what to expect. Had my issue chosen and was really in the "hot seat" - the feedback was fantastic although sometimes hard to hear. After that I thought, how can I possibly contribute at a similar level. Having now attended a number of boardrooms, there are times when I don't have much to add and times when even a small nugget is of benefit to those around. It is a great way to get to know others who we get a flavour of online, putting a person to the online persona is immensely valuable. At the last boardroom I attended (last week) I did not have an issue to raise, however gained immeasurable benefits from listening to other's issues and identifying with many of them. Which also means learning from others questions. Great blog Georgina and hopefully we can catch up again soon. Shelley Shelley Fishel The Training Surgery Limited Gold Accredited Training Provider with The Institute of IT Training www.thetrainingsurgery.co.uk Follow me on twitter @shelleyfishel

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Penny Power

penny-power-1001

Do you sometimes feel that you have little or no value to offer

This is such an interesting observation Georgina, I think learnig the value we have for others is far greater in its power than focusing on the value we are getting, like you say we have to be brave enough to one our mouths and share. No one likes 'not it all's so I think itis the vulnerability of the fact we are not sure of ourselves when we enter Bordrooms that makes them so deep, real and special Keep Bloggin like this G, mi love it Penny xx warm regards Penny Power Founder of Ecademy and Ecademy Digital School Helping you build social capital in your business and life Follow @pennypower Follow @pennypower I support:  

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Kathryn Sassall

kathrynsassall-613756

Fear of the unknown ...

I think it's wonderful that we have respect and awe for so many of our peers here on Ecademy which not unnaturally leads to being a bit tongue-tied - I am amazed you managed 20 minutes of silence :-) Sometimes we forget basic psychological fact - everyone likes to talk about themselves and that includes their businesses. It's just a case of finding the right questions ... and that's where the fun begins. Many people in business are used to being experts and giving advice which may not always sit well with the receiver. This was interesting to observe on the Ecademy Digital Coach day of coaching in July (which we were both at). There is such a strong willingness to give and to help that people had to restrain themselves from giving an answer to listen and ask the right questions to help someone find their own solution. This is why I like the idea of the Boardrooms and will be attending in due course. It's not a fear of having little to add it's just a case of getting to the right place in my business plan as I juggle a few things at the moment. I am nearly there and looking forward to popping up to Chelmsford to actually meet the local Ecademians. It is the intangible that I have the most difficulty with explaining the value to other people; a common issue with coaching. During the digital coaching process I've received a lot of feedback on what is totally new to people which I take for granted. Also testimonials help to show that people have had good results and I really find out what I've contributed to others. One of the things I find easy to do is connect information and find unusual angles of looking at people within a marketing niche which is born out of a natural curiosity for the world and my days as an analyst pulling together tonnes of data into small parcels of summary for others. This is even more fun these days with the opportunities to find information on the web, but of course that brings provenance concerns too! I know that others often don't know where to start e.g. which search terms, where, how, and of course the scourge of many business owners - perceived lack of time to look. Especially those High Reds if they can't attribute a value return immediately. I love the opportunity to communicate with business owners face-to-face and online and understand the value of building long-term relationships based on understanding so that the circle of connections widens with some depth. Food for thought: when I hear the term Boardroom I have memories from my days in the City of rather dull meetings with a tight agenda but poorly facilitation which resulted in a PA taking action points down and everyone slinking off relieved that it was over. There was no pleasure from sharing and to be honest little real value. The real stuff being done in smaller cross-department meetings. I therefore have a bit of a sweat moment just hearing the word! It appears from talking to you, and others who've been to or chair Ecademy Boardrooms, that is not the case, but I wonder how many others are holding back from attending because of the cost against a perceived value because of a traditional view of a boardroom? Is there a video montage of any of them to give a feel for the buzz and connectivity that seems to be created? For those that have not benefited hearing Georgina and others speak about boardrooms is truly inspiring and the passion can really be felt. All the best Kathryn Sassall Coach In Action Ltd

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