Show Us Your Value, Dumbo!


(By James Bahm) What does a Disney character have to do with business and professional development? Plenty.

There are many business prospects available to you, but unless they know who you are, what you do, and how much value you bring, they are not likely to reach out, talk with you, or even accept your request for a meeting, for that matter.

I am no stranger to discussing value, or even showing the strength effectively communicating with clients provides. Yet being able to combine these on an on-going basis is relatively easy once you realize it.

So, how do you do this if you don’t know you can?

Quick: list your top 10 – 12 job skills (as you do so, more will come to mind). What do you know from your current and previous job(s)? Chances are you know a lot more than you think you do and can offer the business world much more than you realize.

You are the one product no one will ever know better than you.

Draw From Your Expertise
Start with the job skills I referenced above. Be they Leadership, Customer Relationship Building, Communications, Sales, or Marketing. Think about ways your skills can benefit others. For several years, I’ve known radio (though it’s not all I know), Solar, Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Copiers, Leadership, Training & Development, Writing, and more.

Think of Something with Value
Think like a customer if you need help with this. What creates value for you? After all, you are in the market for some item every day; therefore, what makes you opt for brand A when brand B is less expensive? Listen to your customers and they will tell you what they value, too! Regardless of what market you are trying to reach, point out something of value and discuss it. Share a case study, list client success stories, talk about how you solved a problem and filled a need for a customer. Each of these creates value. And post the thoughts, share articles in the groups you belong to.

Brevity is Best
We have short attention spans. Short sentences work. They deliver the message. Short paragraphs are easy to follow. Leave your customer/prospect with just enough information to make them want to contact you to follow up. And share a valuable insight 2 – 3 times a week. Not too much. Quality over quantity! And all with as few words as possible.

Establish Yourself as an Expert
When you begin to draw from the wealth of knowledge you possess, other professionals will take you seriously. You don’t need a name badge (or title) with Expert on it to be one. Just share what you know with a good dose of value in it and help make the workplace better for those who read your words. In doing so something else will happen to you: The more you share your professional experiences the more confidence you’ll have in yourself. I’ve been in sales long enough to know there are bad days, and I doubt myself. Sharing successes with others and seeing my words in print gives me a boost of confidence, and I’m sure yours will give you one, too.

Why Dumbo?
Glad you asked. The feather didn’t help Dumbo fly. The ability to fly already was inside him. He just needed to learn how to use it. What you need to separate yourself from others is just doing what you were put here to do, talk about what you’ve done, share valuable experiences and show us you’re an expert.

Remember, Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that the Tin Man didn’t already have.

If you’re looking for a new job, show your potential employers your true value. As for the naysayers who may critique your thoughts… Dale Carnegie said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.” Stepping outside your comfort zone is never easy – try writing a book or publishing columns online, the response can sometimes be brutal – but if you have something of value to share then share it!


How many professionals are so wrapped up in identifying what they wear, what they carry with them that all these things become who they are?

I am a writer. I don’t need to have my books sitting on a shelf to know that I am one. I write and out pour the words that reside inside me. I am a broadcaster. a sales professional; a father; a husband; an educator; I am something I haven’t discovered yet.

Education lays the foundation for our careers; yet it is the talent that lies within us that defines who we are. Don’t lose sight of you in the search for the right job title, the nicer office, a cubicle with your name on it, or anything else, and think that those things make you who you are. They don’t. Everything that you have may reflect the success you’ve enjoyed, but that which resides inside you is who you are. Tap into the wealth of resources that make you – YOU.

If you’re looking for work, keep looking and apply for positions for which you’re qualified. Your value does not diminish because of someone’s inability to see your worth. Adults love to make things complicated; however, sometimes it takes a simple lesson from a cartoon to make me realize that I am a lot like Dumbo. I don’t need a feather to make me fly; the ability to fly is already inside me!

As Mark Twain said, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Go fly. And encourage others to do likewise.

James Bahm has over 30 years’ experience in broadcasting, sales and marketing, and recruiting and hiring. He is the author of Don’t Yuck My Yum – a Professional Development and Sales & Marketing book – which is available on  He can be reached via email: [email protected]


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