Why do we want average rather than extraordinary?

There is a reluctance in Australia to celebrate excellence, we really want mediocrity. We like it when people blend in and aren’t too much. We don’t like people who are too anything, too loud, too quiet, too bright, too dull, too fat, too thin, can everyone just stay nice and average and not draw too much attention too themselves, we don’t like that, show ponies!

How often do we hear of stories where people have had negative feedback when they start to have some success, people are too quick to point out faults. They replay history of perceived past mistakes or personal stories to undermine and put them back in their place, so we can all stay comfortable with the status quo. Tall poppy syndrome is unfortunately alive and well, we love the battler but not the champion.

The only arena we want people to be successful in is sport, maybe because we then claim some of that success as our own, but we still want them to not embarrass us by getting too carried away with themselves.

In the USA, bigger is seen as better, would you like to upsize that? Innovators are backed, risk is met with reward, extravagance is encouraged, whilst we seem to hang on to our English roots and view it as being over the top and ostentatious.

For a nation that talks of giving people a go, and encourages having a crack, why is it when people do have a go and are met with success, we then want to rip the rug out from underneath them and bring them down a peg or too because now they’ve gotten too big for their boots?

For women this is especially difficult because to be a good girl, as so many of us are conditioned to be, means being compliant, doing as you are told, following the rules, but to be an innovator, creator or risk taker, goes against all those cultural norms.

Tonight, I am attending an awards ceremony to celebrate Influential Women in my community, those women who have put themselves out there, who aren’t afraid, or who might be, but are being brave enough to allow their success to be publicly acknowledged. We will cheer them on, encourage them to continue to strive and be genuinely happy for all their achievements, irrespective of who wins the awards.

Australians love a party, so we are going to have a fantastic night and recognise the incredible women in our community who are finding the courage to put their head above the crowd, enjoy the accolades that will come their way and dance like no one is watching!

Tonight we will elevate, empower and celebrate and maybe tomorrow we can remember how good it felt and do it some more.