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If you’ve ever felt like you don’t get the attention or respect you deserve from the people who know you well, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve even heard the saying that no one is a prophet in their own land? The phrase has it’s origins in Luke 4:24 meaning that this phenomenon is by no means new. The basic idea is that people take for granted the things they’re familiar with.

This can take many forms including when you tell a loved one about a restaurant you want to go to, only for them to dismiss you. Then, later that same loved one may come back telling you about how they want to go to that same restaurant because their friend told them it was great. If you’re laughing because this has happened to you, you’re not alone. It’s so common that we’ve all probably experienced one or both sides of it yet, yet it can be exceptionally hard to defeat.

 

Applications in Education
The same thing frequently happens in education when one educator tells another about a new idea or strategy. Sometimes it may feel like the idea or strategy gets dismissed before the sentence is complete.

It can drive you bonkers because you’re pretty sure that what you’re sharing is worthwhile, if you’d only be taken seriously. It can sow seeds of doubt that make you question whether others are right for not taking you seriously. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic spell to make this reality go away. However, I do have a couple pieces of advice for you:

  • Realize that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and there’s a good chance that the people who doubt you also feel that way because they’re often the ones being doubted.
  • Consider sharing what you’re doing in other ways. For example, if you’ve got great lesson ideas and strategies, consider posting them on social media or presenting them at a conference. Doing this has several great results including:
    • it will give you valuable feedback that’s less biased, help you determine your ideas’ worth, and help you refine your ideas.
    • the next time someone doubts you, you’ll have a reserve of memories you can go back to to help you find balance and realize that it’s not you.
    • it may also cause people to give your ideas a second look when they see that others like them too.

 

Conclusion
I hope that me sharing this helps you realize that you’re pretty normal for feeling this way. I’m not saying that it should make you any less frustrated. Just that you’re not alone.

If this has happened to you before, I’d love to know what saying you use to describe this phenomenon or any other suggestions you have for defeating it. Please let me know in the comments.


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13 Comments

  1. My antidote to the feeling of me or my ideas being overlooked or worse is to remind my self of the following saying,

    “…don’t go fishing where the fish don’t bite…”

    For many years I did n’t understand what this meant but then years later I suddenly did.

  2. There is a lot of what I term “Math Damage” out there. People misplace the tag of fear by placing it on Math, but I have come to understand largely folks don’t fear Math – they fear failure, and the majority of the folks who doubt more progressive mathematics are truly afraid to fail. Especially in front of students. The odd thing is that is a space where we can teach so many great things – productive struggle, perseverance, problem solving, critical thinking, etc.

    Understanding where the doubt comes from, honoring it and then helping someone overcome it with patience is the key to its defeat. I look at some of the teachers I work with as the frogs in a cold pot, I warm the pot up gradually with simple positive interactions with different mathematical experiences. Warming them up to math a little at a time so they don’t even notice. Of course, I will take them off the heat before they are cooked. ; )

  3. I have been told constantly I’m wrong or my ideas are crazy or they would never work. I swear something I am advocating for now will be the way it’s done 10 years from now.

    Finally I just stopped waiting on people to believe in me and started focusing on believing in myself. Best decision I ever made. By a long shot.

    • It can be very hard to reconcile the way others see us with what we know to be true about ourselves. I’m glad you bet on yourself.

  4. I have this same issue with a lifelong business partner. If I tell him an idea no matter how grand or trivial he dismisses it. I’ve learned that I have to tell him that I saw another guy doing this idea on social media and he’s making a killing doing this or that then he’s all ears on the idea. Even when it was an idea I floated months earlier as my idea.

  5. I suggested several times, to the Board, the need to get more members involved and active. Always met with, “We tried that, and it didn’t work.” Meaning they were happy with the status quo. Now, years later, they are having trouble getting members to run for office; not enough active members. The chapter is going downhill fast. And no one remembers my suggestions.

  6. I always love it when you surface an idea and it is summarily dismissed and then someone is hired from the outside, comes into the organization, and make that same suggestion and they are viewed as a superstar 🙂

  7. In over 25 years of experience between consulting for IBM, Capgemini and a variety of management positions with national brand companies, I have discovered that the best approach in gaining adoption of your ideas is as follows…
    Be selective in finding a person that is a trusted advisor within the organization where you are engaged. Devote your time in incrementally sharing ideas and the expected value propositions/ outcomes associated with them. Build trust and work with that person and their team to implement the foundational parts. Once you are able to successfully demonstrate the outcome values, you will have a trusted advisor that will enable you to leverage what I call P3… “Positive Peer Pressure”. Your new approach in presenting your ideas are to let go and let the trusted advisor that you have established speak for how they implemented the ideas and the outcomes/value they achieved. It’s much easier to have a person who didn’t have the idea speak for it’s value versus a prophet in his/her own land trying to convince people of their point of view.

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