One of the greatest internal struggles is oftentimes the desire to hold back, to hide, to only bring the "right" traits to the table.
One of the most common challenges I see with my coaching clients, and a challenge I know all too well personally, is the fear of embracing our innate personality traits because we are afraid they will be seen as flaws or judged negatively by others.
The first company commander I had in the Army referred to me as “Napoleon's' Corporal.” She said that because I asked so many questions, if I understood something, she could assume that everyone else understood it as well. True story.
I’ve always been very curious. And sure, sometimes this has been interpreted as a flaw. I’ve been called nosey (I love to open cabinets and doors to see what’s behind them and I’m easily distracted by other people’s conversations). It’s been assumed that I ask questions because I don’t understand (as above). And some people find it annoying (yes, I am sometimes that person in the meeting who asks another question even though the rest of you want to kill me).
The impact of holding back
To avoid these judgements, I’ve kept questions to myself when I really wanted to understand something more thoroughly for fear of being seen as dense. I’ve hesitated to reach out to check in on people for fear of being seen as intrusive. And I’ve resisted offering to help with something that may have been seen as none of my business.
When we think a character trait is a flaw or something we must hide, we spend precious energy trying to suppress it, manage it, or keep it down. And that, my friends, is stressful and exhausting.
The beauty of being yourself
On the other hand, when we embrace our characteristics, appreciate them, and see the value in them, we can use them in our lives in a way that serves us and serves our purpose. And I believe we actually gain more control over our unique personality when we allow it. When I channel my curious energy toward something productive, I am less likely to use it in a way that may not reflect my best self (*cough* gossip *cough*).
The truth is, my curiosity serves me in a way that I am incredibly grateful for - I love to learn new things that I can use to become a better version of myself so that I can be a better coach, mom, friend, business owner, etc. The questions I ask help me gain a lot of understanding and clarity. I get to know people way beyond the surface. And as a coach, I go deep to find the roots of a problem instead of accepting the symptom as the true problem (more on that in another post) so my clients get long-lasting results instead of short-term fixes.
Oh - and that company commander - she was shocked when I graduated at the top of my class from Officer Basic Course.
So, what are you afraid of sharing with the world? What beautiful, valuable, part of you are you holding back? What characteristic do you need to let shine?
Need some help figuring this out? I created a worksheet with a simple process to help you identify your strengths that may be masquerading as flaws. You can grab it HERE.
I’ve been through this process with plenty of characteristics. I’ve been called bossy, stubborn, emotional, flashy (yup)… the list goes on. At first, I was offended by all of these, but as I’ve done the work to really get to know myself, I can find the truth and beauty in all of them.
If you need a pro to help you embrace your personality and find the gifts within, let’s chat. I worked with a coach to sort out “flashy” and it was immensely helpful! You can book a free call with me HERE.