We’re going to fast-forward a bit through the Medici Popes (they had a LOT of issues, not the least of which was that Martin Luther took issue with them selling indulgences). In fact, we’re going to jump all the way to the middle of the 1500s (or there-abouts). The Medicis had pretty much been kicked out of Florence. After the run of Medici Popes and their attacks on the people of Tuscany, nobody was really a great Medici fan. In fact, the last legitimate Florentine Medici heir, Alessandro, was killed. Oddly enough, though, the Florentines thought it would be good to bring in another Medici to control the city – a Medici they could easily control. Good name, bad brain. Kind of like the plot of Zoolander.
Nobody really thought that the new Duke, Cosimo de’ Medici, would amount to much. They figured he would be a figurehead. Boy did they get that wrong. Whether it was innate skill, a brush of luck, the power of paranoia, or a combination of all of the above, Cosimo proved to be a pretty darned adept leader. Named Head of the Florentine State in 1537, by 1569 Cosimo had helped Charles V with his wars, had defeated his own enemies, and had also brought Sienna to its knees. He was named Grand Duke of Tuscany and his fame and triumphs ensured that the Medicis would stay in power all the way until 1737. Not too shabby, huh?
In the online world, one of the greatest things that can happen is for you to be considered an underdog. I truly believe that. Now, make no mistake. Just like Cosimo, you have to be willing to put a lot of work in. A lot of work. But until you get named Grand Duke of Social Media, being an online underdog can enable you to do a lot of things. This is something I know a bit about. See, while I’ve been going about my business, doing my own thing, a few great things have happened.
1. I’ve been able to hone my blogging style, experiment a lot, see what works and what doesn’t, and not have it all happen in the spotlight
2. I’ve been able to develop a lot of great connections/friendships with people. This would have been a lot harder if I had been greeted like LeBron James, flooded by the masses
3. I’ve been able to formulate my own opinions without having to worry about whether these evolutions in my brains will affect whatever part of my social media world I might be worried about
While I am certainly no Grand Duke, I know that I have gotten a chance to improve a lot over the last two years because I was just able to focus on my work. No one placed any expectations on me. There was no pressure but what I put on myself. It’s a pretty good path to take, or at least it has been for me.
Take the challenge
One other lesson can be garnered from Duke Cosimo. He could have gotten really bummed out that he was brought in to be, essentially, a puppet. I mean, that would bum anybody out, right? But he didn’t go into Florence a defeated man. He went into Florence a driven man. If someone treats you like you’re an underdog, accept the challenge. Don’t view it as a put-down, view it as a shot of adrenaline. Prove that you’re anything but an underdog. Prove them wrong. It’s a great motivator! If you’re into that sort of thing.
Again, all of this takes a lot of hard work. In say, 1545, Cosimo probably did not imagine that he would become Grand Duke of Tuscany. He still had a whopping 14 years to go. But he got there. Oh, also, he killed a few relatives, which I recommend you stray away from. Anyway, if you put in the time, if you work really hard, and if you stay on your own path, being called an underdog can be an invitation to excel, not a downer.
Don’t you think?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/78998728@N07/7246913292/ via Creative Commons