From ‘I’ to ‘We’: Reshaping The Narrative Of Achievement

Have you ever found yourself gaping at the audacity of some folks who hog the limelight, shamelessly scribbling their names on the marquee for a group gig?

Yeah, me too. It’s like watching a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat and claim he invented rabbits. You’re there, jaw on the floor, wondering if you’re the only one seeing this sleight of hand.

You know the feeling. That slow burn when “I did this” echoes around, and you think, “Hold up, weren’t we a team?”

It’s not just you. This phenomenon, where the “we” gets swapped for an “I,” is a real head-scratcher. And boy, doesn’t it sting when you’re on the side of the collective effort?

The Spotlight Stealers: The “I” in Team

I recall an incident many moons ago where a senior colleague received a congratulatory call from the top boss for a challenging assignment. Pulling it off successfully was a big challenge for the entire team. My colleague who led the show replied how tough it was for him to execute the job. He did not mention the team that had stretched themselves to make it successful.

Navigating the murky waters of credit-grabbing can feel like walking through a hall of mirrors. At every turn, you see distorted reflections of the truth.

If you do what I do for a living, “we” always supersedes “I.” If you still pepper your speech or writing about workplace achievements with the latter, you appropriate credit that’s not yours alone. And that’s grossly unfair.

Yet, we see many around us do that.

Broadly, there are two kinds of dishonesty — those who lie within their workplace, company, or surroundings and those who spread misinformation outside.

Years ago, I was invited to meet the top boss of a large media company looking to grow its business. She asked me for specifics about a few projects I had led at the time. During our conversation, I found out she had met one of my team members who had given her most of the details but made one change while recounting the facts. He had replaced me with himself.

Driving home that evening after work, I wondered how anyone could do that. “Don’t they know the truth will come out at some point? How can they twist the facts without worrying about being found out?”

“I guess they don’t care,” I concluded.

Betrayal? Sure, it doesn’t taste delightful. It’s a cocktail of frustration and disbelief. But dwelling on these acts of narrative thievery is not worth your time.

Yes, the sting is natural when a credit heist blindsides you. But guess what? The truth has a way of boomeranging back. It’s like leaving breadcrumbs; eventually, they lead back to the truth.

So, what’s the play here? Lean in close because this is the game-changer:

Keep doing you. Build those castles, make magic happen, and let your work do the talking. The fact-finders, those intrepid truth-seekers? They’ll connect the dots.

From Soloists to Symphony: The Power of “We”

But here’s the clincher: We need more voices in the chorus singing the tune of integrity and collective achievement. It’s time to shift the narrative from “I did” to “We achieved.”

And you? You’re the conductor.

Let’s not just raise the bar; let’s reinvent it. Celebrate the collective, shine a light on every contributor, and make the ensemble the show’s star. Because when we lift each other, we all soar higher.

March forward, armed with the conviction that every voice matters and every effort counts. In the grand orchestra of success, every note is pivotal. And remember, next time you hear a soloist taking credit for a symphony, smile.

As you know, the finest melodies are those sung by a choir.

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