Post from Transformation Tom™- Be Yourself—the Paradox: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 24, 2019 - News - No Comments

Be Yourself paradox

Dress to impress. You are told you are constantly onstage and people
are constantly paying attention to you. Your manager is watching your
every move. Now, just try to be yourself. We panic and get uptight when
our boss’s boss asks for something. Thoughts go through our mind, such
as, “Will this be good enough for them?”, “I need to impress them,” and
“What do I need to do to get noticed?” When we have senior leaders visit
our building, everyone seems to panic. Messages go out to clean up the
work areas, and all of a sudden our business-casual dress code goes away
and the ties come back out. If the suits and ties aren’t on, there are at least
blue blazers everywhere.

I used to wonder if I didn’t get that last promotion because my shirt
was wrinkled that one time. I now can’t remember what I wore yesterday,
let alone keep track of everyone else. This isn’t about how you dress, it is
about how you present yourself…everyday. You shouldn’t put on an act
just because there are special guests. In fact, what message does that send
to people who work for you and work with you if you suddenly change?
There are higher ranked people out there, so what? The key is to find your
personality and be consistent with it. If you like to create a fun-looking
environment with decorations all around, why can’t your upper management see it? If you made the decision to put it up, why can’t it stay up? If you maintain a clean and safe environment all of the time, there shouldn’t be a panic the night before someone comes. I learned to rarely fret over my environment because I maintain it on a regular basis and attempt to teach everyone the importance of presenting themselves respectfully every day, anyway.

I had to learn to stop trying to impress everyone, all the time. I
wanted to take care of my manager, take care of my peers, and take care
of the people who worked for me. I wanted to be everywhere, all the
time, and give everyone what they wanted when they wanted it. I got
disappointed in myself if my boss requested changes or offered suggestions.
I took it personally because they were not impressed with my work.
I found I tensed up during presentations, used words that were not natural
to me, and tended to be over the top in making the effort to ensure
that I was noticed.

When we were in the midst of my former company being bought
out, I had a choice to work harder and impress more people, or just do
my job to the best of my ability. I was concerned about the unknown, but
had confidence in my own ability. I found that the stress of this transition
brought out personalities I had never seen before. I saw selfishness
in some people who wanted all of the glory, I saw people give up, and I
saw people who I thought had loyalty to the company turn their heads. It
was an interesting time for everyone. However, the ones who impressed
me the most were the ones who never changed along the way. I learned
a valuable lesson about the importance of being myself. What did I have
to worry about? I was comfortable in my own skin and my confidence
had been growing. I was always commended for my hard work, so what
needed to change? I had feedback given to me on how to improve, and
the only challenge I now had was how to implement the feedback and still
be myself. I began to understand how I could do that.

I can’t tell you how much more satisfied and content I was with
my job and the company when I let down my guard enough to be Tom
Dowd. I was not Tom Dowd the Banker, or Tom Dowd the Manager, or
Tom Dowd (place label here). I was starting to be more engaging and
had more personal conversations to get to know people. It wasn’t wasting
time like I had always thought in the past. I could carry a conversation
and I could also balance it with my business needs. I was relating to
people, because they were starting to relate to me.

I could attend my child’s play, concert, or game on my own terms
because I wanted to be there, because I was being myself, knowing that
the job would get done. I was building a stronger bond with the people I
worked for and worked with, because they knew exactly what they were
getting with me. I had the confidence to know what needed to be done
at work and when it had to be done. If there was a conflict, I used my
strong relationships to talk to my manager about it. I would instill in
them enough confidence to know the job would get done, whether it was
by delegating or working different hours. That’s not trying to impress,
that’s just getting your job done the right way.

I have never whipped my cell phone out to look busy in the hall, and
have never intentionally sent emails at all hours of the night to impress
someone. I have also never been accused of not getting my job done on
time and I am always cited as doing it with the utmost quality. There is a
balance to what I do now. I ensure that I am conscious of my work quality
from the beginning and I don’t have to panic at the last minute. Work
hard. Work smart. Success will take care of itself if you work in the right
company and for the right people. If you work in a place where you are
constantly on guard, ask yourself, “Is this the right culture for me? Can I
be myself?”

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

See “Products” for details on  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed:

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music,, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

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