Being A Chameleon

In my last post, I talked about the fact that many people, myself included, often make the same mistakes over and over again.  I listed some ideas about how I could avoid falling into the same “hole” that I usually do when I travel.

What happened?  I fell into the hole again.

I just read this post on Facebook from Lean Bodies Consulting (great Facebook page and website, I highly recommend them):

Sometimes we wish for things to change but our choices show that we’re unwilling to do what it takes to make things better …

Good intentions and commitment are not synonyms.

The difference between a winner and a quitter is that one has a strong WILL and the other has a strong WON’T.

Maybe it’s time to ditch the wishbone and get a backbone.

I came to some realizations in the aftermath of my last trip.  I am a chameleon.  I have always found human behavior fascinating, and I think I’ve gotten pretty skilled at adapting my approach to different people and different situations in order to make a good impression and to achieve the desired outcome.  As a manager, I had to change my communication style constantly to suit the person and situation I was dealing with.  In my current job, I have to act as a liaison and negotiator between several parties with competing interests.  Being able to understand what motivates someone and what they value, then using that knowledge to build a relationship and collaborate with them is something that has helped me excel in my career.  However, what has been great professionally has not been great personally.

In the midst of my constant efforts to conform to what other people want, I lose my true self.  I have felt in the past week or two especially that it sometimes feels like I don’t even know who I am anymore.  Am I doing X because I want to, or because I think I should, or because I think other people want me to?  This is one of the reasons I struggle on these business trips.  The professional side of me wants to conform to what I think my colleagues value, which in my job is someone who is social, outgoing, and likes to have a good time (i.e. eating and drinking).  I feel compelled, especially as the newbie, to take advantage of these opportunities to “network” (I hate that word) and be what I think they want me to be.  The personal side of me really wants to have quiet time to myself, to go to the gym, and to achieve my fitness goals and compete again.  Now don’t get me wrong, I do have a bit of a party girl side to me too, but in terms of what I value highly, fitness and feeling good about my body are at the top.  Succeeding professionally is also at the top of the list, however, and I have felt that those two priorities are often at odds with each other.

It’s time to grow a backbone.  I need to reconnect to my genuine self and not be so willing to discard that self in favor of what I think other people want, whether it’s in a professional context or a personal context.  Most of the people I work with know that I compete and I’m sure the reaction and judgment I anticipate receiving from them if I choose not to drink, or to head back up to my room after dinner instead of staying out, will not be nearly as bad as I have made it out to be in my mind.

The chameleon is returning to her natural colors…I just need to remind myself what they are!

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