Brilliance Margin: What If You’re the Only Obstacle?

by | Feb 7, 2018 | Executive Coaching

brilliance margin

In this blog, I explain, in-depth, what the Brilliance Margin is. The short version: The Brilliance Margin is a self-perceived measure of difference between your brilliance and capabilities to that of someone else. Where a Brilliance Margin exists, so does some kind of paralysis or inaction on our part because we are waiting for someone to give us permission to step into our own power and take action.

Here is a little secret about what happens in most of my coaching sessions with clients. Inevitably, we uncover that the main obstacle in the way of having the lives, careers, and leadership prowess they desire is themselves. You read that right.

You may very well be the only obstacle separating you from your greatest desires. Let that sink in for a second.

I’m not saying we are all a bunch of self-sabotagers. However, I can tell you from spending thousands of hours with adults who are in growth and self-development mode that many of us are waiting for some kind of permission.

Before I hit it big in my career and landed my first global executive job, I nearly worked myself in the ground to get there. It wasn’t uncommon for me to work between 60-70 hours a week (for months at a time), all in an effort to prove my capability and readiness for that next step in my career. I watched the executives ahead of me and shaped my efforts so that I could become more like them. I put them on a pedestal.

What I now understand in looking back was that in almost every effort I was—even if mostly subconsciously—looking for someone to tell me that my work was great, that I was smart and creative and on track for great things. I had every indication in my career that all of those things were true, but in my heart and mind I was really waiting for someone to tell me, “Tegan, you did it. You are READY. It’s time for you to be the executive.”  

That realization occured to me only after my first executive job, and it struck me like a lightning bolt that there had been a few opportunities that could have come faster and a feeling of greater joy in my achievements had I truly and consciously been granting myself the approval and permission rather than hoping for it to come from people I perceived to be so much more brilliant than myself.

Someone shared a powerful quote with me the other day that aligns closely with the Brilliance Margin: “You will simply never get enough of the things you don’t need.”

If you stop and get still and real with yourself for a minute, what in your life can you simply not get enough of? Ask yourself if you really need it, or are you perhaps never going to have enough of this thing because you simply do not need it?  

Are you in need of permission?

If so, from who and for what? You do not need permission to be the person you are, to do the work you want to do, or live the way you want to live. It is only—and has always only been—up to you.

Are you in need of acknowledgment?

We all love to hear that we’ve done a good job, but if you need validation in order to feel valuable, then you’re not looking in the right place. It all begins with self-acknowledgment. If you are constantly hungering for approval, dig a little deeper to get to the root of why.

Are you in need of approval?

We all seek approval, whether we are aware of it or not. From our bosses, our friends, our family, our digital audience, to our partners—and even our kids. If you are seeking approval, it’s important to understand the source. Are you not stimulated enough at work? Do you need more attention—either from yourself or loved ones? Are you constantly giving approval in hopes of receiving it back?

Are you looking for an indication that you are ready or enough?

So many of us talk about timing. “Oh, the timing’s not right,” you say, when you are itching to make a move, start a new business, or take an immense risk. We’ve been told to weigh the pros and cons, to stick with the status quo because it’s easier. Easier doesn’t mean better. Wherever you are, whatever you want to do, you are enough.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, know this: You’ll never have enough permission, acknowledgement, approval or readiness because YOU DO NOT NEED IT.

You already have permission.

You are acknowledged.

You have approval.

You are ready.

Because you say so. Nobody else.

Life + Leadership with Tegan Trovato podcast cover

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