Finding The Sweet Spot
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
I’ve been reading the book, “Hearts That We Broke Long Ago” by Merle Shain; there are numerous lessons in this little book, and many of which can be translated into wonderful workplace nuggets.
One lesson is about accepting oneself before anyone else can be expected to do so.
I struggled with this in my younger years and probably still do, but one such situation sticks out in my mind, although it flipped the issue around a bit.
I was facilitating a discussion with a potential group of investors for a new rural healthcare venture. I had been asked by these individuals to not only “facilitate” the discussion but add my own insight as I had quite a bit of experience with rural healthcare issues.
I don’t know exactly what happened or what I said but one of the individuals, a man who I have worked with in the past, pulled me aside and told me I needed to quit discrediting my own experience and quit devaluing my own knowledge and insight. (Later on, he told me he had listened to me and wondered what type of leadership I had worked under in my previous years, what type of childhood I had had, etc. to erode what should have been strong confidence in myself and my experience.)
I remember thinking long and hard about our discussion, and then disciplining myself in the way I spoke, the way I asserted my opinions, the way I offered a bit of history to lend credibility to my advice and counsel, etc.
Dealing with a potential client this afternoon has me thinking about this again today.
It’s difficult to know the sweet spot!
That spot above humble but below arrogance.
That spot that sits at confidence but falls short of ego.
That spot that brings trust from your listener without any hint of eye-rolling or doubt.
Ms. Shain talks about accepting ones faults, struggles, worries and fears; she suggests that only when we are “ok” with these things can we expect others to accept them.
I think the opposite is true as well.
Only when we are “ok” with our success, only when we are “ok” with our knowledge and our expertise, only when we are “ok” with our insights and advice can we expect others to accept them.
What about you? Where is your sweet spot?