Tall Poppy Syndrome and the #BizSLP

Summer wildflowers and clouds

I follow a wonderful business and marketing coach on Twitter. Her name is Annemarie Cross (Twitter handle @AnnemarieCoach), and she has been much on my mind over the past few days. Annemarie wrote an excellent blog post about Tall Poppy Syndrome a few years ago. According to Annemarie and Wikipedia, tall poppy syndrome is:

“a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticized because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”

It feels a bit immodest to say it, but I experienced a tall poppy episode this week.

Speech-Language Pathologists in private practice (#BizSLPs on Twitter) seem to encounter tall poppy syndrome periodically. People often misunderstand and/or react strongly to our Scope of Practice, motivations, extensive education, and Code of Ethics enforced by our governing body. Our field is evolving in different directions, and whenever one of us dares to “think outside-the-box” we are likely to receive strong and sometimes unprofessionally delivered criticisms.

I highly recommend that you follow the above links and read Annemarie’s post for yourself. Within it she provides and expands upon three suggestions for dealing with unpleasant tall poppy situations:

1.        Don’t stoop to their level.

2.        Realize it’s not about you!  (Another business coach, Marie Forleo, has an awesome, relevant video here.)

3.        Surround yourself with supportive people.

I can honestly say I followed all three recommendations this week. It is never pleasant to be subjected to such situations, but it is empowering to know about tall poppy syndrome and react accordingly. Thank you Annemarie! It’s been a while since I first read your post, but I obviously remembered and learned from it!

How about other #BizSLPs and entrepreneurs reading this post? Have you experienced tall poppy syndrome? How did you handle it?




Cyndee Williams Bowen, SLP, owns Bowen Speech-Language Therapy, LLC in Clearwater, Florida. The company’s mission is to provide quality, creative, collaborative service to help clients achieve their goals and an improved quality of life. Visit the Bowen Speech website for more information!

2 thoughts on “Tall Poppy Syndrome and the #BizSLP

  1. Hi Cyndee, I’m so sorry to hear about the negative experience you had last week. It goes to show that no-one is immune and that there are people out there that are so negative and get pleasure from tearing others down. I’m so glad you found the article helpful. And, I think it’s wonderful of you to share your story – I’m confident it will help others who are experiencing the same thing to realize we are not alone AND there is a way forward. Blessings!

    • I appreciate for your encouraging, kind words, Annemarie. And thank you again for your inspiration. Your “tall poppy” post really made an impression and was there in my memory at just the time I needed it! Blessings back to you! 🙂

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