Your Authentic Self
Not long ago I was at a presentation where, during a break, I was talking with a couple of women. I re-told a personal story and happened to say somebody had mocked a circumstance I was in, when they could have empathized with me. When I told the two women the story, I said that the mocking hurt my feelings. To add insult to injury (at least as far as I’m concerned) one of the women scoffed, “Oh just get over it”.
Why is it that we tell people to be their “authentic self” and then when they do reveal something, such as hurt feelings, they are criticized for it?
What was really ironic, was the speaker for that presentation was encouraging us in the audience to “be our authentic selves” and everyone in the audience applauded enthusiastically. Including the woman who had just criticized me.
If it’s Important To You
You’ve heard the saying, “People do business with those that they know, like, and trust.” Interestingly enough, the woman who made that comment to me has been sending me marketing materials for me to go to her events, non-stop, and I had considered going. But as soon as she made that remark, the doors in my mind shut and I knew in that moment I would not do business with her, nor would I refer anybody to her. Why? Because the trust was gone. It’s essential that your clients trust you.
Think about how it’s going to affect you, and your work, if you have a knee-jerk reaction and just bark off insensitive comments to somebody who reveals an inner feeling. You could lose an opportunity, and it’s not just one opportunity, in that moment, your reputation could be crushed forever. Are you willing to risk that?
Pause and Consider
Here’s what I suggest you do. You don’t need to be a therapist, counselor or social worker. But you do need to be human. So stop, pause, consider, and think over the words you heard the person say. Then, before opening your mouth to respond, think through what might be behind their words and what you didn’t hear. There is often more being revealed in the non-spoken words than what is actually coming out of somebody’s mouth.
The opposite of a thoughtless remark, that can cost you everything, is a thoughtful remark that will be pleasantly remembered. One of my favorite quotes of all times is Maya Angelou’s, “People will forget what you did. They will forget what you said. But they will never forget how you made them feel.”
And though we’ve all heard the argument that no one makes us feel anything, and we are responsible for our own emotions, there isn’t a person alive who can’t agree that others actions towards us can have a great deal to do with how we feel inside.
Why do you think bullies are so successful in causing emotional pain? Why do you think coaches that help people with self-esteem are in such demand?
Why We Succeed
As I said before you don’t need to be a therapist, a social worker, or a counselor. But be human. That’s our commonality. It doesn’t take a lot of education and it doesn’t take years of experience as a business owner. This is why the members of my High Stakes Mastermind Groups are so valuable; because they come from varied backgrounds and different levels of experience. And yet every single one of them has a wonderful ability to contribute and to support each other. You will never hear members say to each other, “Oh get over it!”
That’s where my own listening skills have come in handy for me. Because the people I have in the Mastermind groups exhibit the empathetic behaviors that it takes to stop, pause, hear and then respond.
I have not said that the respondent needs to agree with the commenter. I only said they need to be considerate and not lash out with something that could be hurtful, rude or inappropriate.
The next time somebody mentions that something caused them pain, rise to the occasion, and opportunity, to offer a moment of affirmation. People won’t forget how you made them feel. And if it makes them feel good, they’ll remember for a lifetime.