Being judged on one’s own merits is generally considered a good thing. I often hear people complain about blamed for something that was caused by others, or that they weren’t in an environment that allowed their strengths to shine.
I would instead suggest that they’ve misunderstood the goal of a worker. It isn’t to be the best you, ignoring what’s around you. It is to take the world as it is, and to make it better.
I know this makes understanding each individual’s contribution much harder. When you’re successful, you can’t take all the credit. Spectacularly successful investor Warren Buffett famously recognised this in acknowledging that his talents wouldn’t have been valuable in any other place or time in history. And when you fail to add value, it is rarely all your fault.
Once you accept this, your focus becomes a more outward one. You know your skills and and what you enjoy doing – look around and think about where they can best be used:
- What kind of boss would let you perform at your best?
- What type of company would have the right opportunities to add value?
- How will you realise when you’re in a situation you are better off escaping?
Addressing these sort of questions may not change who you are or what you’re personally capable of, but they will have a big difference in what you can achieve.