I met a potential new client a few weeks ago (pre-pandemic). I read his bio before we met. He was very impressive: Ivy League education, doctorate degree, incredible work experience…and for the first time in a long time, I found myself feeling intimidated and inadequate.
I quickly fell into the compare and despair game that we all play from time to time. How in the world was my Oklahoma public school education and work experience going to stack up to someone who graduated with honors from Harvard?
As I was driving to meet him, I told myself that I needed to tone down my “happy Heather” personality and be more serious…not smile as much, don’t laugh, etc.
In other words, I felt that in order to make a good impression, I couldn’t really be me.
Fast forward to our meeting. It was a little clunky at first, primarily due to my insecurities. And truth be told…he didn’t have the warmest personality.
Then, something snapped in me. I remember thinking to myself, “Stop it, Heather. Stop this crap. Just be you.” So, I sat straight up in my chair…I smiled…I laughed on occasion and didn’t hold back talking about all the cool things I had done in my professional life because you know what – there’s a lot of really neat things I’ve led and been a part of, darn it!
Here’s the deal. There are some people who will never warm up to you. There are some people who will look at your past experiences and not think much of it.
So, why try and be someone you’re not?
Funny enough, once I changed my strategy mid-meeting to just be myself, that became more attractive to him. We ended up having a really good conversation. And the crazy thing was…. By the time I got home and checked my email, he had sent an email asking for my resume and additional information.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned since that meeting is that you shouldn’t ever have to apologize for or feel less than where (and who) you are in this world. We all have unique experiences that form and shape who we are…and that should be celebrated!
I found a quote that really resonated with me: “In a world full of copies, be an original.”
When you find yourself trying your hardest to fit in and “make” someone like you, remember to be true to the one that really matters…and that’s you.