Photo by Elven*Nicky
I was reading Marshall Goldsmith post on the Harvard Business review blog titled: “Do You Have an Excessive Need to Be Yourself?“. He talks about the fact that people use the excuse “That’s just the way I am!” to avoid tackling hard challenges and important tasks. He uses an example of a manager who avoided giving recognition to his employees because he felt like a phony and excused it by saying: “it’s just not me”. This is how Goldsmith ends the post:
Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself resisting change because you are clinging to a false — and probably pointless — notion of “me”
While I agree that many times the “That’s just the way I am!” thinking is used as an excuse, there is a difference between a “false — and probably pointless — notion of ‘me'” and an actual weakness. There are differences between inherent talents and skills or behaviors. While I agree that we should try and see if we can do things, we should be careful from falling prey to the notion that everybody can be good at anything. There is a difference between just recognizing employees and doing it all heartedly and with empathy. The technical part, almost everybody can do. Excelling at it is reserved to those who have the inherent talent. And if you don’t have it, you might be able to get to the technical level of mastering it, but you will never excel at it.
Of course, that does not mean that you should give up. Because usually, if you are weak in one thing, your strength lies somewhere else and that strength can help you circumvent your weakness. Or you can use a process to make sure that something is done properly. Or you can partner with someone who has the opposite strengths to help complete you.
This is why I am not fond of the title of Goldsmith’s post. You should try to be as much yourself as you can. You just need to make sure you understand who you really are before you go about doing that. Thus, I do agree with the main message that comes out of Goldsmith’s post: you have to try. You have to discover yourself and realize what your true strengths and weaknesses are and what are just “false — and probably pointless — notion[s] of ‘me'”.
So, when is the last time you tried finding out who the “real you” is?