Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lesson Learned



The most important lesson from my childhood that I want my daughter to learn is this:

“Be yourself. If people don’t like you for who you are, that’s their problem.”

Today I read this post on LinkedIn that suggested being yourself is indulgent and unprofessional. The writer’s words were “Express your individuality on your own time.”

The writer claimed that “just being me” is a bad thing.



I think if “me” is annoying, obnoxious, or inconsiderate then that is probably true. But if “me” is 

honest, 

interested, and 

giving 

then I’d rather you be you than an insipid, placating member of the machine any day.

I’m not hiring, but if I were, I’d hire me.

So when I received a “thanks but no thanks” email from a company yesterday I emailed back and asked what, specifically, turned them off.

I admitted my query email was a bit casual. It expressed my enthusiasm for the company’s mission and suggested I could help them continue to do their very good work. The email was written in my voice and since it was responding to an ad for a writer, I thought writing in my voice would be a good way to demonstrate what they could expect if they picked me.

They didn’t pick me.

The accommodating HR person responded to my follow-up email with an explanation that called my email unorthodox (euphemism?) and accused me of committing a grammar error.

I teach grammar. No grammar error. I did find a capitalization error following a prepositional phrase like this, “it could have been worse.” But, really, I was probably the only person that chanced dialogue in my query letter anyway.

At first I thought I’d made a mistake in presenting myself so informally in a query letter. Go ahead, HR people, chime in about professionalism and formality and all that.

I know that despite being 36 years old, a grown up, a professional, and a business owner, I’m still expected to kowtow and beg for work. (sarcasm)

Then I thought about that lesson I’m teaching my daughter. The second half, you remember, reads like this:

If people don’t like you for WHO YOU ARE, that’s their problem.

Yep. Their problem. My voice is not my problem. Being me is not my problem. They don’t like it and that’s their problem.

Why would a self-proclaimed Thought Leadership company want someone with a PhD in leadership? I’m basically trained to think about leadership. It’s my job. But, that’s cool. Ya’ll go on thought leadering with me.

On the playground yesterday a little boy was attempting to boss my daughter into a role in a game he was organizing.

Hollie responded, “I don’t have to do that. I’m a GIRL. I go to Just for Girls Preschool and I can be whatever I want to be.”

Lesson learned.

Like I said last week, someone wants what I have. I’m still looking for those people; more and more of them are arriving on Clemson Road every day.

Think being yourself is a great approach? Leave a comment below!

6 comments:

  1. Love it! I use that quote a lot as a reminder that whatever people think of me is none of my business. If someone doesn't think I'm awesome just the way I am (and I am, by the way), there's no reason to fret about it. I don't want someone to think I'm awesome because I had to convince them of it. I'm glad you are passing this on to Hollie. She is a superstar and you are raising an awesome daughter.

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    1. Thanks, Em. My Nana says, "You wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they do." It's not an easy thing to be an authentic person but it's the path I've chosen.

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  2. Thank you for re-affirming what I have always known; you are AWESOME just the way you are. By instilling in Hollie the same self confidence, she is learning how to find her way in the world and is getting the tools she needs to succeed. You, my dear, are unique; there is no one else exactly like you and I am so glad you have embraced this about yourself. Over the years I have learned that when I am true to myself and uphold my belief in myself then I am truly successful. Keep up the great work; you are on the right track in more ways than you even know!

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    1. Thanks, mom. I know you've always been my biggest fan and that helps more than you know.

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  3. Well, Kasie, I sure would hire you. Appreciate your honesty in this post -- and so much enjoyed your young energy at the book club yesterday.

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    1. Oh my goodness! I have been gushing about you, Ellyn Bache! Ha! Thanks so much for coming by my blog and thanks again for spending time with our book club yesterday and with me afterward. I look forward to seeing you again.

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