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Editor’s note: guest post by Arvind Devalia.

Okay, so feeling like you suck is something you’re not supposed to talk about, right?

You’re supposed to stay positive. You’re supposed to be confident. You’re supposed to sweep your insecurities under the rug, and forget they’re there.

But it’s hard.

You’re working twice as hard as everyone else, and yet it seems like you get half as much done. You’re twice as smart, and yet it seems like your ideas get half the attention. You’re twice as loyal to your company, and yet it seems like your boss doesn’t even know you exist half the time.

No one ever says you suck, no, but you’re starting to wonder if that’s what everyone thinks. And it really, really bothers you.

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I’ll never forget the time a new supervisor scanned my resume and casually told me, “Well, you certainly haven’t set yourself up for promotion.”

Excuse me?

I thought I’d done everything you’re supposed to: hard worker, team player, grad school, and unfailingly dependable. 

I hadn’t taken time off to hike around Europe and eat chickpeas, for goodness sakes!

But it was hard to argue he was wrong.  Other people (who I might have referred to as pinheads in a fit of jealousy) seemed to effortlessly skip ahead of me.  Men and women marked for upper management in some sort of mysterious ritual I couldn’t understand.

What about me?  Why wasn’t I one of the anointed?

Then I started to piece things together.  Those things you’re supposed to do? 

Lies.

Oh sure, there’s an element of truth in there.  Just enough to keep you stuck in your position for decades.

Once I cracked the code, one opportunity after another opened its doors to me.  Of course, by that point, I wasn’t sure I even wanted a job in upper management. 

But I knew I wanted the ability to choose the direction of my career for myself … up, down, or sideways. 

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Editor’s note: guest post by Bryce Christiansen.

You want to make a difference in the world around you, but you’re not sure how. 

When someone says “leader,” you instantly conjure a corner office, dozens of employees, or an impressive title after their name.  If the only responsibility you hold is to clean out the company fridge every Friday, there’s no way you can call yourself a leader.

Can you?