They say you learn something new every day. I intend to diarise a series I can look back on to remind myself of things I’ve realised and take it forward into 2016.
I had an external morning meeting today for work which I was feeling pretty nervous about.
I’d prepared for it well, I knew what I wanted to say and knew exactly what I wanted to put across but I’d met the person before and, if I’m being entirely honest, felt intimidated by them.
That’s not to say they weren’t lovely upon first meeting. They were polite and charming and listened sincerely whilst I went ahead and introduced myself and then proceeded to ramble about who I am and what I do, all in an attempt to put forward an infectious enthusiasm for what I do which sadly just came across as inarticulate and frankly, a little weird. They however smiled kindly in all the right places.
I’m a pretty laid back person but when it comes to social or networking events I always suffer from a degree of anxiety. At this particular event where I first met this particular individual, they were the guest speaker and spoke so confidently and convincingly that I felt about an inch small just being around them. Added to this I couldn’t shake the feeling that, when talking one on one, although they acted in all the lovely ways that I’ve mentioned above, there was also an abruptness about them, a sort of form of assertiveness that I assumed was a reaction to me not being good enough to communicate on their level. Nonetheless after our initial conversation, a second meeting was set up and we both turned up today for a chat and a coffee.
And I was blown away.
This person who I’d initially found so intimidating was, well, exactly the same as I’d remembered them being from the first time – equally as intimidating.
BUT the difference was that as we came to converse in a natural and unforced way, I realised that their assertive, abrupt manner was not a reaction to me but was, in fact just a part of their demeanour. And I really came to warm to it. It’s so refreshing to speak to someone so straight forward, who cuts through the crap, gets to the point but still remains so caring, genuine and considerate to talk to. And they really seemed to warm to me. I hadn’t been annoying them all along! It made me remember, something I knew all along, that people in all their various forms are fascinating and that, just because people have an edge that I’m not used to, doesn’t mean that it’s a wall that they’re putting up to buffer them from me – it’s not all about me!! That’s actually a pretty self-absorbed insecurity to have.
Anyway, I recognise that this is a pretty trivial first lesson but I wanted to note it down to remind myself of it the next time I come into contact with someone who is successful and confident and who may intimidate me.
On another note, I also learnt that if you go for your afternoon jog along the beach in a mini wind storm, you’re going to end up with a sack load of sand in your mouth.