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Censor less to be original

I remember my early days at my first corporate job when I had an enthusiasm and curiosity akin to an ambitious and motivated management student. I never hesitated to voice my opinions. I had my hands raised asking questions at statements made by my CEO.

I spoke and interacted with any of my colleagues ignorant of the fact that tresspassing the hierachies was making the department heads suspicious and insecure. It took me a couple of negative feedbacks and self-realization over a period of 12 months to tone down and get accustomed to the norms of a corporate work culture.

I learnt that making a point is not important if you are not asked to make one. Yet, I kept doing this. I did get appreciated but subtly. I learned to practise restraint. I tried my best to remain silent at team meetings. I preferred to take notes with my head down looking at points noted. My mind though raced to critique, suggest, and question. I felt there is always a ‘better way’ but what could it be. But I rarely voiced my opinion until asked to.

Today I have gained a total work experience of around 14 years in corporate working closely with entrepreneurs. I do not carry the same inquisitiveness as I did at my first job but I do carry the rigour, deep diving into business needs to get the best outcome achieved.

I have changed jobs over disagreement and also stayed back on being convinced to do so. I believe the success mantra is very well documented by Adam Grant in his book, “Originals”. An extract from his book that relates to my own experience is shared below:

“Although one ultimately chose voice and other opted to exit, there’s one way in which their choices were the same: they chose to speak up rather than stay silent. And in the long run, research ahows that mistakes we regret are not errors of commission, but errors of omission. If we could do things over, most of us would censor ourselves less and express our ideas more. That’s exactly what Carmen Medina and Donna Dubinsky did, and it left them with few regrets.”

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