Being Chosen is Risky Business (OPINION)

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 112 views 

It seems like only a short time ago when I was playing games in the field in the back of our house with the neighborhood kids. Being the younger sibling (by two years), my brother was always the coolest kid on the block, especially.

When it was time to choose sides to play games, I remember how painful it was to stand there and wait to be chosen. But when I was finally chosen, I was both thrilled and nervous. The pressure was on, to prove myself worthy of being chosen this time and worthy of a higher seating in future team selections. It was risky business both for the team captain who bestowed the honor and for me who accepted the challenge.

Some of you have lived for the day you would be chosen. You wanted it so badly you could hardly wait. You believe you deserved the opportunity or recognition.

Others simply see yourself as just a regular person, working hard and simply doing your best to provide for your family and fulfill your personal aspirations. You didn’t think you were doing anything extraordinary. And then, you were chosen, promoted, asked to take on a new position or a new challenge, to move across the country for a greater opportunity, to step up, to be honored in a unique way.

Regardless, once you are chosen, your life will never be the same. Some of you will change for the better; some for the worse. Some of you will argue that being chosen doesn’t really change you at all.

When you are chosen a couple of things happens. First, others will see you differently. Sometimes that’s due to the new role or position. Sometimes it’s due to the gravity of the honor.

Then, there are those who wonder what you did to deserve the recognition or promotion at all. Don’t forget those who are waiting to see if you can live up to the recognition, who are asking whether you can prove yourself worthy, or if you will embarrass everyone, including yourself.

You will also see yourself differently. Some of you will see yourself as finally getting the recognition you deserve. You swell up with pride and eat up all the applause and recognition, wondering what took them so long to get around to you, all the while putting on the humble, defacing front, because who really likes an egomaniac, right?

Some of you are humbled that you are being recognized, believing that there are others so much more worthy of the honor, or who could do the job so much better than you. Then, there are those who will think that nothing much has actually changed at all, and they would be sadly mistaken.

Being chosen requires that you answer several questions — What will you do now that you have been chosen? What does this mean to you and what will you do with your new status? How will you live up to this honor or responsibility? How will you manage all this attention? How does this change what is now expected of you, and are you ready for those expectations? How will you engage the naysayers who believe that this promotion or honor has been misplaced? How will you handle yourself should you fail to live up to the expectations?

How you answer these questions will say as much or more about you than the honor and recognition you received that raised them in the first place, and may even help mitigate the risks associated with it.

Congratulations on being recognized in this issue. 

Tony Hawk is an executive coach and owner of Resources for Leading, ( an organizational development firm in Bentonville. He can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 479-366-7692.