Whose Shadow Are You Standing In?

stand in shadow

Don’t you hate it when you’re seen in someone else’s shadow? If there is someone well-known or famous around, usually you end up in his or her shadow because no one will pay attention to you. Although you may not like it, here is why it is in your benefit to be in someone else’s shadow:

Networking – If you want to get to know tons of “powerful” people, one of the easiest ways to do this is to leech onto someone who is well-known. Well-known or famous people usually know other people who have a similar status. Hanging out together can get you associated with them and really help you make inroads with other big people. The trick is to always make sure you join in on conversations and make sure these guys know you are there. Just make sure your wit is drawing attention and not your obnoxious behavior.

Association – In most cases, the person’s shadow you are in will have a good reputation in a specific sector (hopefully the same sector you are in). For example, Darren Rowse is seen as a professional blogger and if you are always seen with him people might start to think that you are a professional blogger as well. Granted, you won’t been seen as more of an expert as the person who’s shadow you are in, but it is a good start for your personal brand.

Learning – You may think that there isn’t anything else you could learn in your field, but this is far from the truth. Being in someone else’s shadow gives you a sideline view of all of their accomplishments and failures. What’s better than learning from someone else’s experiences and replicating all the things that would benefit you?

Standing out – If you can stand out when seen in someone else shadow then you can stand out in almost any situation. If you are shy, this could be a great way to practice. The bottom line is that you are less likely to succeed if you just sit in the sidelines and watch everyone pass you by, so learn to stand out in this type of scenario and you’re all set.

Building your personal brand from scratch can be hard and time consuming, this is why you need to take every advantage possible even if it means finding a shadow and sitting in it. You are probably going to have to suck it up for a bit and be seen as someone’s “bitch”, but hopefully you can figure out how to take it from there and gain the benefits.

P.S. If you want to grow your network check this out.

Comments

  1. Building your brand takes time and by using individuals like Darren and Neil as “best practice” brands, you are on your way to establishing yourself.

    Sometimes you need to learn from mentors and be “their bitch,” in order to succeed.

    Thanks Neil

  2. 6 yrs ago when I got started in the business world, I was pretty much known as “Kris’ Son” in our circles (obviously, Kris is my dad – he is also my business partner).

    Well, he has an MBA in cost accounting and computer science. He also has a lot more gray hair than I do (unfortunately, I’m catching up). His “charisma base” (as I call it) is much much Shaman to my Showman… that is, he relates to people in a very different way than I do.

    But I have successfully leveraged his personal brand. Nowadays, I am more well-known around Long Island than my dad. He is the ghost in the machine that people are proud to meet… and I’m sure he enjoys hearing the compliments given to him about me.

    When he comes to the YMCA awards/fundraiser next week (where I’m the stage MC), I’m sure he will be introduced around the table as “Viks’ Dad.”

    In more ways than one, it’s cool to be in the shadow of greatness. We can leverage their personal brand — so long as we live up to it.

    ~ Vikram
    PersonalBrandMarketing.com

    … for some reason, your comment form doesn’t work for me in firefox (unless I use an embedded MS-Explorer tab, as I am now — or the full explorer)… am I the only one with that difficulty?

    • WOW, congrats on the success. Happy to hear that you leveraged your dad’s personal brand and then turned the tables around where he is now introduced as your dad.

      As for the comments, it works for me in Firefox. Anyone else having any troubles? Either way I will have my webmaster look into it.

  3. Me channeling my inner Grammar Nazi:

    Your title should be “Whose Shadow Are You Standing In?” (or, if you want to get really technical, “In Whose Shadow Are You Standing” so as not to end your sentence with a preposition), not “Who’s.”

    • Thanks for correcting me. 🙂

      I decided to go with “Whose Shadow Are You Standing In?”.

    • Grammar Goddess/Editor Demon :

      Um, actually, that whole “don’t end a sentence with a preposition” isn’t true. Some “grammarians” many years ago had too much time on their hands and started making up weird rules. As someone famous said (Churchill?): “that is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!” (“that is the kind of nonsense that I will not put up with” is the natural and correct form, showing that ending a sentence with a preposition is often the natural and correct thing).

      Can’t help it.

      BTW: great article!

      • Thanks for the grammar 101 lesson. 😉 A lot of these rules seems basic, but tons of people don’t know about them (including me).

  4. So true Neil. I used to be shy back in the day but now people are in my shadow.

    Life is good…Keep up the great work. Keep representing Indians in the right way!

    • It’s good to hear that people are standing in your shadow now, but you should still find a new shadow to stand in. 😉

  5. Taylor @ ImprovLifestyle :

    I find the “learning” one of the most powerful concepts here. You can learn from another person’s mistakes, AND emulate their successful behavior.

    Emulating someone else has a social stigma, but I think it’s an necessary evil that everyone has done, and helps you grow.

    • My favorite part about learning from others is that you get a good idea of what not to do. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, but if you can prevent them it will save you time and money.

  6. One way to get into the space of the power players is by finding out what organizations they are involved with and getting involved in the same organization. The trick is to get involved on steering committees and the like, NOT to be a volunteer at events that they never notice. You may have to be a volunteer at first to get invited to the steering committee, but as soon as you can, make that leap.

    • One of these organizations that you could get involved with or try to get into is country clubs. Other than that I would try to get on the board of some powerful non-profits.

  7. good points made here. I like to make connections and learn , sometimes leech, from them.

  8. NEIL PATEL FOR PRESIDENT!

  9. So true Neil. I used to be shy back in the day but now people are in my shadow.

    Life is good…Keep up the great work. Keep representing Indians in the right way!

  10. How do you pick your shadow? And after you make your decision, how do you proceed in order not to offend your “shadow”?

    • The shadow should be of someone who you look up to and someone who is within your industry. Once you pick a shadow try and associate yourself with them… an easy way to do this is to constantly hang around them.

  11. Life is good…Keep up the great work. Keep representing Indians in the right way!

  12. then i thing a good way to put it is that to be in the shadow of someone is a good begining, good in the start but not so good in the long run

  13. Yes i also want my shadow look likes as a shadow of any successful man. It means i also want to successful in my life.

  14. As someone famous said (Churchill?): “that is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!” (“that is the kind of nonsense that I will not put up with” is the natural and correct form, showing that ending a sentence with a preposition is often the natural and correct thing).

  15. Fraser Island :

    Actually when someone doesn’t be aware of then its
    up to other people that they will assist, so here
    it occurs.

  16. Even your own shadow will leaves you when you are in the dark.

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