Are you telling your own story, or reacting to someone else’s perception?
People with solid work ethics, commitment, training, and the ability to make complex things look easy are kind of the wizards behind the curtains these days. I’m thinking of farmers, retailers, and health professionals in particular, especially after 2020. You may be reading this and nodding yes in agreement because you feel this way too, even if you aren’t one of these noble professions. Most of us are doing our best at whatever we do, even when no one notices.
Others who don’t understand you or what you do may come at you relentlessly and you may feel the need to protect and defend. Think about certain conversations in social media. Before you engage, push pause and consider your reaction. Others are watching, listening, and learning from whatever conversations are being had publicly.
Here is where we can remind ourselves of what really matters to us, and make our decisions based on this. Unless you are naughty and have bad intentions, obviously. 😉
I’m not saying we should roll over and take it. In fact, the opposite is true. We deserve to defend ourselves and our character when it is under attack. But that cannot become the default communication style. First of all, it’s not fun. Second of all, it can leave out the people who love you and appreciate your contributions. Third of all, sharing your truth from a pride and knowledge perspective is much more helpful and positive. Imagine sharing the “why” behind what you do to a curious audience who doesn’t know anything about your area of expertise. You confidently share your story and get smiles, nods, and questions to learn more. People lean in to ask about the details so they can better grasp this new topic. Isn’t it great when we enjoy what we are doing, AND it makes a positive impact? Yes, indeed. Isn’t it great when someone appreciates that and wants to learn more? Yes, indeed.
To improve understanding and acceptance, we must:
Choose our words specifically for our audiences to increase their ability to grasp new concepts.
Know that “others” are watching and listening.
Decide what we will and will not stand for. Even when it feels lonely.
Know that there are some people who simply don’t want to collaborate, engage, or work as a team. #ByeFelicia
Understand that it doesn’t mean something was wrong before if we decide to try a different way moving forward.
Consider this: If you accidentally back into a telephone pole, do you keep jamming it in reverse to fix it? Nope. You say woopsies, step on the brake, and change direction. You take note of where the pole is so you don’t drive into a barrier again. That’s what we’re talking about here. Take note of the barriers, the up-to-no-gooders, and keep an eye on them. Then drive in the direction you know you need to go.
If you need/want to spend your time and energy differently, do it. How? By making a different choice today. Then the next day, and the day after that.
Take control of your choices, because guess what? You could become the inspiration for someone else to let their light shine, too.
What can you choose to share today that highlights your knowledge and values, turning attention to the good and contributing to understanding?