Feb 092014

Tall Poppy

If you are a Kiwi you’ll know all about the “tall poppy syndrome.” It’s when standing out, being really different and achieving is put down. Celebrating other people’s success is okay, but you would be up yourself or whakahihi if you are outwardly proud of your own. New Zealanders have been infamous for the tall poppy syndrome.

The indoctrination begins in early life, when kids are told that they should be seen and not heard. Good kids are those who are compliant and don’t draw attention to themselves beyond the degree to which their parents, family or peer groups can tolerate. Children, and adults, who are too different, too assertive or too successful for others can be branded attention seekers, teacher’s pet, loud mouths or accused of brown-nosing.

Kiwi or not, have you experienced being cut down for being a tall poppy, and standing out too much? Are you hiding how capable you are so you will blend in?

How is keeping small impacting on your life? Are your relationships, money flows, self-worth and energy levels growing easily or do you feel constricted in these areas?

Would you like to have more ease with making other people uncomfortable simply because you are different? Not that you want them to be uncomfortable, it’s just that is how some people choose to react to others realizing their dreams.

Here are 6 ways to help you keep your chin up  regardless of green-eyed envy or rotten tomatoes thrown your way:

  • When the poppy choppers rear up, be vulnerable. Receiving judgments from anyone without resisting or reacting or aligning and agreeing, frees us from having to tippy toe around people or expend energy defending ourselves. Regardless of high praise or spiteful criticism, keep being you and be open to receiving new awarenesses.
  •  Chi-ching! Yes, ‘chi-ching’ is the sound of your cash flows growing as you simply see judgment coming your way and have no point of view about it. How does this work? Well, when we resist and react, or align and agree with someone’s point of view, we actually contract what’s possible for us, including our money flows. Say for example, you might be promoted to a senior position at work ahead of people who thought they were better qualified or more experienced. They are not happy with you. You feel judged and you begin to stop mixing with colleagues or attending work events to avoid the bad vibes. You start to doubt your capabilities. “Maybe they were right?” you start to think (aligning and agreeing) or “I’ll show them!” You may make it your life mission to make them “suck eggs” i.e. take back their words. That’s resisting and reacting. Neither response is wrong just they narrow down your awareness of other possibilities.
  • A more powerful possibility would be to ask questions: What’s right about this I’m not getting? What would it take for this to work far better than I (and they) can imagine? What would I be or do different if I wasn’t concerned about people’s judgments?
  •  Be grateful for the naysayers. Being willing to receive any judgments and you will be more potent and your money flows will expand. Think of celebrities and politicians. They are showered with praise and derision every day. And they don’t take the criticism to heart (most of the time). And not incidentally their bank accounts tend to be healthier than most people’s. So remember, ‘chi-ching’, and keep on rocking!
  •  Don’t waste your energy trying to figure out people’s judgments of you. What if other people’s points of view are actually none of your business? How much drama do we create in our heads re-enacting the story or pondering a future encounter? Use this tool:  Say “Interesting point of view that they have that point of view.” You can even use this tool in a conversation if someone is blowing you raspberries. The key is to say it without a charge. Just acknowledge their point of view.
  •  Be true to you. Being different is not wrong. If you are aware that others’ are judging you for who you are, especially as kids, we can start to shut down our uniqueness. Ask: What have I made wrong about me that is actually a talent, or ability that I’ve been unwilling to acknowledge? What would change if I did acknowledge these talents and abilities and what’s unique about me?

So shoulders back and stand proud. It’s okay to stand out in the crowd. Be the Tall Poppy you truly be. In fact, I dare you to!

Have you experienced the tall poppy syndrome? Did you align and agree with the criticism or defend against it? Have you downplayed your abilities to blend in? Have  you used the tool “Interesting Point of View” or another tool to keep going? What did that create for you?

Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear what worked for you.

  4 Responses to “Beyond The Tall Poppy Syndrome”

  1. How amazing is this? Right at a time when I was asking ‘what’s right about this’ (situation that I am involved in)… voila… I see this post from the amazing Patina…. how gifted are you beautiful Patina? Thank you for the contribution you be to me!

    • Thanks for commenting Te Rina. You are welcome. Yes, it seems to be flavour of the month – I’ve had a few people lately tell me that they know it’s time to come out of hiding and feeling awkward about doing so, or that they are feeling judged for being different. Hence this blog piece. It’s all as significant as we choose to make it. Chi-ching, chi-ching, chi-ching! Kia kaha tatou!

  2. I think I need to print this out and put it on my wall. After years of unconscious absorption it might take some re reads of these tips. I’m so glad you shared your gift of writing, Patina and offering the notion that you don’t need to accept or defend oneself from the onslaught, but to just be. This is freeing in itself. Kia ora e te tuakana.

    • Nga mihi, Hinerangi. “Be you, change the world,” as we say with Access Consciousness. When we choose to be us without being bound by what others’ may think, we experience the freedom that comes with it, real magic can happen and we really do change the world. How does it get any better than that?

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