Mike's Life

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Tag: Growth

Self disclosure in the work place

Having self disclosure at work can be dangerous – it can even very easily get you terminated. Self disclosure is also necessary and important. So, why is it a good thing? – and when is it a bad thing? – and how do you do it? – and when don’t you do it? – and what if others don’t open up to you? – and what if you discover that you have opened up too much?

I have, deep within me, as a part of my current core self, an approval addiction, low self-esteem, and a need to talk about it. These variable don’t bode well in the workplace. I’m somewhat of an anomaly because I can interview quite well and can come across as very confident and successful. Well, indeed I am confident and successful, at times, and have actually been very confident and successful for long stretches in the past. So, whatever my physiological and emotional makeup, I don’t do myself any favors when I let on to others that I’m worried, unsure, or insecure. Self-disclosure is a strong way to grow trust among peers and is instrumental in building relationships. However, I’ve experienced time and time again that others have a more positive view of me than I do of myself. Often the discrepancy is large.  There is a clear pattern I’ve detected when beginning a new job. Within several weeks, as my comfort level increases, I begin, unwittingly, to paint the picture I hold of myself for those I work with, and even during interactions with customers. Eventually, the people I work with begin to buy in to the image I create for them, or at the very least they see me for who I am at the time: a talented person with confidence issues.  My self disclosure takes the form of sharing my thoughts and feelings, good or bad, in real-time. I believe I do this, at least in great part, because of a natural impatience and unrest I possess – the ADHD part of me. In other words, If I were an extremely confident person people would hear about that too. I am still learning how to stay in the middle, emotionally, and to be okay with that middle ground. You might say that I’ve discovered where I need to mature emotionally – the place where I need to grow my E.Q. – my emotional intelligence. 

This approval addiction and lack of confidence is so ingrained in me, so intertwined into my personality, that I need daily, hourly, and even minute-to-minute reminders to not be self-defeating. If I don’t keep positive affirmations dangling in front of my brain at all times then, and I mean AT ALL TIMES, then my tendency is to ruminate, be negative, seek approval, compare myself to others, and so on and so on. It is maddening.

Summarizing to this point, I’d say this is a two-pronged issue: 1) my deeply seeded low self-esteem and approval addiction, and 2) my ADHD characteristics; including being very impatient and battling emotional highs and lows – almost in a clinical manic/depressive manner. The latter could also be stated as lacking a steady, healthy emotional middle ground.

Self disclosure in the workplace has served me well too. I often build relationships more quickly than other people. I believe that healthy self-disclosure (not a continuous, ill-timed, spewing forth of every thought and feeling) shows a willingness to be vulnerable that many people either admire or are drawn to. This can build trust within workplace relationships, which is important to job satisfaction, performance, and longevity with a company.  I have had the opportunity to explore these issues, and to grow in them, as a direct result of having several different jobs over the last 5 or 6 years. This is a very real benefit to the unsettled career and financial situation I (we) have faced.

My plan – my goal, in going forward, is to completely avoid openly expressing self-doubt, concern, or any negative commentary to coworkers, superiors and customers. I will not get what I need, or what I want, in doing so. What I will do is be myself, believe in myself, and do my best. Now, that is some good old down-home mom’s advice!  Those are things I can commit to doing. Those are things I can accomplish – and as I do, what do you want to bet, that good things will happen?!

Some things need no prayer

I am currently reading Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson. Just finished chapter 2. The book, to this point, has offered ideas at how to follow the Holy Sprit’s lead in our lives. In chapter 2 the author talks about believing that there are some things that need no prayer, and other things that we can stop praying about. He explains that in discovering our “God-ordained passion”, prayer is certainly vital but that at some point we need to quit praying and start doing. I agree with that. At the end of chapter 2 he asks the reader: “What do you need to stop praying about, and what do you need to start doing?” So, I asked myself the question and my first thought was that I need to stop praying for strength and just be strong. A little too visceral of an answer I think, not that my initial thought was wrong. Not at all. I feel there is definitely something valid about that, I just need to go deeper with it. Unfortunately, it is the “going deeper” part that makes my brain hurt. Okay… think, think, think… “stop praying for strength and just be strong”. Yea, I think can live with that answer for now. Discussing this at our Band of Brothers group tonight helped me see through the soup. I often have to verbalize before I gain clarity. Talk it out. I really need to follow that advice because I have had so many “ah-ha” moments when I speak the words and hear the words. Not sure why it makes such a difference. It’s the synaptical wiring or something. Anyhow, back to “seeing through the soup” – talking about it helped the sediment to clear away and allowed me to see it differently. I need to stop praying for strength because I have strength, I’ve shown strength, I’ve been strong, I’ve bent, I’ve twisted, I’ve been down, but I’ve never broken. God has seen to it that I haven’t broken. It is like Aesop’s fable about the oak and the reeds. The story says that the mighty oak stood tall, proud, and strong (and alone) and proclaimed: “No storm can break me, but look at you reeds down there, bending over at the slightest wind, twisting and flopping all over the place. You are not strong.” The reeds responded to the oak simply: “Someday you will learn.” Someday did come. It was a day in which a fierce storm came. A storm not just with forceful gusts but a storm with sustained strong winds and exceptional gusts. The oak did stand tall and strong, at first, but then his roots were pulled violently from the earth by the storm’s fury and down he came, crashing alongside the graceful reeds. The reeds looked at the oak, broken and dying: “You see”, they said, “you stood strong and proud, refusing to bend, but that very refusal is what has killed you. We survived, however, and flourish still because our strength is that we do bend.”  The reeds continued: ” The winds were indeed fierce, but today those storms have receded, and as the morning breaks across the land we rejoice, for now we are even stronger.” So, I am saying that instead of praying for strength, I need to use my strength, act on my strength, enjoy my strenth, and love my strength. I need to pray for God to help me apply my strength, and even then I might not need to pray on it for very long. I realize now that in knowing where my strength is, I know that my passion lies nearby. And in defining my passion, I’ll also discover my God-ordained calling. THAT is what I need to pray on.

God, my sovereign Father, I pray to you now and give thanks that you have blessed me with incredible strength. God, I know that I am strong, and I ask for guidance and discernment to help me live my life with that strength, and by your design, and to be filled with the passion you have crafted just for me. I pray to be so filled with that passion that it pours out of me and into the world around me. I pray that the passion you have gifted to me can be my map, and I open all of myself to you Lord so that you may work in me, and through me. I pray to you now that my God-ordained passion, my calling, my path, will be lighted by you. I know that my strength is growing, and that my love is growing,  and I know, regardless of  how clearly I see it, that I am truly on that path right now – I am so incredibly thankful for that.   Amen.

Light Me

God – I’d like to ask if you know,

why my growth seems so slow?

Am I in your sight?

Why God, do I feel so slight?

Where is my path?

What’s the deal?

Could you brighten my road

to help me feel real?

           ~ Thank you God.

MMG 04/08/09