I’ve told you before of my membership in a top secret graphic design mafia. A group of great graphic designers invited me to their group and I gladly accepted. But here’s the thing: I don’t really belong in the group. I’m not a great graphic designer. They’re phenomenal.
There will be times you don’t belong. You’ll find yourself among friends or networks that are far out of your league. This is a necessary element of success, because they’ll stretch your mind and skills far beyond where they’d get on your own. If you’ve never been somewhere you don’t belong, you definitely need to start.
But here’s the important bit of info about things like this. Ya, you don’t belong. But there’s no reason for you to act like you don’t belong. Too many approach situations like this in a self effacing way. They might even mention they don’t belong. They might, out of insecurity, look for folks to pat them on the back and tell them they belong. And they might get a few affirming pats. But ultimately they won’t be staying in the group. Nobody wants to be around folks that are desperately insecure and always looking for compliments.
So here’s how I approach being somewhere I don’t belong. I add value to whatever group I’m in. I look for ways to serve those “out of my league”. How can I add value to their lives and to this group? How can I encourage or resource this group?
Get over that feeling that you don’t belong. You may have stumbled accidentally into a group of folks, but there’s no reason you don’t belong there. As soon as you start adding value to a group, you belong. Don’t let that insecure voice keep you from reaping the benefit of being around folks that are far out of your league.