I read an article somewhere this holiday season that said "It's such a relief when you don't have to prove yourself to be the smartest person in the room." (true to the sentiment, I wrote down the quote but not the source... lol)
Which reminded me of how I am asking myself a few questions before I open my mouth at meetings and events. (Well, at least I'm trying harder to do this...)
I ask myself:
* Do folks really need to know what I think or should I just be listening?
* Is it more important for me to show off or shut up?
* Will I be contributing or just trying to show I know what they know?
* Can I make anyone else look good by my contribution or my silence?
Being smart and having to show you're smart are two different beasts. I've finally realized that folks can see we're intelligent without us having to jump into conversations all the time. (Sometimes we might even look cleverer staying silent!)
Helping others express themselves, get credit for ideas and showcase their talents reflects just as well on you as taking the limelight yourself.
Most importantly, it's hard work to always take the lead and appear at the top of your game. Relax. After all, the smartest people know how to make mistakes!