Just as many have inspired me, I continue to encourage others to take permission to do the things they want to in life. To pick themselves instead of waiting for others to select them. Despite my belief in that approach to life, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it feels good to be picked every now and then. It had been a long time since I was picked for anything and even then it was more of a “selected amongst those who applied” situation, and I don’t say that in a “poor me” sense. Most of the time, opportunity related transactions commence when we make our interest known.

Think about the last time you were selected for something. Odds are that it started with an application process. We asked to be considered by a decision-making body. I remember how good it felt to be picked by a sports team as a young adult. To see my name on the final team roster meant everything. I remember how good it felt to be accepted by a college. Opening those envelopes brought so much anxiety and so much elation when the news was positive. My wife accepting my marriage proposal remains one of the happiest days of my life. In cases such as these, we initiate the process by asking to be considered for selection. I am currently going through the process of selecting the best-qualified applicant for a vacancy in our organization. We will choose the right one from the pool of applicants. My family is also selecting the first awardee of the Erik Heritage Memorial Scholarship at our high school. Again, we selected from the applicant pool. Being selected from any applicant pool is a great feeling, but why limit our selection only to those who applied?

Readers of this blog and those who know me are well aware of the fact that I have long prided myself with a philosophy that I need not the validation of another to feel good about how I live my life. I need not be amongst the selected to be who I am and have reason to smile. I am far from a rebel, but I am who I am and I have far more interest in being my authentic self than I do in pretending to be something I am not to appease the critics. I have grown to become my toughest critic, so if I am able to meet my expectations I am doing OK (not necessarily great, but OK). That said, I was recently reminded how nice it feels to be picked.

Please note that I did not say selected. Being selected feels great too and I have been fortunate to be selected by people and for opportunities that mean(t) a great deal to me. The key difference for me between being selected and being picked is the application process. We are selected from the applicant pool; we are picked without necessarily applying.

Recently, I was picked for a significant opportunity, one that I did not expect and, quite honestly, never imagined. What I was picked for is not relevant, but the feeling I had was a little unsettling and the reason I feel compelled to write about it. I did not ask to be considered for this opportunity and I did not know that it was even a possibility. Even if I had known there was a possibility, I doubt that I would have been bold enough to apply given the pre-requisites.

As good as it feels to be amongst the selected, odds are that the feeling pales in comparison to the one we get when we are picked. All too often we wait for someone to apply or ask before we select them or say “Yes” to their request.  When we recruit our proteges, pick our co-workers, or identify our partners, we flip the model. We initiate the transaction. We tell them that we value their HOW and appreciate WHO they are (or who we believe they will become) rather than wait for them to ask for our validation. I have long made picking others a deliberate part of my modus operandi in large part because it feels good to pick others. I can once again freely admit that being amongst the picked every now and then feels almost as good.

  • When was the last time you picked someone?
  • Do you wait to make a selection from an applicant pool?
  • Are you giving others reason to pick you?