Stand loosely – and then cross your arms.
And now loosen your arms – and cross them again – but the other way around.
Sit down, take a pen and write your name.
And now hold the pen with the other hand and write your name again.
So, how did they feel – the two versions of crossing arms and writing your name?
What am I getting at?
This week my motto was “doing it your way.”
And it occurred to me that because of our personalities, preferences and experiences, we often have very different approaches. Different ways of doing things. Different paths to the goal. A different pace.
And sometimes we can “go all out.”
But often we also try to force ourselves into the “second version” – becaus all others do or because we think, it is expected of us.
Because we want to belong.
Or we don’t want to stand out.
Or we think that there is something wrong with us.
Or we don’t know how to deal with the reactions to our “uniqueness”.
Yes, we may adapt – but it takes a lot of energy, feels strange and often leads to a result that is far from what we could actually achieve.
Of course, it is important to be able to adapt, to try out the other versions in order to understand them and to remain agile in our minds.
But most of the time it is easier to reach the goal and it feels better if we can and are allowed to be true to ourselves.
I used to feel this way at work in meetings. In my team at the time, I was probably a “slow thinker” compared to the others. And when we were galloping through the agenda and the colleagues were talking about point 5, I often had missed points 3&4 because I still had questions about point 2 😉
In the early years I thought – how embarrassing. I can’t ask – I must make an effort. Later, with more experience and self-confidence, I just stopped the galloping and said: “I still have a question about the previous point.” (And to my surprise, it was not uncommon that all to a sudden others on the team joined me).
Result: colleagues got to know me better, I understood better, was able to work more effectively – and had the good feeling of being authentic.
Where could you muster up a little more courage to stand by your needs and your way of doing things?
And where might you allow others more space to be different?