"Are You Taking It Seriously Or Are You Taking It Personally?" ...otherwise known as a look inside my head (NB: enter at own risk).
I've recently read, Seth Godin's "What To Do When It's Your Turn (and it's always your turn)" - click here if you're interested.
The message, as I understand it, is around being brave enough to step up and take your turn in life, rather than waiting to be asked - basically the cost of a fear-based life v the benefits of bravery and freedom. The eclectic fonts, anecdotal wisdom, unusual imagery, pace and general sense of disjointedness of the book made me feel, well in truth kinda old (definitely not hipster) and also a little frustrated (I am a bookkeeper, after all, so I like all to match up nicely).
But there was one chapter that stood out for me and has bounced around in my head for the last few weeks.
Good question, Seth. Good question. By all means take it very seriously and do our best, but don't take it personally.
This particular chapter resonated with me and has made me realise that I have inadvertently tangled up my basic self-worth with my work and I'm guessing I am not alone. You only have to stand around a few sizzling sausages at a BBQ on the weekend and pretty much the first question anyone you've just met asks, "So what do you do?"
As a society we look to our work-life performance as a worthiness gauge.
There is a plus side of appending the two - for me, it makes me work hard (prove, prove, prove), and always seek to do my best. The downside - well actually there's a few. And they outweigh the good really.
1. We all make mistakes. Everyone does. Everyone. But if you're taking it personally, it obviously cuts deeply. " I am hopeless" or "I am useless" ...that kind of self-talk. Never useful. In an industry that's complex, dynamic and compliant-based, broad- brushing errors onto our self-worth is not the path to learning nor happiness.
2. If you're self-worth is hooked to your work life, then it's a never-ending round-a-bout that you must jump on every single day to keep re-proving that you are a 'good' or worthy person. You can't just rely on how you went yesterday, or last quarter, every single day, every single client interaction is about demonstrating again and again that you're good enough and that becomes exhausting. And it's actually impossible.
3. It's also stifling because, to paraphrase Seth, taking it personally means we become fearful of looking stupid and therefore, prefer to retract and hide - diminish ourselves. You're too scared to ask, because that question might be dumb (side note: there are no dumb questions), which, when you're taking it personally, translates to - ' I am dumb'.
It robs us of our braveness and restricts our capacity to grow. And really growth is all about learning, stumbling, asking questions, falling flat on our face, standing up again, brushing off and keeping on, keeping on. But if in the falls, we say to ourselves ' I'm hopeless', we weaken our ability to rise again - and as we know fortune favours the brave.
So this little gem in all the uncomfortable mixed font and hipster images for me was, exploring how we guard the space between showing up and doing our best at work, that is - be a professional, and who we are as basically good and worthy humans.
I'm not there yet, but I'll keep you posted.
So go forth and be professional! Be brave, TAKE YOUR TURN without being asked to, but remember, deep down, you're awesome just as you are!
A shout out to Unicorn Business Solutions for giving me the book - meet them here.
Gabrielle Osborne (BAcc) is a small business specialist who loves to help business owners focus on what they do best. An innovation enthusiast and determined problem-solver, Gabrielle is also fun to work with.
m: 0410 546 000