Updated: Jan 27, 2021
I had a conversation with someone who came in and out of my life over a year. When he was
not in my life I would declare I was done, I was annoyed, I was what so many of us have said time and time again, “over it”. But when he was in my life, 50% of the time I said those same things and the other 50% I’d be laughing hysterically with him and talking about everything and nothing. During one of those latter 50% times, he told me what he liked about me and one of the reasons he listed was that I am so “chill” with him.
He had no idea about the other 50% or about the times he was not in my life. He had no idea that his actions frustrated me, his words were on one road, we were on another and I said those things, deleted his phone number a hundred times and said “I’m done”. He had no idea that “chill” about him actually never existed, because what happens behind the curtain, was not for him to see, just me, and a few of my nearest and dearest of course.
A mentor recently told me that he appreciated my humor and was glad to see me become more confident over the years in my role. I jokingly replied it was my humor that got me my job, but I was glad to see skill and confidence over time helped me keep it. It’s in the timing, it’s something about showing up how we want to be seen. Somehow, in business, I put my best self forward, and it just so happens, it usually comes right after a knock knock joke, an imitation, or a regaling of some story with facial expressions and all.
This got me thinking about that Judy Garland quote “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
I give 100% of who I want people to see. At work, I give 100% of skill, dedication, humor, sometimes exhaustion, and transparency in frustration (to some, not to others). At home I give 100% of who I am to my dogs. That’s it, they don’t judge. To my dear friends and family, I give 100% of love, care, humor, frustration, support, sadness, exhaustion and fear. But do I give them to everyone at all times? No. Because not everyone needs to see those parts during certain periods of their lives. So I give 100% of what is needed, either by them or by me. And at the exact same time, I could be giving 100% of the opposite to someone else, because that is what is needed. And to someone I’m interested in dating, to be honest, I have no idea who shows up for the dates, because somehow I just wing it, and 100% of the time it’s not worked out in their favor.
But without question, I do not play a second-rate version of somebody else and I never will again, if I ever have before. If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us to be fragile and authentic and unapologetically scared and unapologetically happy, because we can’t control emotions and we shouldn’t have to hide them either.
Have you ever read the book The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz? If you haven’t, I highly suggest it. One point he emphasizes is that the character you play in someone else’s story doesn’t have anything to do with the character you play in your own story. So if someone wants to see me as chill because that’s the character I play in their story and someone else wants to see me as needy because that’s the character I play in their story or perhaps in business in someone’s story I am funny and lack confidence and in another I am funny and intimidating (notice, funny, always funny)…all I know is that my character is who I am and who I choose to be and with that, I choose to play the best first rate version of who I have become, and still funny.
What about you?