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Tall poppy syndrome in Australia; why does it still exist?

By Kate Taylor

Published Date: 2018/07

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Tall poppy syndrome describes aspects of a culture where people of high status are resented, attacked, cut down or criticised because their achievements make them stand out from their peers.


I’ve been recently challenged with the Tall Poppy culture in Australia. Since winning two business awards and experiencing success, certain people felt the need to judge me and have an opinion of me that isn’t accurate. I don’t take it personally as it’s really a reflection of them not me, but nonetheless it’s shown me that Tall Poppy Syndrome still exists in Australian culture.


Social media puts you in the spotlight, there will people who praise you and others who will criticize you. It’s a platform where we find trolls and keyboard warriors who feel the need to bring others down to somehow build themselves up. People in the spotlight who choose to be open with their lives and careers, are mainly supported and encouraged by their peers. But there is always a few that try to bring them down.


It frustrates me as an Australian that this culture exists here; when I have lived in the UK or travelled to the US, success and achievement through hard work are praised and people admire you rather than bring you down.


Benjamin Franklin Fairless, president of United States Steel Corporation (1950), criticised such behaviour when he stated: “You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant”.


I want to challenge this culture after 5 ½ years of running my own business and being through the highs and lows; it has been a rollercoaster ride and when I do have a successful season or time in business, I will share it and be proud of it! This doesn’t make me a show off, competitive or arrogant. I feel this makes me a well-rounded person and I choose each challenge in life to grow and learn and to be the best I can be in whatever I put my mind to.


I would also like to acknowledge my followers, friends & family who are my cheerleaders on this hectic business journey. Your support does not go unnoticed!


Next time you see someone doing well or being successful let’s unite and congratulate that person. Celebrate with them if they are your family, friends or colleagues. Life is short so let’s make every day count and make a positive difference to someone’s world today!