Photo Credit to https://unsplash.com/@clemono

I was in a conversation the other day where we were discussing a potential Request for Proposal (RFP) for a program that will be changing hands. I asked if we had considered one of our local nonprofits as a potential partner. We had not. One of the people mentioned that another group member who had left early was on the board of this organization. I asked why this person didn’t bring this up and was told that he keeps his work and personal life separate.

The next words out of my mouth were “I am working so hard to get people to stop doing that”.

We have all heard the term that we wear different hats. My hats include my role at the Central Florida Foundation, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of Orange County, member of the Mayor’s multi-cultural committee, wife, mother, animal lover, world traveler just to name a few. We all play different roles in our lives, but how often do we think about integrating them? What benefits one group you are in, may benefit another. I get confidentiality and conflict of interest. Those things are important, but not sharing information can be a conflict as well.

The other area we often get stuck in is group think. How many times have you walked out of a meeting only to join up with a group in the parking lot (pre-COVID) and a bunch of people are complaining about the outcome? I worked for an agency that didn’t buy a building that was a great price because one board member thought we shouldn’t take out a mortgage. I received calls after the meeting from board members who asked why we made the decision not to buy the building. My simple answer was “You voted against it”. Would the outcome have been different if they had challenged the idea of not taking out the mortgage? I don’t know, but at least we could have had a real discussion.

Some of biggest challenges to bringing your full self are distractions and stress. Distractions are easy to define. They can be texts coming in, emails you feel like you need to answer right now, or even boredom (I get fidgity when meetings go too long). Stress may be more subtle. I have had to learn to re-set myself to go from one meeting to another or moving to another task. I think it is important to give your full self to others in the meeting you are in. This one I have to work on all the time, but it is that important. I have learned to practice mindfulness, listen to calming music, and also to take a deep breath before I walk into (or call into) a meeting.

So before your next meeting, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I bringing all of my hats?

2. Am I willing to go against the flow? This doesn’t mean creating conflict, it can be as simple as asking probing questions?

3. Have I eliminated distractions and stress?

When you can answer yes, you can show up as your full self.

Reposted from Linkedin