This may be tough to hear…
Ever been told that? And if you were, how did you take the “feedback” offered so bluntly?
I’ve been through it enough to steel myself, breathe in deeply and recite a mini-mantra in my head of it’s all good.
For it is, all good.
This is how life goes. You burst forth in all your person-ness, unique and new and ready to offer a heartfelt cry, and people listen. They hold you close. Everything you do is adorable and precious and lovable.
Eventually, you grow older and the tantrums become more intricate, but it’s written off as oh, she’s just a toddler, oh he’s still a little boy, oh teenage years…
The tantrums are indulged more or less by the people who love you so damn much because they feel it’s the ride of parenthood or family relationships. But deep down, few people have tolerance for who you really are.
That’s just the sad, odd truth.
They have their own stories and their own missteps, their own fears driving the train wreck. They put onto you every deep dark secret they’ve never told a soul. It’s your fault, your problem, you.
Sometimes it might be. Sometimes you might really screw up a project or say something that comes across as bitchy or obnoxious. So what?
Anyone who is intolerant of utter humanness is too frail to understand the complexities of being. You will wail and scream and complain and whine and you know what else? You will also love and hug and passionately defend people and ideas and if you are allowed the freedom to do so, you will usher into this world such beauty as has never been seen before.
When people believe in you, you can rock the world on its edge.
The key, though, is also to believe in yourself. So when that creepy voice says, you may not like the sound of this, or don’t be offended but… decide not to care. Take it in, listen carefully, perhaps there is some truth and wisdom you can learn from.
Or maybe not.
And that’s ok, too.
If you screw up a project, there may have been a good reason. Perhaps the directions were faulty. Or maybe you were rushed. Or perhaps it was a day fraught with complications and you just didn’t see it. Make amends. Make revisions. And move the hell on.
Yesterday, a young man in the beginning of his public relations career asked to meet me for coffee to offer some advice as to how he might build relationships with media folks.
What it comes down, I told him, is a desire to truly connect as people. Build relationships. Make friends. Say thank you…a lot. Offer to help even when it’s not about your client, or any client. Just offer to help.
When people see there is mutual benefit and a genuine concern for the greater good, the relationship will deepen. And you’ll have those connections.
You can’t take the easy way out. But you also can’t take the blame.
It’s a give and take, this life. Make sure you’re not too much on either side.