Wednesday, 26 September 2012
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.
Remember being a kid and people telling you "You must be yourself", "Happiness comes from being happy with who you are" and the like?
And do you recall when people started telling you "Oh, you can't say that sort of thing, it isn't popular" or "Oh DO try to fit in and get along with people"? Do you recall when you reacted and started caring about having the 'right' possessions, the 'in' gadgets and fashionable clothes?
How did it feel to experience such a volte face?
Do you remember putting on the mask and pretending to be another person for the first time? (I'm not sure that running around the playground with your hood up, coat buttoned at the neck and your arms out of the sleeves playing Batman when you were five counts.)
It happens so gradually, yet so completely, that I will guess that you don't even remember.
God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
Inspired by Alexander Kjerulf's blog post today which explores why managers are afraid to show they are happy, I find myself thinking about why we too often deny ourselves the happiness of being true to who we are: why we feel compelled to hide our true selves and wear a different face when we get to a certain point in life- whether that's an age, a position at work or in a relationship.
I am blessed to know many people who are so completely at ease with who they are that they are excused from reading this post. However if you've ever bitten your lip and gone with something for a quiet life, or set aside your personal values to 'fit in', do please read on...
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
Our business philosophy comes from our personal values of fairness, equality, respect, creativity and resourcefulness. The language we speak wasn't gleaned from the great business books of our time but from our conversations with business leaders, colleagues and employees over years. Sure, we've read a few of those books... but they are not something we regurgitate wholesale for people we meet, because they just aren't relevant to them. With regards a good number of those books, we are with Dorothy Parker: they should not be tossed aside lightly, but thrown with great force.
We don't have a sales pitch as such, though we can tell you in less than a minute what we do. We prefer to have conversations that are aimed at finding out what an individual or business needs, and focussing on those areas. We're not fans of talking at people- conversations are far more fun for all concerned.
The most exhausting thing in life is being insincere.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
That's not to say we've not had to put our own instincts to one side at times to follow a client's wishes rather than what we'd do ourselves. In that situation we are happy to deliver what is needed- but we will advise if we truly believe it's not a good way forward. We don't like scare stories, but we are frank when we outline the risks and consequences of following a particular path. If we weren't honest with those good enough to seek our expertise, and we were not true to ourselves, we'd be cheating everyone.
And that's not how we work.