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Wellbeing

Confession: Why it’s not easy being me

This year I made a commitment to be me. Strangely enough, it’s one of the most difficult challenges I've faced since starting my business. Here’s why.

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When I talk face-to-face with my clients I’m completely myself, but for some reason when I correspond with them, I become formal. I’ve thought about this, a lot, and I’ve come up with the following excuses ummm reasons.

It’s not my fault, it’s how I’ve been trained. I’m a scientist.

I’m a scientist, and as a result I trained for many years to improve my analytical skills and ability to interpret data without bias. Yep, that’s how I roll.

As a forensic scientist my writing also had to be 100 per cent accurate in case it was relied upon as evidence in court. So as you can imagine, there wasn’t much scope for injecting my sparkling personality into notes on blood swabs.

I’ve been trained for almost 20 years to report the facts. It’s a hard habit to break.

I’m a chicken

The written word is kind of permanent. The broadcasting effect of the internet takes it to a whole other level. What if I write something stupid? What if I ruin the reputation of my business? There are plenty of ‘what ifs’.

"I care what people think. I worry that if I’m myself, people won't like me…This article is one big confession of weakness."

Instead of just writing naturally I’ve become so paralysed by the fear of stuffing up, that my business writing is so beige, making it impossible for my personality to shine through. Yes, I need to start taking risks, one grammatically incorrect sentence at a time.

I want to be liked

I care what people think, my family, my friends and people I haven’t even met. I worry that if I’m myself, people won’t like me. Funny thing though, since I started being more myself on Twitter, I’m getting more interaction. Who’d have thought?

I don’t want to show weakness

I’m working really hard to establish myself as an authority in my area of specialisation. For some reason I’ve decided this means I need to appear that I have all the answers, which is rubbish – no one has all of the answers.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers in person, but when I correspond, I don’t want to admit to any lack of knowledge, no matter how minor. This article is one big confession of weakness, so I’m ripping off the band-aid!

Surely my clients will want me to be serious?

 I have two main client groups: people from small business and people from scientific facilities.

While initially these groups seem quite different, they have one important thing in common – they are all people. People who are sick of reading the same boring copy and hearing the same bland promises. People who wouldn’t mind a laugh. So I have to remind myself that as long as my copy or article contains useful information, it’s okay to switch off formality in favour of being me. I’m currently working on a revamp of my website to reflect this.

Thinking that I’ll never be as good as other writers

I’ll write an article, slowly revealing a skerrick of personality (baby steps), I’ll be so proud and look forward to my publishing date, only to find that my article fades into obscurity between Kate Toon and Robert Gerrish’s articles. Uurgggh! It’s alright, I now concentrate firmly on my articles, my writing, and my improvement – and I love the satisfaction I get from writing.

So that’s why it’s so difficult to be me.

However, I’ve resolved to change. This year you will see the real me.

Do you find it difficult being yourself? How have you overcome this?

Mary Gardam

is the Principal Quality Advisor at LogiQA. She has held a number of senior quality roles but is now enjoying introducing small business to the benefits of business systems. Mary also lectures in Quality Systems at Griffith University.

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