I recently heard the Japanese proverb that says, “The nail that sticks out will be hammered down”. It’s typically interpreted as a metaphor for corporate culture: if you do anything to stand out, you will somehow be punished. Punished with criticism, shame and ostracism.
This proverb didn’t sit right with me. After all, my purpose is to help people stand up and give presentations that stand out. Then I wondered, “What is the nail’s purpose?”.
If it is to hold two pieces of wood together, then the nail cannot fulfill its purpose without the hammer.
Of course, as humans, the idea of being hit with a hammer is frightening. But if the nail was a conscious being, I’m sure it would welcome the hammer!
So remember that the hammer is a positive metaphor. For you, it might represent a promotion, signing a new client, getting your proposal approved or raising the profile of your company, your product or even yourself. So…
don’t fear the hammer – seek it!