Hello SOTGC community,
The idea for this post came from the same Vice President whose daughter inspired The Hunger Games of Business – Dad I Was Sending A Message. I was at a lab in Houston this last week for a limited launch training on a new product. After dinner a few of us were sitting in the lounge area enjoying good wine and conversing. Somehow Jeff and I got into a pretty deep conversation and at one point he said “Wow Marney! You are going deep! I didn’t know you had it in you!” Funny thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard this in the past few months. My newly appointed Area Vice President did a ride along with me a couple months ago and he said the same exact thing at one point.
What’s funny is that I’ve known both these guys for around four years. We’ve seen each other at National Sales Meetings, at industry trade shows, etc. While talking about SOTGC and that leading into Jeff saying that I was going “deep” I replied with: “I’ve always had this side. I just was never comfortable showing it to my colleagues before.” Jeff smiled and said, “you know what it is with you Marney? Somewhere along the way in the past year you went from ME, to WE.”
The more I thought about this the more I realized just HOW different I used to present myself to my co-workers. Not the ones that were directly on my team, I got comfortable enough with them to show my true side. But before all the transitions of this year, the emotionally painful events that seemed to keep coming at me like a defensive line after a quarterback, I wasn’t comfortable enough in my own confidence to show this softer, more caring, more philosophical side. It wasn’t that I have ever lacked confidence in my ability to set goals and succeed. I have always had an over abundance of that thanks to my Father. But I wasn’t confident in myself as a woman who was willing to risk showing her “weaknesses” to the world. I was the first to offer a sarcastic remark, and the last to let YOU know what was going on in my head. I felt that if people knew how I thought, knew how sensitive to others I truly am, that they would use this against me.
Yet, funny enough, once I got comfortable enough in myself to risk that loss of control, to be willing to put myself and my thoughts and feelings out there, the response was 100% the opposite of what I had always feared it would be. Instead of my thoughts and feelings being used against me, my co-workers now have something to bond with me about. By being softer in my manner and words, it makes my extreme intensity less intimidating and, hopefully, more enjoyable.
I guess the point of this post is that when you live in a secluded island of keeping your thoughts, feelings, and potential weaknesses to yourself, AND if you are an UBER alpha female like I am, your reticence to share will be viewed with suspicion and just plain discomfort from your co-workers. I’m not saying let people walk all over you. I’m not saying to go around letting everyone you work with know that last night you saw a dead bunny by the side of the road, and promptly start crying all over the place. What I’m saying is, by letting down the “ice princess” walls that you maybe have built around you because YOU feel it’s showing strength, understand that it takes SO MUCH MORE strength to be vulnerable, to let people know you need them and their help, and you will be SURPRISED by the amount of people who come racing out of the woodwork to offer their support even if you haven’t asked for it.