“I am passionate about getting people outside in their gardens more, but people think I’m just an electrician.”
“We are an impact company, but our customers come to us because we have tech they want.”
Whether as individuals or organisations, it is not uncommon to be viewed by others differently than you view yourself. Sometimes people ‘see’ things in us that we can’t ‘see’ ourselves. While other times, people categorise us and don’t expect more.
This can be frustrating.
But also an opportunity.
When we know ourselves. When we are clear on our identity. Our values. It doesn’t matter what people think we are. Their views are a starting point of a journey that you can take them on. People’s views are not fixed.
Remember people who you thought were one thing, but turned out to be another. The classic is the ‘dumb jock’ who turned out to be a doctor. Or the arrogant jerk who turned out to incredibly generous and kind and became your best friend.
Therefore if people approach because they think you are one thing, meet them there. And if you can, give them what the ‘want’, but take them on a journey to give them what they ‘need’.
Embrace the starting point people meet you at. Welcome them generously. Then take them on a journey and show them who you really are. But always be the guide and make them the hero or heroine of the story.
This was inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with extremely smart and passionate people doing incredible work. Thank you Max and Christie – our conversation was the highlight of my day.
Photo by TK Hammonds