Read “Be Who You Are, But Strive to be Better”
“I am who I am.”
How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that?
It’s just me. It’s just who I am.
And we make everybody around us deal with our idiosyncrasies. Seems simple enough to say that, but is it really the best solution?
I was in a meeting the other day with people who have never been in a meeting with me before. I spend a lot of my time in meetings. but these people had not been in a meeting with me before, and one of the people who was there came up to me and said, “you were really intense.” It brought back to my mind that I have this issue – that the harder I think about something, the more intense my face gets. I can look downright angry.
It’s not something I think about. That’s part of the problem. I don’t think about it. The other problem is I can’t see my face. I’m not on the outside looking at my own face. Maybe it would help if I could do that, but I can’t.
So, it is just me. But it hinders my ability to communicate with others. It creates misunderstanding and miscommunication. What is it about you? There is something about you that hinders your ability to communicate with others. It hinders your effectiveness. Why would you stay there? Why would you create an atmosphere that is harder than it needs to be? A process that is not as smooth as it could be? Why would you create misunderstanding?
How can we correct these issues?
Number one, ask for feedback. I can’t look at my own face when I’m communicating. Neither can you. Maybe it’s not your face. Maybe it’s how you say something. Maybe it’s your mannerisms. Maybe it’s something you never thought about before, and you never will, until you ask for feedback. As a trusted friend, or a co-worker: “if there’s something I could change about myself that would make me more effective, what would that be?” Invite them into that process because without that feedback, you’ll never know what it is.
Also, consider that feedback without accountability to change is only half-effective. So you know, that’s great! But if you have no accountability to move forward, no accountability to change, you won’t change. Many times, the things we’re stuck, that we say are “just us” are habitual, and your habits, as you know, can be changed. But, you need to do that diligently. You need to invite not only feedback, but accountability into that process.
You are who you are, and everybody loves you for it. But you can be better.