Too often we don’t take action because we’re waiting for the go-ahead, the command to take action, or the permission to share an opinion. Have you ever left a meeting frustrated that no one asked your opinion or invited you to speak? You had all these good ideas that went unheard.
I’ve made this mistake many times, too. The thing to remember here is that while maybe they should have been more conscious of you in the discussion, your lack of contribution is also on you. This is particularly true if you’re sitting with a bunch of strong type-A personalities. You just can’t count on everyone else suddenly turning to you and saying “So what are your thoughts?” Playing the woulda, coulda, shoulda game afterward is only useful to you if it spurs you to be more assertive next time.
Next time you’ve involved in a project, don’t let a good idea fall by the wayside while someone else makes theirs heard instead. That idea needs to be shared, and no one else is going to know just how many good ideas you have if you let your flame be snuffed out every time. Have a task or contribution that’s not strictly your job/responsibility, but you’re sure it would help the team? Throw out there!
The worst that will happen is you’ll be told “Thanks for the idea, but not right now.” And that’s fine. People will take notice that you are consistently trying to improve the process and go an extra step, and that’s a lot better than being the “go with the flow” guy. Who knows — it might even make them ask you for ideas the next go around because they know you’ve always got them.