There is no magic number for respect. 10,000 hours doesn’t automatically make you an expert. 20 years at one company doesn’t make you the CEO. And writing 5 Medium articles a week doesn’t guarantee you a following.
But if you’ve been honing your craft for years or spent decades climbing the corporate ladder, you may believe you’ve paid your dues — and you may be right. There’s just one problem: how do you get the recognition you deserve?
If you feel that you don’t get enough respect from your colleagues or associates in your industry, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take, so let’s explore your options.
Ask Yourself Hard Questions
Keeping in mind that we can never control the actions of others, you’ll want to focus on the positive changes you can make. This is not to sweep aside weighty issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which deserve a national conversation. But it is to say, here we’re going to pay attention to what you as an individual can do to move the needle forward.
First, it’s time to ask yourself some hard questions:
- Why do I want more recognition? What purpose will this serve in my professional or work life?
- In what areas of my life have I been playing small?
- What can I do to put my big ideas into practice?
- From whom do I crave respect? Is it realistic to expect these people to give me the recognition I crave?
- Am I using respect from others as a crutch or a replacement for an emotion I can give to myself?
Wow! Take a deep breath. Those are some heavy questions. You may want to spend some time journaling about them.
The point of asking these questions is not to make you doubt your true feelings or pat you on the head and say, “Respect? You don’t need no stinkin’ respect.” It’s to bring you to another level of self-awareness and bring you closer to tapping into the power that lives within you. This power is what you ultimately want others to recognize.
Take Action: Ignite Your Power
Now that you see that it’s your inner strength that you want to not only tap into, but also let others see shining clearly, you are poised to take action. Here are three ways to ignite your inner power and get the respect you deserve:
1. Do the Scary Thing
Take a good look around at where you are. You’ve been hustling and following all the rules, but you’re not achieving the recognition you want. If what you’ve been doing for years isn’t working, it’s time to try a different approach.
Be honest, has fear been holding you back? Has fear stood in the way of speaking up or going for that speaking opportunity? Are you afraid to go for that promotion or apply to another job at a different company? Has fear stopped you from starting that business you’ve been dreaming of?
It’s time to hop off the fear train, throw caution to the wind, and take a leap of faith because let’s face it, you have nothing to lose. Doing the scary thing might not earn you instant recognition or respect, but it can show you a new path that you might not have considered.
2. Be Unflinching in Owning Your Value
When others don’t show us the respect we deserve, it can shake us to our core. If your confidence has taken a beating, you’ve got to find a way back to owning your true value. It might be as easy as giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror whenever you feel doubt creeping in.
On the other hand, you may need to find additional support. A coach can be your sounding board, instigator, and cheerleader all in one. A mentor can inspire you and teach you what you can do to leverage your inner strength. You can also mentor yourself by fast-forwarding five or 10 years into the future and asking your future self what to do.
No matter how others treat you, if you are secure in owning your value, you always have a path forward. It’s when you stop believing in yourself that you truly lose your way.
3. Write a Book
Have you ever thought about writing a book or have others suggested that you should? How do you feel when you think about being a published author? If this idea invigorates you, writing a book can be a great way to gain the respect of others in your industry.
This is especially true if not many people in your industry write books. Having a book can help you stand out in a great way!
Remember, gaining the respect you’re after is all about building a personal brand. If you think branding is only for companies and business owners, think again. All I mean by “personal brand” is building your own identity around your values.
The identity of too many Americans is intertwined with their company values or entirely dependent on their work. This leads to burnout and a lost, empty feeling in retirement. I invite you to buck this trend and writing a book can be a key component to creating your personal brand.
And if you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to write a book,” know that you don’t need to write your own book to be a published author. Working with a ghostwriter offering a collaborative process where you can explore your big idea with an incredible brainstorming partner who also happens to be a professional writer, could be exactly what you need.
Feeling disrespected within a field or niche where you’ve spent years honing your craft is frustrating. By far, the fastest way to gain the respect you deserve is to ignite your inner power and let your strength shine. And follow Steve Martin’s advice: “be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Emily Crookston is the Owner and Decider of All Things at The Pocket PhD. She’s the ghostwriter for rebels, renegades, and mavericks. She loves helping experts who are long on ideas, but short on time write business books. Find out your writer type with her Writer Profile Quiz.