Ever feel like you need to take on pieces of other people's personalities, traits, or characteristics in order to be more successful? This could mean you wish you had the compassion of Cynthia or the boldness of Joe or the acumen of Claire. While admiring others is fine, imitating others can sabotage your leadership and communication effectiveness.
I used to think that everyone had some star quality that could make them successful. Everyone except me that is. I didn't think I had ANY that would make me successful. So I tried to copy and paste other people's drive, passion, determination, and whatever else I thought was just so cool, onto my self. What resulted was a Pablo Picasso cubism type picture of myself.
My self image was like this painting--distorted, hard to understand, yet intriguing. Like many women, I had a hard time listing my strengths and an easy time listing my weaknesses. I was lopsided and unbalanced. Of course, I have strengths and weaknesses; I just needed to objectively see them both.
Are you that way? Do you worry that one day someone is going to figure out that you don't have it all together? Do you feel like you are fighting to measure up, not to an external expectation, but to your internal one? Do you feel like there is no derogatory comment someone can make that you haven't already thought of yourself?
If that is you, then you are not alone. I was there too. I was hard on myself... and the harder the better. I thought being hard on myself would push me to be better. I thought it would give me the drive to charge forward. But it didn't. It hurt me. It curtailed my success. It kept me from going after the big job. It keep me from taking the lead.
You can't be the best you trying to be like someone else.
Question: If you have spent your life copying and pasting parts of other people onto yourself, then who is the original you?
I will be the first to tell you that my approach to my coaching practice and my communication consultancy was birthed as I began peeling off all the years of pasted images.
I had to embrace the quirks about my passions that others didn't understand. And that was OKAY. I can care about something and not force others to care about it, too.
I could invite others to see it from my perspective. It is completely up to them to accept or not accept my invitation. If they accepted, it is completely up to them to accept or not accept my perspective. One thing remains constant--that my perspective is uniquely its own, and it is uniquely valuable whether others agree or not.
Ok, what's the point of this long story? My point is that once I stopped copying and pasting my life and removed the layers of junk, I discovered I am one heck of a person! You too can come to the same conclusion.
If you struggle with getting others to "buy-in" to your idea, one reason is because you haven't "bought-into" it yourself. If you can't see what you have to offer, it is impossible to convey it to others.
That was me. For the longest I wanted "buy-in" to convince myself that my idea was good. That doesn't work. You get real "buy-in" when you are convinced first. "Buy-in" can't be used as a litmus test for boosting your confidence.
In the almost 10 yrs that I've been working with leaders, I've seen this time and again with my clients.
That is why I coach.
I want to come alongside professionals, especially women, and say:
...it's OK to take off the mask
...it's OK to be flawed and imperfect
...AND it's OK to plan, strategize, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Your staff, colleagues, customers, and family need and want the original you...not just the you that you've cleverly constructed.
You are not currently your best because you are too busy trying to cover up. That internal conflict is eating away at your creativity, your ability to strategize, your want to swing for the fences, or to connect with your team.
Once you are unglued, seeing yourself as you are is a freeing and scary process. You feel liberated, but you also see you have areas to improve. Both are completely okay.
I have been trying to find the fancy words to convey why my coaching business is unique and what value it brings...blah blah blah. I have used buzzwords and lingo. I have used numbers and statistics.
What separates me from other coaches? I don't know. My emphasis on leadership and communication skills? How I challenge them to be better? I don't know, and frankly, I don't care.
The more I strove to answer that question, the more I realize it has been hurting me. I have been trying to perform...instead of just being myself. The bottom line is this....I love on my clients. I love on my clients because professionals who aspire to be dynamic leaders need support. It can get lonely, but it doesn't have to be.
The new CEO of Burberry, Christopher Bailey, talked about an internal struggle too. The new CEO is a fashion designer who worked his way up to CEO. Not many expect him to be a good leader or business person. According to a January 2014 piece in Fast Company Magazine, Bailey talks about his challenges. Then he said something in the article which partly inspired this post:
"It's not just a coat," Bailey says. "People are interested in how it was created and the values that surround it. People want the soul in things."
If I show you how and why I operate, in other words, bear my soul, then you will make your own conclusions about working with me or not. It's your decision. Not mine.
I am not going to hide behind what I think I should say. I am going to be honest with myself and with you. I strive to love my clients and make each and every person feel genuinely cared for.
I believe the market place needs more strong, unique, and confident leaders female leaders.
Let me close by asking you something.
What could you do if you weren't hiding all the time? What difference would the REAL you make in this world? In your work? In your family?
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My coaching programs are aimed at getting to the heart of these questions. Contact me today if you ready to get more done by taking off the layers and revealing the real you.
Hi there. I'm Julia. Founder, Executive Coach and Leadership Development expert at Brave Communication LLC. Unless noted, I wrote all of the posts here in.