What kinds of events feel most draining to you?
For me it’s a professional meeting where I need to dress up in uncomfortable business-casual attire and use good manners.
Trying to act businesslike for hours and hours EXHAUSTS me! When the metaphorical bell rings at the end of the day, I hightail it out of there so I can trade my “appropriate” clothes for unrestrictive PJs. I find it exhilaratingly liberating to go from being “on” to just being.
But I noticed that not everyone feels this way. I watch colleagues finish the same all-day meetings from which I cannot wait to escape, and choose to immediately re-congregate for a group dinner. Huh? How? From what source do these super-humans muster that kind of energy?
Are you in the camp that enjoys staying “in the mix,” or are you with me, leaving tire marks on the pavement as you speed toward the precious relief of solitude?
I started observing the “un-tireds” (as I now call them) who don’t get worn out from hours of behaving themselves. I also began “interviewing” myself about why I want to run from formal settings. I asked “How can the untireds and I have such different energy levels at the end of the day?”
I think it comes down to this… In social settings I burn a lot of energy worrying about how I am being perceived. Nonstop I wrestle with imposter syndrome. And that burns energy. Massive, massive, amounts of energy.
This was a big “a-ha” because if I can free up all of the bandwidth I use fretting about what people think of me, I will have lots more creative energy for problem solving, connecting with people, and yes, maybe even re-congregating for the post-meeting-social.
Don’t get me wrong, my Old Navy pajama pants will forever be my favorite clothing item. And I believe some of us are introverted, drawing our energy from within; while others are extraverted and generate energy from the external world. I’m not talking about changing my core nature. But what I would love to shift is the energy I use up being self-conscious. I think that expenditure is a waste. I’d like to reclaim that energy through the relaxation and efficiency of being myself.
I know deep down that being authentic is the only way to build solid relationships anyway. If I put on an act and people like me, all I know is that people like my act. Until I am “real” I don’t get to have the real me accepted.
So I’m working on ditching the act. And on that journey I met Ryan Foland, a friend who literally wrote the book called “Ditch the Act.” You can check it out here. It’s about how we try to present a rosy picture of ourselves. In doing so, we actually miss the chance to present our BEST selves, which, ironically, would connect us with others.
This is also why I started the Advice Column podcast. I’m drawn in when someone shares their story openly. I want you and I to both have the chance to grow from hearing people share their stories authenticity. So I’m collecting these “real” conversations, organizing them by topic, and packaging them into a podcast.
You can put on your most comfortable pair of pajama pants and listen to the latest episode here.
Lots of love,
PS – What’s your most comfy item of clothing? I’d love to hear!