Are You a Tall Poppy?

The atmosphere around London throughout both the Olympics and the Paralympics has just been fantastic. Londoners have been happier and strangers have been (unusually for London!) talking, laughing and celebrating together. It’s left me with some amazing memories that I am sure will stick with me for a long time.

We would however, not have had the joy of experiencing such phenomenal athletes coming together from all corners of the globe to showcase their athletic abilities were they not able to shake of negativity and envy based criticism from others in order to stand tall and proud in representing themselves and their countries.

Standing tall and allowing one’s own talents to shine is something some of us can find pretty difficult, because it means risking being the first to be cut down – or receiving ridicule from others, ridicule which often stems from others’ insecurities.“Tall poppy syndrome”, or the criticism or attack of people on account of talents or achievements that distinguish them, is probably something you’ve been on the receiving end of yourself at some stage in your life.  Many of us experience or witness it as early as when we are children in school, getting teased for achieving top marks in class.

Unfortunately, perhaps because we’re so conditioned against it from such an early age, we start to do it to ourselves too. It may start off as defensive self-deprecation – that is, we pre-emptively talk ourselves down because we fear that other people might (for it’s easier to hear criticism from ourselves than from other people, and if we’ve already done it there’s no reason for anyone else to, eh?), or that we don’t deserve the compliment.

The problem is that when we say something often enough, we start to believe it.

We need to stop undermining ourselves and each other in this way! Like the Olympic and Paralympic athletes who have inspired us all summer, it’s time for us to get behind each other and celebrate our successes, so that we each in our own way can “inspire a generation”.


Here are my top 5 tips for standing tall and proud:

1. Adopt a positive mantra for yourself

Remember how when we say something often enough, we believe it? We can turn this to our advantage! Every morning soon after you wake up, try saying to yourself, “I can do it, and my successes will inspire others.” Repeat the mantra again any time you notice yourself putting yourself down or criticising yourself in any way.

2. Join a group

Find someone to be your cheerleader for success.  If you don’t have a friend or family member who you feel will encourage you without their own fears getting in the way, join a support group, a networking group or a social hobby group.

3. Get a life coach to help champion your successes

A coach will help you dream bigger than you can alone by helping you stop any negative thinking or limiting beliefs that may hold you back from going for your goals.

When you share your dreams with a coach you access deeper parts of your imagination and are able to explore how it would feel to already be, do and have all the things you wish to create in your life. This is an empowering experience and helps you take the inspired action required to help move you forward.

A coach will hold you accountable to the challenges you set yourself, taking you outside of your comfort zone so that you can step into your true power and share more of yourself authentically with the world.

4. Keep a journal

Sometimes when we’re having a low day it can be difficult to remember the amazing things we’ve done. Keep a journal and write down the great things you manage to do each day. Try not to edit it too much – just get it all down while you’re in the moment and hopefully when you’re having a bad day, reading it over may transport you back to the good, positive feelings of the time when you wrote down your successes. Remember it’s each of the small steps you take towards your goals that count!

5. Remain humble and celebrate others’ success

Celebrating other people’s success with grace and enthusiasm in no way diminishes your own. Quite the opposite, in fact – people will be appreciative of and grateful for your selfless support. They will also want to return the favour even more.

So! Whether you are taking small steps or giant leaps forward, stand tall and proud, and keep moving forward in the direction of your dreams.  Even the smallest action can be enough to act as a catalyst for change – the more action we take, the more our confidence and competence grows and before we know it we can find ourselves being, doing and having much more in our lives than we initially imagined.

Are you ready to stand proud as a Tall Poppy and Go for Gold?!

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