It May Seem Different
The Monday Messages for the past few weeks have encouraged you to take heed that you aren’t held back from the professional stature you deserve by your reserved behavior. When you think you are being different because it feels uncomfortable, don’t be surprised that no one notices. Don’t assume you are stepping out of your comfort zone simply because that’s how it feels to you.
Any new or unfamiliar behavior feels exaggerated because you are using your comfort-zone behavior as the barometer. So of course everything feels more than it is. Vassilia Binensztok, PhD, LMHC, NCC, stated it so well when she wrote on social media recently,
“When you’re not used to being confident, confidence feels like arrogance.
When you’re used to being passive, assertiveness feels like aggression.
When you’re not used to getting your needs met, prioritizing yourself feels selfish.”
If you use your normal, comfortable approach as a comparison, you will underplay your behavior change significantly.
But It’s Not Different
I remember speaking with a senior partner who expressed real frustration with a particular manager. Apparently, the manager (once again) let him down and he was fed up with it. He finally agreed to have a frank, honest conversation with the manager. After all, that kind of behavior could not continue.
After the conversation, I circled back to the partner and asked him how it went. In no uncertain terms, he said he couldn’t have been more clear. That said, I was somewhat concerned about how the manager took such a direct conversation about his underperformance. So I went to his office and asked him how he was doing.
He looked at me with a puzzled look in his eyes. “What do you mean?” he asked. So I told him I just spoke with the partner and that he had a direct, clear conversation about his performance. “Really?” he asked. “He mentioned I should be more attentive to the information I give him in the future and I agreed to do so. That was it.” Hmm.
I guess the partner’s intent was to step outside his comfort zone, but his behavior forgot to follow. I suspect that both the partner and the manager have different versions of the conversation. While the partner may have felt better, I doubt the manager had a clue about how disappointed the partner was in him. Unfortunately, the partner used his natural approach to evaluate how stern and frank he was.
Are You Really Different?
This phenomenon is true for those who attempt to peel back their aggressiveness but not enough to be noticed. Or those who think they are expressing their adamant opinion when it only feels that way.
The point is that your perception is not nearly as accurate as you think. So be careful with how it feels to you.
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