Tall Poppy Syndrome

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a large and varied amount of celebrities at the Total Success Summits in Sydney.

Many of them, I had admired for years but I had been especially excited to meet Michelle Bridges.

I had completed her 12 week body transformation challenge after the birth of each of my children, watched her videos countless times and I have several of her books.

But over the years and in the lead up to the Summit, she is one person that I have always had varied black or white responses about.

Some say that she is an absolute gem, kind and truly caring and wanting to help change people’s health and transform their lives.
Others swear that she is up herself, a real bitch and would step over anybody to get onto television again.

And here is how I read that second opinion.

Watching her over the last several years and spending some time with her in person I see her as ambitious, hard-working and someone who doesn’t suffer fools.

What I found most interesting about her, was a question that she posed to Arnold Schwarzenegger in front of 1500 people.

It went something like this ‘In Australia, we have what is called tall poppy syndrome, where when a person gets to a certain level of success and achievements they are chopped down by those around them and others they may never had met. Have you experienced this and how would you handle it?’


I admire that she bought what she struggles with up and that she used her time to ask a question, she knew would help others too.

You see, like me, you may have experienced tall poppy syndrome.
I have heard people say literally when I am standing right in front of them; ‘she’s too big for her boots’, ‘she thinks she is so good’, ‘she needs to get off her pedestal’

So, this has really got me thinking, if people like us and Michelle Bridges are experiencing it, what pushes people to do it?

Why do people feel the need to try to drag someone down?

Is it the old adage that it makes them feel better?

Do people feel as if someone elses success has a direct effect on them?

And why do we label someone who has spent 5 years of hard work as selfish?

Or someone who is confident, a bitch?

Someone who is passionate about something, is often called bossy and opinionated.

Wouldn’t it be better to see more people standing on the sidelines cheering for someone who has succeeded?

Most successful people that I know take others along for the journey, helping where they can with advice, books, videos and often job opportunities.

But what really pisses me off is when women that are successful are attacked for their physical appearance, think Julie Gillard, Oprah, the list is endless.

So here is what I am doing and I encourage you to do the same.
The very next time you hear someone say something horrid about a successful person, either a colleague, someone in your industry or a celebrity, rather than mindlessly agreeing with what’s being said, share something that you admire about that person.

If we all did this, we might be able to change the tall poppy culture.