Day 37: Who Do You Think You Are?
I had a call with my coaching buddy the other day. She had some photos taken and noted different people each had a different favourite shot and none of those selected was her favourite.
That got us reflecting on how different people see us in different ways. That what we see as our strength, another may see as our weakness.
It reminded me of a comment made several years ago as I sat in a meeting with a Senior Manager in a local authority who was thinking of how we could work together. We looked at my CV with its varied background and experience. I was usually in a job for about 3 years and then I moved on. (To be fair I would take the role with the idea that it was to be for a few months and my contract would continue to be extended, generally until I said enough is enough.) This variety seemed to be attractive to the managers that employed me, especially when I went to work in Local Government. Managers who, for whatever reason, stayed at the same place for years on end. They liked the fact that I could bring a lot of different experiences and perspectives to the roles. So, I saw that as a strength.
Until the meeting with this woman who said, and I paraphrase
“Yes, you have an interesting and varied background, but some people might see you as something of a flitter.”
By then, though, I was sufficiently confident to not let that comment bother me and in the end I went in a different direction, taking on a role that was more challenging on all fronts. In fact, it was so challenging it had a detrimental impact on my health, but I learned so much and I stayed at the job until I knew there was no more I could do (about 3 years) and then moved on.
The point behind all of this is that the way we see ourselves is not always how we are perceived by others, including our nearest and dearest and different people will see us in different ways. So they will attracted to working with you (or not) for different reasons.
And it’s an important point if you’re running a business or looking for a job. If the way you see yourself is not congruent with how your potential customers see you then it may impact the clients you get (or don’t get).
If the way you see yourself isn’t congruent with how a potential employer or a potential partner sees you then it may impact the jobs you find yourself taking or the relationships you enter.
And while it isn’t important to take on board everything everyone thinks of you, it’s useful to know why people want to work with you or why they want to be your friend, or why they are interested in what you have to say.
So I’d like to try an experiment. It’s a little scary, but I’m going to try it anyway.
I would like to invite you to use 3 words to describe how you see me. You may know me very well, or you may only know me through my posts or comments on social media, you may be seeing me for the first time, it doesn’t matter, all comments are welcome. I’ll leave it a few days and report back next week.
And when you’ve done that, if you’re feeling brave you can share this and invite others to do the same for you.