Did you hear the one about the leopard that lost its spots? No? It's probably more likely that you have heard of the one about the leopard that doesn't change its spots.
Whenever you hear about that leopard it is usually in a negative context. It speaks about not really being able to trust someone, because despite all appearances to the contrary, they will ultimately revert back to their base character. Normally to your detriment.
We can conclude that mankind has a good incentive to distrust someone when they have decided something negative about the other person's character. That can have significant consequences if you have been judged to be wanting.
Mankind also has strong incentives to build rapport with others and to fit in. To become a chameleon. To be all things, to all people.
It's a dichotomy. It's also an old survival technique. It's a confusion.
How can you be 'yourself', but liked and accepted by many?
This 'natural' urge can be very damaging to the psyche. It can cause a loss of self that can be very traumatic and long lasting. I had that feeling of being 'lost' in my late teens. I remember wondering who I was. At that time, I realised that I was a completely different person at work, at home, with different groups of friends. In my desire to build rapport and be the best person for the person I was with - I had completely submerged my character.
I realised that if I had a party and invited all my friends and colleagues to it, and then they got talking about me - they would not recognise the description of me. I was that different! Truly, all things to all people. I felt dreadful, I had lost my Maverick nature!
When I look at that time (which was thankfully very brief), I can see that 'loss of me', was not born from a desire to deceive others or myself. It was born from a desire to be the best for others. I didn't know that I wasn't been 'true' to myself. That I had lost integrity with my component parts.
It took some time, but I learnt who I was and how to maintain this identify, despite the environment and the people that I was with. I allowed my true Maverick nature out.
Why I think it's important to learn how to maintain this integrity, this wholeness.
I see the consequences of a lack of identity, almost every day. Some of the Socialised Mavericks that I work with have learnt exactly how to do the greater good for others. So much so that they submerge their identity into the project or the people. This can lead to low level depression and resentment. Prompting them to return to extreme behaviour and significant cognitive dissonance.
With freelancers and entrepreneurs, this lack of integrity, wholeness, leads them to fragment their offering so much that it no longer makes sense to the buyer. The buyer cannot tell, exactly what the person is trying to sell or who they are. I work with freelancers and entrepreneurs to bring cohesion back to their offering.
The aim is to be the same person or business (identity), where ever you are. You may behave differently, dependent on the environment, however you are consistent at the core. This allows people to build trust in you, establishes your reputation and builds credibility.
It's worth doing, and you will feel better for it!
Here's a short video which outlines who I am in the work space. A leopard who has lost her spots. Tell me, who are you?
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