Have you ever been told you’re unlikely to succeed at something or perhaps that ‘big idea’ you’ve put forward is unlikely to take off?
Welcome to the world of ‘underdog expectations’, which can be a powerful motivator in both life and your career.
But not all of us easily embrace the idea that another’s perception of our ability need not define us.
So, what does it take to overcome the bruising disbelief of others and turn it into a personal catalyst for success?
Their perception, your reality
Not all people expect us to succeed. Some think we may not have what it takes.
Some people will tell you that your idea is unlikely to take off. Others suggest that you may be in the ‘wrong marketplace’.
In most cases there is no malice in what they think; it’s just what they think and their perception may not be the reality.
But what happens when ‘we’ think or believe that others expect us to fail?
Research shows these ‘underdog expectations’ can actually motivate people to try to prove others, especially those they find less credible, wrong – leading them to work harder, build determination and ultimately perform better.
There are countless stories about underdogs being successful. There are also many public and untold tales of those who were not so successful at proving their critics wrong.
The question then becomes, what’s the difference in the approach of these two sets of people? Why do some succeed in the face of skepticism, but others can’t quite seem to overcome it?
It’s about self-belief
The difference between those who thrive in the face of underdog expectations and those who do not always seems to revolve around their belief in their own ability and developing strong self-confidence.
A driven desire ‘to prove the critics wrong’, when used and the energy channeled correctly, can become the catalyst for greater performance. It can be used as a great motivator.
It’s that internal gear which kicks up a notch with thoughts such as ‘I’ll show you’, or ‘you just watch me’.
However, when the opposite occurs – when the critics bruise your self-confidence and the seeds of doubt start to set in – that’s when you need to move fast.
Win or lose, it’s your choice
There’s a fabulous saying that ‘what others think of you is none of your business’. And it offers a nice, tidy way to push others’ perceptions by the wayside and concentrate on running your own race.
But the reality is the way others perceive you, your ability and your ideas can have an impact.
It can see you questioning your goals, your skills, and your potential.
And at this point you need to take action. Here’s how that’s done…
1. Move into action – Start with an activity you are really good at and do that.
2. Reflect on past successes – Look back at your greatest moments of success. Remember how those accomplishments made you feel and regather your thoughts.
3. It’s all about mindset – ‘Underdog expectations’ is categorically a mindset game and it’s worth noting it is always a personal game in which you are both the player and the opponent.
4. You have the control – The beauty about the underdog mindset game is that you have complete control of the outcome through the way you choose to approach a particular ‘underdog’ situation. Win or lose, it’s your choice.
Underdogs at the ready
With the first full month of 2023 now almost behind us, we have a full 11 months of the year to seize the moment, channel our energy and prove our critics wrong.
So, are you ready to confirm their expectations or show them exactly what you can do? Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat and the destination is your choice.