You may have experienced this (or might have seen someone go through this situation) – you are on to something big and need a LOT of help but even people who have known you for a while are not actively supporting you in your quest. They seem to listen to everything and say encouraging words about your adventure but when it comes to doing something, they shy away from it.
It bothers you because you have known these people for a LONG time and these are some people that you would totally expect 100% support from. They should be the ones that should fully understand your potential and lend their hand.
What could be wrong?
As part of my mini-research, I talked to dozens of people who have been through this situation. My quest was to find a pattern and use that understanding to see how smart people can get unstuck when they are faced with such a situation.
While I could find a number of reasons, none of them could be as strong as the burden of the story gap. Let me share this in detail below and follow that up with a few ideas to relieve yourself of that burden.
The Burden of the Story Gap
There is a difference between
a) Your true potential
b) Your potential as perceived by your core group
Pick a time a few years ago when both (a) and (b) were approximately at the same level. For this example, let’s take a snapshot of time five years ago. Your core group of friends have probably watched you from close quarters and have seen you accomplish things. It was NOT difficult for them to assess your potential based on the results you are producing.
BUT, there was a limitation.
What they could not see was what you were doing when you were not around them. The investment you were making in yourself to grow an become better. Everyone grows but you decide to invest disproportionately more in yourself than what the average professionals will invest in themselves to learn and grow. Naturally, your growth trajectory is different from what you see with average professionals.
In a span of few years, your potential is at a level that’s vasty superior to that of the average professionals around you.
You know it and you can feel it.
There is a gap.
It’s the story gap between your true potential and your potential as perceived by your core group.
It seems like common for your core group to assume a traditional growth path for you because that’s what they are seeing in everyone else around you. To add to that, you DON’T have superior accomplishments to prove to them otherwise. You have the competence, capacity and drive to get there and that’s where you need help but without those superior accomplishments, they don’t have enough reasons for them to believe that you are indeed DIFFERENT. It’s a catch-22 situation.
As long as there is a story gap, you will get support for your projects that they believe could be achieved by your “perceived potential” and not those that can be accomplished through your true potential.
What can you do now?
Simply stated, you need to bridge the story gap for them start seeing your true potential.
Here are some ways to get started:
1. Progressive Micro and Mini-Accomplishments Along the Way:
Your ambitions may be sky-high but you get there step by step, via micro and mini accomplishments along the way. Preparation is very important but upi have to provide a way for people to say that you are on a different trajectory of growth as compared to others.
2. Extend Valuable Help
An act of valuable help not only is good for those that got that help but it’s also good for YOU. Whatever skills you are providing valuable help with are the skills that you are strengthening. When you provide that kind of help time and again, you win in the short-term and the long-term
3. Tell Your Story vis Lessons Learned
This is about not simply telling your story but the lessons learned as you went on a meaningful quest. Simply telling your story is akin to tooting your own horn. When you extract the lessons from your various quests, your story turns into a gift – an education for those that are thinking of similar paths.
Remember that those that know for a long time have a certain view about you and only YOU and YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS can bridge the story gap.
This article is part of the book called “Smart, but Stuck | When being brilliant is not good enough…“