Trying Too Hard
I see people trying too hard to get people to like them. They act as if they aren’t good enough and have to put on airs and be something more interesting and fun just to get people to notice and like them. Doesn’t that seem silly?
Well it happens more than we all would like to admit. Even in our own lives.
It begins with the stories we tell ourselves when engaging and meeting someone new. They have more experience, knowledge and money than we do so we think we need to raise our game. We observe someone for only a brief few seconds and automatically our brain gets to going and starts to fill in blanks of a story that hasn’t even been told much less validated. Yet we alter our approach. We change our behavior. We start acting differently than we would when we are with someone we already know and who accepts us.
As humans we are hard wired to want to be accepted by everyone. Because of this need we often alter our behavior to make ourselves more appealing to others. When we let that happen however, what we are really doing is letting someone else dictate how we should act and behave.
See the fallacy in that?
Last week I met with some venture guys who are looking at making a possible investment in my software company. Very nice guys but in a very brief moment, I could see myself unconsciously adapting my approach to the conversation to validate my presence at the table. Immediately I felt a stiffening of my stomach as I was watching myself try to interact with guys who clearly are more successful, more financially astute and probably a bit smarter on a lot of levels than I am. I felt like I was desperately grasping at straws to stay “in” the conversation and not come across as a inexperienced, intimidated moron and was trying to get them to accept and like me as one of their own.
Then it happened. Maybe it’s divine intervention or something else.
My mind kicked in to gear and reminded me – You aren’t like these guys and you are not one of them. You are different. And that’s okay dude. Really, it’s okay.
From that moment forward I was less interested in trying to impress them. Though I did stay focused on trying to get to know them. I was committed to just being myself and approach this unique meeting with the same usual Ripple approach I use with just about everyone. If that wasn’t enough for them then they could feel free to look elsewhere because I wasn’t going to compromise my authenticity for them.
Needless to say, there was some unique aspects to the conversation that challenged this way of thinking. They asked tough questions and tried to get me to doubt what I have done and the value of what I have built thus far. It would have been easy to slip back into “like me” mode but I didn’t. So I held firm. I answered their questions honestly. I played the game but didn’t compromise myself or my values to validate in their minds why I belonged at that table. Then I let them figure that out for themselves.
We all face situations where we might compromise ourselves to gain acceptance from a spouse, friend, co-worker or boss. It’s those moments of truth that we must ask ourselves is it worth it? Is it worth gaining someone’s acceptance if what they are really getting is a fraud?
The right people show up in your life exactly when they are supposed to. Don’t screw it up by compromising your values to try and further impress them. People will eventually see through the veil. Then when they see you’ve been acting as something you are not, they won’t ever trust you again. And of course you will undoubtedly miss a great opportunity for a great relationship.
It’s true in life, business, romance and friendship.
You are definitely good enough so don’t change just because you think you have to to impress someone. Because if you do, you’ll hate yourself in the morning.