A father, before he died, said to his son: “This is a watch your grandfather gave me and it is more than 200 years old. Before I give it to you, go to the watch shop on the first street and tell him I want to sell it and see how much he offers you”. He went and then came back to his father and said, “The watchmaker offered 5 dollars because it’s old”.
He then said to him: “Go to the coffee shop, and ask there”. He went and then came back and said: “He offered $5, father”.
“Go to the museum and show that watch”, his father said. He went then came back and said to his father, “They offered me a million dollars for this piece”.
The father said: “I wanted to let you know that the right place values you in the right way. Don’t find yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you are not valued. Those that know your value are those who appreciate you – don’t stay in a place where nobody sees your value”.
In Your Workplace, Are You Seen As Just An Old Watch That Has Little Value?
Do you feel valued in your workplace? If not, why do you stay there? Why wouldn’t you move to where your expertise is valued?
In my work, especially as a mentor, I constantly talk with people who don’t feel valued at work. What keeps them there, however, is a doubt about their own ability. Part of them believes they are making a valuable contribution, but because no one actually acknowledges it, they then feel that maybe they are not as valuable as they think. They rely on the people around them to validate them. Because that doesn’t happen, they then fear to go elsewhere, feeling they have nothing to offer. They “lay around” in their workplace and become jaded, “old” and worn like the watch of the old man and what’s underneath is not seen.
Many of these people I mentor have real value to offer but it’s not being recognised for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes unconscious bias operates. You are perceived to not have value because you are old, or you are young, You are a woman,You have a disability. Or maybe you are Muslim. Sometimes it is because your organisation has a culture where no one has their value recognised. Whatever the reason, we need to be asking the right people about our value and what we have to offer. They are the ones who will tell us we are worth $1 million dollars, that you are valued in your workplace.
Mentoring Validates Your Experience.
That’s one of the great things about mentoring. It validates you even while it challenges. If it is one-on-one mentoring, the mentor does that, but if it is group mentoring, a whole group of like-minded, equally motivated people share their experience with you and you find it validating yours.
So if you want to discover your real value, ask the right people. A mentor is one of those people.
Remember what the old man said: “Don’t find yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you are not valued”.
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