I have to address the fact that my husband will be thoroughly annoyed with this title, but it’s not wrong. It’s not the most professional, either. But accurate.
I’ve built a reputation of having my shit together. I mean, my whole job is helping people get clear on what they want, figure out what tools they need to get there, and hold them accountable to doing tasks that matter they are uniquely qualified to do. And I have had some relatively awesome success and feel confident in my ability to do that. People (especially women) will say to me, “I wish I had my stuff together like you do….You’re so organized…” Truth bomb coming: It’s not together all the time. Oftentimes I make mistakes, like all of us do. I just usually move on quickly from them. In a world where we are trying to hard to brand, put on a persona (or caricature for some), and put out the best sides of us, some authenticity is lost. And it’s not a great business move to shout out our pitfalls – who wants to work with a hot mess?!?!? But there has to be a place in the middle of negative authenticity and perfection projection.
Can I tell you about a situation that happened this past weekend that I’m mortified about, though??? I just mentioned that I get over things quickly. But this is one that is so glaringly obviously unprofessional, I feel like I have to share. (This feels like a mini reconciliation for the Catholic in me.)
My husband Carl and I had attended a fundraiser on Saturday evening. My girlfriend invited me because the man hosting it is a friend of her’s. I saw that he was also an insurance agent, and since that’s one of my niche markets, I thought, how fun! I’ll mix in a business introduction, hang out with my girlfriend, and have a little date night! When we got there, I met the man running it, and I’m like, “Nice to meet you!” And he says, “We’ve met before…a couple times….and you just connected with me on LinkedIn.” 😕😳🙈
You guys, I do this QUITE OFTEN. It’s unprofessional. It shows a lack of interest, or at least shows I can’t keep up. It shows my short-term memory is off. Can I blame it on mom brain? I compartmentalize the groups of people I know and meet. Work people I remember while working. Friends of friends I meet, I put in another box. I just didn’t put 2 and 2 together of the different people I knew and how everyone connected. I’m not Minnesota’s most popular woman, but can tell you I know A LOT of people. And I should be better at remembering people, or at least doing a little research on the invite list before attending an event….
So here’s the lesson of the story: we need to give others some slack when they mess up, and give ourselves the same courtesy. We don’t need to shout it out from the rooftops EVERY time we make a mistake so others can relate. But I shared this story because we all do something like this. Maybe you don’t listen to your spouse when they tell you how their day was. It’s possible that you don’t put your phone down when people talk to you. Maybe you lie to your boss about your work stats.
The key is to just do the best you can with what you have. Take the lessons and mistakes and LEARN from them. A fool takes a loss and doesn’t learn from the experience. A wise person takes the lesson and improves. We don’t need to be perfect, or project that we are.
If you have thoughts about this, leave them below. If you are intrigued and want to learn more, you can check out my coaching and consulting website here.