Weeding negativity out of a field of tall poppies

By Finn Kelly

We have all heard about the tall poppy syndrome. I believe that the syndrome is a major inhibitor to people reaching their full potential and also living their lives the way that they want to rather than what “society” tells them to. 

Wikipedia tells us: “The tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers.”

The problem with looking at the definition in isolation is that it does not tell you how to counteract the effects of the syndrome. 

Our company Wealth Enhancers (WE) exists to enable Gen Y to become high-performing and to live a life driven by their values and free of societal and monetary limitations.

We really get to know our members and one of the big challenges that we have is to help them identify the parts of their lives that they are not truly happy with and provide them with a supportive environment to help them make the necessary changes.

We’re proud of the important role we play in our members’ lives. We support and coach them to achieve both personal and related financial goals. We have consider ourselves to be ‘tall poppies’ because we identify with this and it speaks directly to our audience.

We have always seen our members as tall poppies because they are willing to stand out from the crowd, become better versions of themselves and focus on the future rather than living day to day. We are a big believer in the concept that you are the sum of the people around you and that means you need to be very careful who you spend your time with.

Life is a lot more enjoyable if you are around positive people who believe in you, support you and inspire you. We encourage our members to be the best version of themselves that they can be, to focus on what is important to them and be free of external pressures, to live their lives by their values alone.

 We realised that we needed to help our members more by ensuring that we only let people into our community who are going to be positive and add value. 

This week we have taken a bold move and made a complete rebrand. WE are now a “Community of Tall Poppies” and have made our membership by application only.

In face, we had to go one step further and let some members go who were unfortunately not willing to make the necessary changes to become a tall poppy. This was a very scary move as we are still not close to being profitable but we need to stay true to our purpose, values and BHAG and believe that if we do this success will come. 

We experienced the tall poppy syndrome first hand this week. We had some articles written about us in the media and some people felt compelled to write public comments attacking what we are doing and try to bring us down to their level.

I still get amazed by the threat that people experience when someone decides to stand out from the crowd and how they are willing to make negative comments as a result.

These people are what I like to call “negos” and they offer no value to society. What I find interesting is that they are never gutsy enough to tell me their views in person, it is lot easier to do it hiding behind a computer screen or behind someone’s back. 

I have only ever written positive comments on people’s posts and if I don’t completely agree with something I think it is better not to make a comment at all.

Thankfully, I am naturally a positive person so until people point these things out to me I don’t really notice them. Instead I choose to notice all of the amazing comments that people are writing and focus on the great help that we are providing to our members’ lives. 

 I encourage and challenge all of you to stand up and be a tall poppy. Be the best version of yourself and don’t worry about standing out from the crowd because eventually you can find a community where the crowd are all tall poppies.  

 Finn Kelly is the CEO and co-founder of award-winning Gen Y financial advisory firm, Wealth Enhancers, along with the parent company, premier private wealth management firm WE Private.

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