In the job and in life, we show up and engage. So do other people. And when other people show up in a way that doesn’t match the way we show up, it can feel like a big problem.
They are not pulling their weight.
They are not being kind.
They are overreacting.
They are not judging the situation fairly.
How other people show up feels so important that we can have a Big Reaction to it. We then get to the point where we adjust how we as individuals show up!
We adjust how we show up to accommodate how others show up.
We adjust our behavior in the hopes it will modify others’ behavior.
We say or do things differently expecting that to influence others.
We believe that how we show up and how others behave is a cause-effect relationship.
It’s so not.
We can’t control other people. Cognitively, we understand that sentence. But it doesn’t mean we believe it. I do one thing, and the other person reacts or responds, right? Cause –> effect, right?
You decide to do a thing…. But then the other person layers interpretation, mood, history, culture, indigestion, and more into their reaction or response. 99.9% of their reaction or response has nothing to do with you. Anything you would interpret as an “appropriate” response or something you were hoping would happen is purely coincidental.
Because we believe deep down inside that there is a cause and effect relationship between how we show up and how others respond, we interpret those coincidences as evidence that the cause and effect is at play when it’s not.
No matter how you adjust your behavior, other people are just always going to do what they want. If they want to please you, then great. But if not, you’re in for a world of disappointment, confusion and resentment that it didn’t play out the way it “should” have.
How about this instead: how about you decide how you’re going to show up regardless of others’ reactions? How about you show up the way you want to, in alignment with your beliefs and professional values, and just stop there?
How you show up is the only thing that matters.
So you’ve got to proactively decide how you want to show up and deliver on the job, regardless of what your boss, clients, or coworkers think.
They might love it.
They might hate it.
They might want you to change it.
They might not react at all.
But isn’t that what happens already? So why waste energy worrying about how others show up differently than you do? Why concern yourself with adjusting how you show up to influence how others show up?
They are just going to keep doing what they want anyway.
You might as well proactively decide how to show up. Bring the best version of yourself. Every time.