Are You Bringing YOU to Every Conversation?
What role are you playing today? Are you the sophisticated leader, the powerful CEO, the Mom or Dad, the victim, the party girl/boy? Is that really you? Do you ever feel like you are hiding behind the part you have been given in life, or the part that you chose because you felt like it was expected? There are way too many of us hiding behind the veneer required to portray what we think we should be. We have often lost sight of who we really are.
I often tell clients that “you are the only you who will ever live on this earth! You are uniquely you and no one can ever be like you.” You are all born with talents and gifts that you develop over time into strengths. You bring your own life experiences into every interaction. In order to be the leader you are meant to be, your actions have to reflect the authentic you, or who you wish to become.
I’ll never forget the day I was having a pretty fierce conversation with my son, and he told me that he had lost his way. He could be whoever the people he was with wanted him to be, and he had done it so much that he felt like a chameleon. He said he was having difficulty determining which role was the real Joe. My heart broke for him because I knew that he was busily hiding his true self out of fear of rejection. I encouraged him to spend some time thinking about how he could go about getting his needs met, and begin to love the real Joe. When he could do that, others would recognize it and respond with warmth and the acknowledgment of the fine human being he is. It has taken him several years, and some deep soul searching – but he is on his way to being who he wants to be.
The key really is in remaining flexible in your thought processes, continually learning from the world around you. It is not a compliment to have “He was steadfast and unchanging throughout his life” carved on your gravestone. When you don’t pay attention to what others are really saying or asking, you often put your career and your relationships at risk without realizing you are doing it. Sometimes, it appears that we don’t even pay attention to our own words.
I’d like you to take some time doing a little exercise I use myself on a regular basis. First, write down how you feel about yourself, your life and your work. (Several words or phrases). Next, write down what you want for your life going forward. Here you will ask yourself some simple, but profound questions. 1) Where am I going? 2) Why am I choosing to go there? 3) Who am I willing to take with me? 4) How will I get there? 5) Who do I need to talk to? 6) What will bring me clarity around what I want for my life?
Done? Okay. Breathe. If you’ve been very truthful with yourself, you may have generated some discomfort. Growth without stretching outside of our comfort zone does not happen. And, we are generally somewhat anxious and a little excited when we get outside the comfort zone.
You are working toward building your personal vision, and opening up a powerful dialogue with yourself. Are you on the right path in life? Is the life you are living reflective of who you wish to be, who you are willing to be? Is there anything you are hiding from yourself? What comes next for you?
Why is this important? Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations says, “All conversations are with yourself, and sometimes they involve other people. You may think you see me as I am, but in truth you see me as you are. The issues in your life are rarely about me. They are almost always about you.”
Take the time to think about the people in your life, all of your relationships. List their names and a few short sentences about how you see them. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Now, go back and reflect on Susan Scott’s thoughts regarding how you see others being a mirror of what you see in yourself. It’s time to have a fierce conversation with yourself, isn’t it?
Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I was talking with my mentor coach, Jen Anderson. We were talking about my desire to be a truly masterful coach, and what I think I needed to work on in order to get there. I identified a couple of areas, and asked her what she thought. She responded that she thought I needed to work on one of the core essentials: Acknowledgment. As we discussed this, I recognized that in order to acknowledge others – to give them the energy to source their personal power – I had to first acknowledge myself. Because by being who you truly are, relationships become almost magical. Her point? I already have the power to be a masterful coach just where I’m at. Now, I need to invoke it.
Take yourself seriously; it’s time to take everything about you personally. Work is profoundly personal; leading is powerfully personal, your family and relationships outside of work are deeply personal. If you aren’t taking it personally, there won’t be enough of YOU in the conversation you have with the people in your life, and the conversation is the relationship.
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and transitions coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master. Georgia specializes in career, business and personal life transitions for people seeking change in their life. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find her on her other websites, http://www.rainbowbridgecoach.com , and http://www.georgiafeiste.com. Georgia can be reached at (402) 304-1902 or you can schedule a 30 minute consultation via Automated Appointment.