You read of the careers of others and wonder: How did this person do it? That question is especially painful if the individual or celebrity seems to possess little talent aside from a flair for self-promotion.
But therein may be the answer. You can't hide in your room and wait to be discovered. Your brilliance—and I know many of you are truly bright—will mean little if no one outside of your immediate circle knows about it. What is odd is how often both the undiscovered and the screeners—think upper management, recording and movie studios, and publishers—believe in the same pixie dust: that through some mysterious process, talent will be recognized.
You have to make yourself discoverable. Forget all of that tripe about the world beating a path to your door if you invent a better mousetrap. The world is consumed by subjects other than discovering genius.
Becoming discoverable, however, requires that you do what people who get discovered do. Join and participate in professional groups, serve on committees, give speeches, and break your pattern of seclusion. If you're shy, adjust your strategy so your skills can come out in less stressful venues, such as writing articles or participating with smaller groups.
Preparing your plan for greater engagement will force you to decide whether you are willing to break out of your comfort/frustration zone. That higher profile might be uncomfortable at first, but it will increase your chances of greater recognition.
Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.