Who Are You?

Who do you think you are?

Years ago Dennis Green birthed a famous rant (famous in sport circles anyway) when he dismissed a reporter's implications about the strength of an opposing team (Da Bears…) by saying “the Bears are who we thought they are.”

 

Syntax notwithstanding he had a point.

Who do you think you are?

Today's message brought to you by your spine: it wants you to stand up straight.

Regularly I interact with clients, peers, colleagues, friends etc who have gotten themselves into a dangerous place: they use negative self-talk and what I often describe as a “less-than” mentality. In our quest to be deferential and collaborative we've become self-degrading and collusional.

Often we fall into these behaviors because we don't want to seem like we're “better” than anyone or that we know it all. But all this self-effacation has a downside: dismiss yourself long enough and others will too.

Worse, you might actually believe you don't add value.

So how do you assert yourself appropriately?

  • Acknowledge who you are. Each of us brings value to bear, as you do. Acknowledging and then using the strengths you have (read Marcus Buckingham for a little help here) is a fundamental and necessary step to attaining and fulfilling your role in society writ large. Having a gift and not using it is pointless. You are valuable and we need you, capisce?
  • Contribute to the mix. You have something to share so share it: there's no need to put a governor on your good will or capacity. And all those gender, age and cultural biases that seek to stifle you? Well, as my friend Chris Fields likes to say, call bullshit on that bullshit. Take your place and contribute: do not let others stop you overtly or covertly through intent or inadequacy. Life isn't always comfortable, but it is what we make it.
  • Constancy is its own reward. Staying present and enagaged enables even the slowest peer to eventually recognize the unique contributions you make. Don't drop out, sulk, or otherwise gather up your toys and go home. Stay engaged and your efforts will be rewarded through participation and validation. Don't quit just before the rest of us wake up and see just how much you have to offer: give us a chance. Or two.
  • Renewal is the key to long-term happiness. Renew your ideas, understanding, assumptions and questions through relationships, education and experience so your life is a constant source of discovery, energy and inspiration for yourself. You are your own greatest friend: act like it. People love to be around those who love themselvesm

Yes you should avoid being a braggart or making your life all about “you”: these are not attractive qualites. But don't get carried away.

You are not “less than” anyone. And you can't think like that.

Be your own best friend.

I don't care how young you are, where you went to school, your socio-economic class, etc, etc, etc. We have serious problems to solve in this world and we need everyone to address them. We need you.

Who do you think you are?

 

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