Look folks, I'm no mega-star, but from time-to-time, I get invited to some pretty high-falutin' events.
Two such gatherings took place over the past month; one the booklaunch of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's memoirs, the other an A-list black-tie affair to launch McGill University's ambitious $750 million capital campaign.
And at both events, despite my natty dress and best behavior, despite my achievements with Airborne and Just For Laughs, I was met with this following reaction (from a power lawyer at the former and from the illustrious wife of a higher-up at the latter): a twist of the nose, an adjusting of eyeglasses, followed by the somewhat incredulous words
"What are YOU doing here?"
First of all, whatever happened to a simple "So nice to see you!" followed by a smile ?
But I digress...
The important lesson here is not one of social grace, but of Surprise. People obviously see me more at home in torn jeans at a White Stripes concert than in a tux at a chi-chi fundraiser (in fact, some people still have trouble believing I own a tie). No prob; if that indeed is my Personal Brand, so be it.
But being underestimated is the friend of Surprise; it sets the bar low, and allows one to make an even greater impact once he or she stands out.
In fact, I'd MUCH rather be met with a "What are you doing here?" than a yawning "Oh, you again..."
Great Surprise stories--in sports, business, anywhere there is adversity and the chance of triumph against the odds--are written by Underdogs...not by Overcats.
And being underestimated is the Underdog's jet fuel.
So grow your skin thick, and drink up!
The world is waiting for you to show them exactly what you are doing here.