Why Proving How Smart You Are is a Waste of Time

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Let’s face it: you’re smart.

I mean, if you’re reading this blog, not only are you smart…you obviously have excellent taste.

But in conversations, presentations and pitches, if you are spending any time trying to convince people how smart you are, you’re wasting your time. You’re not owning your expertise and using it in a positive way – you’re seeking something that doesn’t serve anyone (not even yourself).

There’s one question you have to answer, and it’s not, “How smart are you?”
Do you want to know what it is?


There’s a question that goes beyond your experience, your past, your history and your title. That question centers on your value proposition – not on the value you created in 2006, or 1994, but on the value you are able to create right now.

So many times when we present our ideas, our brands and our solutions, we focus on ‘establishing credibility’. What happens to your story, when your credibility is a given?

There’s something more important than what accomplished. Something deeper and more engaging than your history. Something that’s more relevant, more “right now” than anything you’ve ever done before.

I recently shared this article by Tom Searcy on LinkedIn, from Entrepreneur Magazine. The article, “Is Sales a Dying Art?” was provocative – and someone in one of my linkedin groups was provoked:

Life After the Death of Sales - 1

At first I almost thought that Gunga Din was trying to punk the group. But, nope, he was serious. He kept going.

Life After the Death of Sales-2

You may look at this thread and laugh. It’s kinda silly, and kinda sad. But it illustrates an extreme example of how your past is not really a fountain of credibility, no matter how much you’ve achieved.

What’s the difference between trying to establish your credibility, and demonstrating it…right now? No matter who your audience is (your boss, your employees, your board of directors or even your family members) there are a few things that nobody gives flying _____ about, and here they are:

  • Your well-thought-out agenda
  • Your past accomplishments
  • Your LinkedIn profile (it’s a career graveyard, after all)
  • When you started doing the thing that makes you an expert, and deserving of your title (whatever it may be)
  • How impressive you are – or aren’t. Bravado is never the answer.

Focusing on the past as a means to establish credibility is a hobby for small minds. Trust trumps experience, and your ability to create something in the future is much more important than the achievements in your past.

Sure, your certifications, accolades and accomplishments are important. But: important to who, exactly? Are you trying to earn respect, or create a real solution? Because impressing someone isn’t the same as serving them, leading them, or helping them.

Focus on the outcome that matters most, and the details that move your agenda forward – instead of touring the past in hopes that it will create a new future.

It won’t.

Creating something new is always up to you – are you ready to get started?

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