Some of the best things in life are those that money cannot buy. Friendship, love, victory and making a positive impact in the lives of others immediately come to my mind. Respect happens to be another example that definitely belongs in the same list.
Wouldn’t you agree?
We have all probably heard the phrase that “respect isn’t given and has to be earned.” That sounds like a cool quote to put on your favorite social channel on top of a nice inspirational picture….but how do you know if you have earned the respect of your professional peers?
You could just ask them, but that may be a bit awkward for both of you. The picture in my mind made me laugh out loud when I wrote that.
I have a few better ideas to figure this out and we are going to explore those now.
Sign #1: People stop questioning all of your decisions.
When I initially got going with this blog and my podcast, my entrepreneurial friends would sometimes stare at me with a perplexed, screwed up face trying to make sense out of what I was trying to do. Over time, I have settled into my groove and I see consistent growth with both, and it took a mix of time and patience to accomplish this. Everyone has their own process and the results are what we are all judged on. I have seen these same people, relax with some of the risks that I choose to take because they now respect my judgment, instincts, and execution. Right guys?
This isn’t about me though and I just wanted to share a single example from my world to paint a picture in your mind.
Think about your peers at your job, network group, or mastermind group. Do certain people get vocal about all of your ideas and decisions that you make? When I say vocal, I am not talking about getting loud but rather have an opinion or express concern about everything you do and say. Perhaps you have not earned their respect yet. With consistent action and results, you should start to see the questions subside.
Did you notice that I didn’t mention anything about what you consistently said? There is a good reason for that and it is because I want you to focus on actually doing and not telling everyone what you are going to do. Remember that words without action are simply a waste of everyone’s time, especially yours.
Sign #2: People start asking you the questions.
When you are the rookie at a company or in entrepreneurship, you should be the person asking all of the questions. If you don’t, you are missing a huge opportunity which is drawing upon the knowledge of those who came before you. I appreciate formal education very much, but I still believe that the most valuable education in life or business is the actual life experience. If you stick with anything long enough you reach a point where you have more experience and have had more learning opportunities than someone else.
Experience commands respect because there is no short cut to gain experience. It must be acquired from the process of doing and this requires an investment of time and use of the virtue of patience. There will always be questions about every career path, different industries, and the process of launching your own lean startup. When those questions are directed at you, celebrate that and do your best to make those that follow you even better prepared than you were. This is an undeniable sign that people respect you, your opinions, and ideas.
If you get annoyed by all of the questions that you get on a daily or weekly basis, perhaps this is actually a massive compliment! I challenge you to shift your perspective and see the great opportunity that you have before you to influence those around you.
Sign #3: People pay you for your answers and direction.
These signs are in this order for a reason. I see these as three levels of respect in which the way other people approach you changes dramatically. It is a good feeling when your peers start to trust your judgment and even bounce a few questions off of you now and again. I don’t think that anyone would argue with me there.
When other people are willing to pay you for your knowledge, skills, and experience you know that there is a high level of respect that goes with it. In the corporate world, I am referring to the executive coaches, consultants, and training events. In the entrepreneurial space, I am thinking about the coaches again, the authors, and the creators of the paid courses that are available to everyone.
When you are paid in any professional capacity, you are being regarded as an expert. Now some experts are definitely better than others, but that is not the point here. I know that these signs are not all inclusive for the signs that you have earned the respect of your peers, so I need some of you to add more to this list.
Let’s hear them in the comments!