Monthly Archives: November 2015

Drop Modesty

Modesty helps in social interactions. It takes boldness to achieve great things.

Modesty helps in social interactions, but it takes boldness to achieve great things.

Drop modesty.

That’s Rule #1 separating “those who do versus those who might have done,” according to Richard Hamming, a mathematician and computer science pioneer.

While his observations dealt with scientists who wanted to do Nobel-Prize-type work, Hamming’s “rules” might apply equally to anyone who wants to succeed in any field, including the coaches and consultants who use Instant Teleseminar to grow their practices.

You can read more about Hamming’s rules here, but the basic idea is that there’s little variation in the pure intelligence of scientists (or coaches). What varies are attitudes and work habits, and the result over time is a massive difference in career achievement.

I’ve personally interacted with thousands of our customers online. I’ve also met hundreds at various conferences over the years, and my experience is similar: many of our customers are much too modest when discussing their past achievements as well as their future goals.

What’s Your “Modesty Measure”?

Of course, this is all subjective: there’s no direct measure of modesty (or boldness). But there are indicators that can be compared vis-à-vis your peers. For example, there’s what your price says about you. There’s how many affiliates you recruit for your affiliate program to promote your events, and how many people show up for your events. There’s also what you set out to accomplish in terms of transformed lives, in taking on the most challenging problems in your field, in innovating, persisting, and overcoming obstacles.

But modesty and perceptions of modesty are also social in nature, and that’s what makes it complicated. In social situations, modesty makes people more likable. And research confirms that those who are modest in their social interactions–particularly at the beginning of their careers–are more likely to gain the support of their more experienced peers and managers.

The Feminine Modesty Effect

It gets even more complicated if you’re female. Social psychology researchers who study career and professional advancement have widely investigated a phenomenon that’s come to be known as the “feminine modesty effect,” namely, that women tend to downplay their achievements relative to men in their interactions with both men and women. The overall result can have negative consequences for women’s careers.

At the same time,  other researchers find that women who behave more like men in portraying their own achievements can be seen as “less likable and socially skilled” by both male and female peers, potentially damaging their ability to advance within a corporate hierarchy. So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, with no easy answers.

Social Modesty, Personal Boldness

Fortunately, most of the coaches, entrepreneurs, and marketers who use Instant Teleseminar are operating outside of traditional corporate structures. Still, gaining the support of more experienced peers and affiliates requires tact and networking prowess. The most successful marketers find ways to meet and socialize with others in their niche who can help their careers along directly or make introductions to those who can, and modesty along with trustworthiness and credibility all play roles in the process.

So this isn’t about becoming arrogant or a braggart. It’s about being bold and setting out to make your work truly world-class. And in the world of teleseminars and coaching, that means rising to the top of your field, finding innovative solutions to the most significant problems, gaining the respect of your peers, and transforming thousands–or even millions–of lives.