I’ve just returned from having lunch with a friend who is training to be a life coach. We’ve known each other over 10 years and we always laugh whether we’re lunching, coffee-ing or out drinking. I love our chats of late which are usually about self improvement and making fools of ourselves. Interestingly we were talking today about trusting your instinct and being yourself in front of people. I said that sometimes I wished I could be as confident and true to myself around new people as I am with those who know me the most.
In my last post I looked at the importance of being authentic in writing but how honest about yourself should you be in your professional life? I still find myself wanting to say the “right” thing to the point where I am nervous about it, which if I think about it now is not only absurd but usually fails anyway as the nerves make me say something silly. What is the “right” thing to say? And what’s going to happen to me if I say the “wrong” thing?
Don’t people get more out of interacting with others if they are being themselves? Aren’t they more likely to find like-minded people by showing their true personality?
But just how honest and open should you be? Probably not to the point of attending meetings unwashed, unbrushed and unkempt even though that certainly is the “real you”. It’s also probably a grim experience for you and the people you meet. I couldn’t attend a meeting without make up simply because I am so fair that without it I lose all of the distinction in my face. I look like Morph’s friend Chas after Tony Hart has smudged his little putty features off.
My heroes and heroines of the online world are those who are unashamedly honest about their passions, for example potty mouthed Naomi Dunford from the fantastic marketing site IttyBiz, and excitable as a Cocker Spaniel Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library. Two fantastic and inspiring personalities who are passionate, honest about their interests, hard working and determined to go after the things that interest them and love, and outsource the rest or just let the things go that don’t really matter to them.
The question is, can I do the same? I’m going to give it a go at the very least.
I’d be interested to hear if there is anyone else out there who has experienced a similar desire to be more themselves and how has that affected their work. Did it improve it? Did they gain more respect? Were people uncomfortable with the new you?