This is part of a blog series about fighting insecurity at work and four phrases that have helped me keep myself in focus. To start from the beginning, click here.
For me, nothing breeds insecurity like trying to imagine what other people think of me.
Do they think I’m smart?
Do they think my jokes are funny?
Do they think I’m cool? (No, I’m not 14. I’m a grown woman and I still wonder this.)
Do they think I deserve to be here?
If I allow myself to sit in those questions for very long, I launch into a process that I bet you’re familiar with…
Image management. Noun. The ongoing, pro-active process of evaluating and controlling how you appear to others.
For all the hours I’ve put into image management, I should have another degree. It’s miserable, and if I’m not careful it can take up all the space in my brain. As soon as I walk into
I feel the sudden urge to glance around the room and assess what everyone thinks of me, and how I can move the needle to be a tiny bit more favorable. Maybe you don’t do that (I am an Enneagram Three, after all. It’s our trademark.) But I’m guessing image management still crosses your mind and that’s a good thing.
Image management does have a place. How others perceive you, especially if you are a woman, will affect your career, your pay, and your influence.
How people see us matters, it’s just not why we are here.
WHY we are here is something else entirely and when we put our focus there, things start to clear up. In other words, thereason we are here trumps our image every time.And the why? That’s easy to figure out. No matter the job, the title, the industry, if someone is a Jesus follower, the reason for being there can be summed up in this simple phrase.
I’m here to help.
That’s it. I’m here to serve. I’m here to put someone first. I’m here to assist, to cheer, to encourage, or to lead someone toward their goals. I’m here because there’s something good that won’t be done if I don’t do it.
Here’s the honest truth: when you and I focus on managing our images, we make too big a deal out of ourselves.There’s a good chance nobody in the room is thinking about us as much as we THINK they’re thinking about us. But when we take the posture of a servant, the stance of a helper, we’re more in line with who we were created to be and we have a WAY clearer view of how others see us. After all, there’s a good chance someone invited you to the meeting, the company, the conversation because THEY thought you’d be helpful.
See Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg