leadership, personal

Explaining the affirmations – part 3

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve noticed a daily post for the last 5-6 weeks (if you want to see them, go to @realrickarpin on twitter). It started with these:

Today is the day that matters. Today I will treat others w/ kindness, respond w/ patience and mercy, and above all clothe myself w/ love.

I will be a positive leader. Adversity will come, lots of it. But it won’t stop me from encouraging, listening to, and appreciating others.

In my last two posts, I explained why I came to do affirmations, and how I came up with the first two affirmations.

Today I will discuss my third affirmation:

I will build rapport and relationships with others. I will put myself “out there” to the point where I am uncomfortable.

This affirmation is relatively simple, I am an introvert who is sometimes socially awkward. There are a couple of things to unpack there. On the introvert/extrovert issue, I highly recommend you read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. Many folks who know me, especially only casually, don’t believe me when I say I’m an introvert; but I’ve taken the personality profiles and I am. And Susan Cain’s book helps explain the disconnect – being an introvert or an extrovert isn’t strictly about whether you are “social” or “good around people,” rather it is about energy. Introverts get their energy from time alone, in thought. They lose energy quickly when around others. Extroverts are the opposite, they get their energy from those around them. So I can “perform” well in public, for a time. But afterwards I will be drained and just want to “be alone.”

I am also sometimes socially awkward. Luckily these skills can be learned. All I’m talking about here is a combination of not knowing best tactics for engaging in conversations with new people, topics to discuss or avoid, how much time to listen versus talk, where to focus my attention, etc. So sometimes at events I feel like the odd person out of conversations, or I feel like I can’t interject into a small group, or I get distracted instead of focusing only on the person I’m engaging with.

My affirmation simply pushes me to embrace that uncomfortable feeling, because like any skill or discipline, you don’t grow when you are feeling comfortable. Like learning a new technique in golf, for example. So if I put myself in uncomfortable situations, I will get a little better; I won’t change who I am, just show up better in all situations.

I strategically posted this affirmation when I was traveling at a conference, a typical “uncomfortable” situation for me. And you will likely know I’m engaging in similar activities every time you see this affirmation.



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