I tend to walk around without a smile on my face; I’m not angry or upset, I just don’t tend to smile. When I talk to people, I also do not tend to smile; it’s no reflection on the other, it’s just me. However, when I speak to people my lack of smiles often is perceived as me being upset with them or disinterested and so on.
In most training sessions, we’re told it’s ok to be ourselves. This is said with the intent of wanting us to relax, feel ‘safe’, and to try new things. Yet, sometimes ‘being yourself’ is what is stopping us from learning something new.
For my communication to improve, one of the things I need to do is stop being myself and learn to be slightly different (i.e. smile more). My natural reaction is to respond by saying, ‘this is just me’, but if I keep insisting on being myself, things won’t change.
While this is a small and somewhat simplistic example, the same can often be true about larger change projects. There are habits, behaviours, processes that need to be unlearnt or new ways of being need to be learnt to dislodge the old.
Continuing to be ourselves won’t achieve this change; we need to be different. Insisting on being ourselves is a form of resistance. We need to practice the new behaviours individually and collectively. And yes, I’ve been trying to smile while I write this :).