Do you have Tall Poppy syndrome?

Photo of a vivid red poppy against a lightly-cloudy blue skyTall Poppy syndrome is the desire to mow down those you feel are above you or head of you – those who seem more successful, wealthier, drive better cars, have nicer offices, and so forth.

It comes with a desire to not be a Tall Poppy yourself.

But there’s a big difference between arrogance and well-earned pride.

And if you find yourself wanting to cut the Tall Poppies in your life down to size, you’re probably not as confident or self-assured about your own accomplishments as you could be.

In fact, you might want to take a good long look at your achievements and give yourself credit for them.

You’ve done many things that seemed daunting when you started out… but which now, in hindsight, seem like no big deal.

You did them well, and they are a big deal.

Your skills, talents, and triumphs are important. And there’s a big gap between the arrogance of a braggart, and the invisibility of someone who thinks “Oh, it wasn’t such a big deal” and “I shouldn’t have to self-promote.”

Whether you’re an employee in a mega-corporation, or a self-employed individual practitioner, or something in between, if you want to be successful, you must let people know about your accomplishments.


You can start by not downplaying your ideas.

Eliminate “This might sound stupid, but..”, “I’m not an expert, but…”, and “Maybe this is obvious, but…” from your vocabulary.

Instead, say, “Here’s my idea!” – and say it with certainty.

Never say, “Thanks, it was nothing!” in response to a compliment on your work.

Instead, say, “Thank you! I’m really proud of the work I did!”

Don’t say, “Oh, it was all my team’s work!” (Unless, of course, you had absolutely nothing to do with it.)

Instead, say, “Thank you! I’m really proud of the work we did!”

You get the picture.

Because here’s the thing: no one else will do it for you.

No one else will notice the level of effort you put in.

No one else will be aware of just how much you’ve done over time.

Only you.

So go do it. Give yourself credit. Take credit when others give it to you – and take it with confidence and pride.

It’s not arrogance when you’ve earned it.