For many years now I have asked groups of people in my talks and workshops to give themselves a score out of 10 when I make this statement: I am on fire and my work is remarkable.
And the average is a 7 … ALWAYS a 7. They tell me it won’t be a 7 in New York, but it’s a 7. It’s always a 7. Without exception. That’s because we have created a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, being different, and being at odds with the group.
Nobody wants to be a 10 or a 4. Because the cardinal sin in the corporate cubicles and boardrooms is to be at odds with the group. The person who scores himself a 10 is labelled “arrogant”. The person who scores herself a 4 is labelled “loser”. Not literally, or to their face, but everyone is thinking it — and everyone knows everyone else is thinking it.
The comfort zone is your default setting
And so a 7/10 is the default setting. The comfort zone. Everyone in the room has been conditioned to prefer fitting in than standing out. Everyone in the room has been seduced into being invisible. Everyone in the room is there to do someone else’s bidding, not to speak their truth. The comfort zone.
And the first thing I tell them is, “Stop living your life with the handbrake on!“