Are You Bringing Your Best REAL You?
We’re all so good. We’ve read all the books, and the Influencer posts, and the cute-quippy-quotes that make us think and reflect. We’ve been ever-so-subtly-trained in how to play the game and win. We know the right things to say. We know how to talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk. We’ve worked so hard to do what we’re supposed to do, that we’ve forgotten what’s real – for ourselves.
I was talking to a friend of mine who is a recruiter recently and she was telling me how often people will sit down with her and say, “I love what I do because of the people. I’m curious about people. I like to know what makes them tick.” She hears it all the time. “But you know, Kimberly,” she said to me conspiratorially, “these same people who say that….we’ll be talking for almost 45 minutes and they won’t have asked me a single question about myself. All they do is talk about themselves! If they’re really curious about people, wouldn’t I count? If that’s really who they are, why don’t they show it?”
Now, granted, in an interview situation with a recruiter you might tend to be a tad nervous and it certainly can be difficult to rally who you really are in the face of wanting to prove that you can be whoever they need you to be to get the job. But isn’t that the point? If we’re all trying to prove that we can fit whatever mold (or mould – in the UK) we need to fit to simply get the job, get the client, get the approval, get the raise, get whatever carrot is looming before us – what happens to our real self? Does she get left on the cutting-room floor?
Consider that your most real self – at your best – is better and more powerful than any imitation could ever be.
Now, the “at your best” part, is an important part. And the higher the stakes the harder it gets. If when you’re nervous or stressed or anxious you crawl into your shell and make yourself small, or evade eye contact, or put on a mask of perfection so they can’t see your fear, or feel like you have to prove yourself by bragging, or you freeze up altogether and stop participating in the conversation – that wouldn’t be you at “your best”. If you really are curious about people but your actions aren’t reflecting who you really are – that wouldn’t be you at “your best”. But that does’t mean your “real self” is a small, eye-contact-evading, masked, braggart who doesn’t participate. It doesn’t mean that you’re a self-absorbed person who doesn’t really care about people. It means that when you get nervous, you happen to be human and do things that aren’t serving you.
How about instead of throwing our “real selves” under the bus, that we instead look for a way to deal with the feelings that come up when the stakes feel high and we’re nervous or stressed or anxious? Because that, believe it or not, is a do-able thing.
The real you is better than you know. But we’ve got to deal with what’s getting in our way of bringing our “best selves” to the situation, rather than feeling like we’ve got to be someone we’re not to play the game.
Today I encourage you to stop trying to say the “right” things, or trying to be someone you’re not, and focus on what’s getting in your way of bringing your “best you” to every conversation, to every meeting, to every presentation. For if we’re winning just to win and don’t get to be who we are, we might just find that the game we’re playing isn’t the right one for us at all.
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
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Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop. Click here to read what people are saying!