by Sabrina Smith
Would you hire you? What a powerfully reflective question. If you answer the question honestly, you might find there are a few behaviors about yourself that could get in the way of someone saying “yes” to bringing you on the team. You can think of this question as applying for a new job or a new position within your company. The answer to this question could mean the difference between you getting a promotion or consistently being passed by for opportunities. The good news is if you discover how you are showing up on daily basis, you will be able to pinpoint key behaviors that get in the way of you achieving your goals. Consider the following true scenario
A prior coworker of mine, and friend, came to talk with me one day about her performance review. She agreed with several areas of feedback; however, one area of observation they spoke of puzzled her, even made her a bit angry. She shared that her leader said she needed to work on her facial expressions by learning to smile more. Her leader stated that the looks on her face gave the impression that she was unfriendly and unapproachable. I remember my friend feeling cheated in some way, believing that in all the great results she achieved, this is the feedback they gave her. She was not happy to say the least, but true to who she is she self-reflected on the feedback and walked through a serious of self-discoveries that impacted how she would eventually show up in the workplace.
She started this journey of discovery in denial. She told me that she couldn’t do anything about the looks on her face, and really didn’t think she should have to. She believed that people knew she was friendly and approachable, so she couldn’t understand how this was even a problem.
As she continued to reflect on the feedback, she shared that her leader suggested she buy a mirror to place on her desk. Then, periodically take a look in the mirror to observe the looks on her face. She felt this activity was a bit demeaning, but nevertheless she purchased a mirror and placed it in a position on her desk that she could easily view her facial expressions.
Not long after engaging in that activity, she made some discoveries about her facial expressions that validated the feedback from her manager. She observed that when she was engaged in thought, her facial expressions made her look like she was angry. She realized that when she felt various emotions in conversations with others, the looks on her face seemed as if she was not open to the discussion. Another discovery she made was as she was sitting quietly at her desk working, the look on her face communicated that she did not want to be disturbed. It was through this process of discovery that she realized how she had been showing up in a way that caused some people to have a negative impression of her.
By the end of her journey, I can tell you that my coworker, my friend, started showing up at work with a new expression on her face that was authentically generated from the inside out. Her light was no longer dampened by a metaphorical lamp shade, but it was shining in a way that others could see her total value. She was happy that she did not dismiss that feedback and had chosen to take a sincere look at herself instead. As a result, she expanded her level of influence and within a year she promoted to a position at our corporate office. As well, she began building genuine work relationships that turned into valuable friendships, and she soared in ways she had never done before.
Now, let’s get back to the original question. Would you hire you? In all the greatness that you have to offer, are there certain behaviors that represent your metaphorical lamp shade? The only way to determine this is to take some time for honest self-reflection. Think about feedback you have received and write it down. Then, objectively evaluate yourself against that feedback from the other person’s lens. What do you see? If you are still struggling with discovering areas of yourself where growth would be beneficial to you professionally and personally, phone a friend that will be honest with you. And, whatever you do, be open to that feedback.
I believe if you too are willing to take the lampshade off your light, like my friend, you will shine in ways that attract the results you desire in life.
This blog is authored by one of our outstanding educators contributing to IAAP Summit 2021.