Be Less So

It was the kind of compliment every speaker wants to hear. It was even more special because the person giving it someone I admire and look up to in the speaker/trainer world.

“Your presentation was flawless.”

The words dripped from her mouth like honey.

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I wanted to savor that word for days… flawless.

But, alas… my shiny toothed grin was replaced with a confused grimace when she added…

“now, my advice is to be less so…”

WTH?!!!!

What does that even mean?

Be less so?

Less flawless? 

(Ummmmm… flawless is what I’ve been trying to achieve for my whole life.)

Are you kidding me?

I finally achieved a “flawless” presentation, and now I’ve got to back to goofing them up, again…that sounds horrible.

What the h$%& am I doing wrong?

She went on to explain that I needed to show more of who I really am, more of the real, raw, gritty stuff.

That sounded even worse than horrible.

Ugh… I needed chocolate or wine… BOTH… I NEEDED BOTH.

I wanted to whine to her and say “but don’t you see…I’ve worked so hard at this, I want... I need to be polished, professional, credible… I mean, my talk was on Executive Presence of all things.  If I’m teaching it, shouldn’t I carry myself as uber professional, polished and articulate?  Shouldn’t I try to hide away all the stuff that isn’t so executive about me?  Surely, I must be able to say the right words, at the right moment, with perfect clarity, while standing confidently in my nicest outfit.”

(Make that a double order of chocolate please…and bring the bottle of cab.)

Sigh.

My actual response went something like yeah… oh yeah, I can see that.”

How’s that for confident and articulate?

It took some time, and a conversation with a mentor to for me understand what be less so really means.

And, as it turns out, this unexpected phrase has been one of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given since I started my business.

Let me tell you why.

First, the world is filled with fakes. I don’t want to be fake, and neither do you. When I show myself, flaws and all, to you it makes it easier for you to share your flaws and flubs too.   And then we get to learn from each other, from what didn’t go right the first time (or the second…or third…).

Second, it forced me to trust what I know on a whole new level.  You see, I’m not too shabby at memorized talks and performance tasks. I over prepare and practice. Something that I encourage my clients not to do, but still struggle with sometimes because I’m the “expert” and I take it so seriously that it’s not fun. And, it comes off as “know it all-ish” (I made that word up).,

Third, “Be less so,” inspired me to start this blog.  Which has not only been cathartic  (because I can share so many of my blunders here with you) but it’s also given me a voice, a platform and an emerging audience (and that’s way cool).

Finally, it gave me permission to be myself.  Now, I know, I’m a grown up… I shouldn’t need a permission slip to be myself.  But I’m human, like you, and sometimes need to hear from others that it’s OK to be who I am.

So, today, I’m encouraging you today to “be less so.”  Let your guard down a little and share more your real, raw, gritty self with the rest of us.

(But let’s not get carried away…posting pictures of yourself on the internet in your underwear or showing up to your board meeting in your I love Tacos tank is no bueno.)

Let’s make it easier on each other to be a little more flawed and a lot more human. 

 

P.S. Like these posts? Finding them helpful? Share a comment or question below and let’s keep this conversation going!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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