Embrace Authenticity: The Power of Expecting People to Be Who They Are

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In both business and life, we often enter interactions with certain expectations about how people should behave or respond. However, it’s crucial to recognize that people are who they are and that they provide us with signals and clues about their true selves—if we pay attention. By being aware of these signals and adjusting our expectations accordingly, we can avoid unnecessary stress and frustration in our relationships, both personal and professional.

A Personal Revelation

A recent experience with my grandson, William, during our trip to Chicago, opened my eyes to the importance of expecting people to be who they truly are. While I used to feel frustrated and stressed when he visited because I wanted him to fit into my idea of a perfectly well-behaved child, I realized that I needed to shift my thinking. Instead of trying to force William into an unrealistic mold, I chose to accept and embrace him for who he is—a sweet, energetic, sometimes mischievous, and deeply loved little boy. It was my expectations that needed adjustment, not William himself.

The Power of Shifting Perspective

The same opportunity for a mindset shift applies to you—both personally and professionally. By adjusting your perspective, you can learn to appreciate and work effectively with individuals who reveal their true selves through various channels such as emails, voicemails, social media posts, and personal interactions. Pay attention to the signals people send, as they provide valuable information about their values, communication style, and compatibility. This awareness can guide your decision-making process and help you determine the best course of action, whether it involves cultivating a fruitful relationship or recognizing that it may not be a good fit.

Avoiding Regrets in Business and Life: As an entrepreneur, I have often found myself ignoring the signals potential clients send because I was eager to work on exciting projects. However, I’ve learned the hard way that when someone’s values don’t align with mine, ignoring those signals leads to regret. Maya Angelou’s wisdom, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them,” resonates deeply with me. It has become a guiding principle in my business and personal life, saving me from unnecessary grief and frustration. I no longer seek to fit people into my own mold or overlook the signals they convey. Instead, I strive to understand who they are and make informed decisions about how we can best work together for mutual benefit.

Reflection and Action

I encourage you to reflect on your personal and professional relationships and consider how often you try to fit people into your preconceived mold. Are you paying attention to the signals they are sending? Imagine the improvements that can be made by expecting and accepting each person for who they truly are. Embrace authenticity, celebrate diversity, and make conscious decisions about how you manage and nurture your relationships.

By expecting people to be who they are, we unlock the power of authenticity in our relationships. Recognizing and accepting individuals for their true selves empowers us to navigate interactions with clarity and understanding. Remember, it is not our role to mold others to fit our expectations, but rather to appreciate and embrace their unique qualities. As you embark on this mindset shift, expect people to be who they are, believe the signals they send, and forge connections that are built on mutual respect and understanding.

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