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How Galileo Can Help You Discover a Career Outlet

Have you ever struggled with sharing your knowledge and expertise with your peers, lead or leadership team and felt that they aren’t interested in what you know? In fact, perhaps they’ve even let you know that they aren’t interested in what you know – just what you do.

If you’ve invested time and money in your education and are ready to share it with others, being rebuffed can kill your enthusiasm. That’s tragic for you and the organization.

In the “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene, he tells the story of Italian astronomer Galileo, who – while an incredible talent and inventor – struggled with finding consistent income. Everyone knew that Galileo had a lot to offer and they took what they could from him as gifts. Galileo knew that to share his brilliance with the world without financial stress, he had to find the right patrons to support him.

“Galileo hit on a new strategy in 1610, when he discovered the moons of Jupiter,” Greene writes. “Instead of dividing the discovery among his patrons – giving one the telescope he had used, dedicating a book to another, and so on – as he had done in the past, he decided to focus exclusively on the Medici’s. He chose the Medici’s for one reason: Shortly after Cosimo I had established the Medici dynasty, in 1540, he had made Jupiter, the mightiest of the gods, the Medici symbol – a symbol of power that went beyond politics and banking, one linked to ancient Rome and its divinities.”

Galileo presented the discovery of the four moons of Jupiter as an homage to the four Cosimo’s who led the Medici family. They now believed that this discovery was proof that their existence and leadership in Italy was ordained by the gods. Galileo was invited to be part of the Medici court and receive a salary. Now, he could explore and invent without concern for money.

Galileo expertly aligned his brilliance with the ego of the Medici. So, what can you learn from Galileo, and how can you regain your confidence when you feel like you can’t share what you know joyfully?

Here are two takeaways for how you can use Galileo’s experience to your advantage.

1. When you’ve invested in building your wealth of knowledge, consider sharing it in other venues.

Galileo used a divide-and-conquer strategy to find patrons. He would make a discovery and share it with whomever would pay. He sought out different venues to spread his knowledge and expertise.

Where else could you share your knowledge and expertise? Are there details, projects or other departments that would benefit from your insights and feedback? Check with your manager, mentor or team leader to see where else you can have an impact.

2. When your expertise is not being appreciated, consider sharing it with others who would.

Galileo used his political savvy to identify the Medici’s, as a family focused on wealth and power in Italy. By using his discovery to honor them, he sealed his future with patrons who appreciated what he had to offer and paid him well for it.

There are so many opportunities to reach others with your knowledge and expertise. Consider becoming a GovLoop Featured Contributor! Create a free blog. Create articles that can be read and shared on social media.

If you haven’t experienced this already, believe me, there will be times when your brilliance will be overlooked. It could be the wrong time or the wrong place. However, you are meant to make an impact in a big way. Use these lessons from history to provide a path for your brilliance to be shared.

Interested in becoming a Featured Contributor? Email topics you’re interested in covering for GovLoop to [email protected]. And to read more from our Spring 2021 Cohort, here is a full list of every Featured Contributor during this cohort.

Christine “Chris” Makell has worked for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for over four years, having held positions of increasing challenges and responsibility in that short time. She is currently a Program Analyst in the Knowledge Management & Transfer office. She joins federal service after a 28-year career in the private sector and six years as the owner of Chris Makell Consulting/Coaching working with individuals and sales teams to achieve greater success.

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