Have you ever been told that you are too…?
I’m sure that many of us, I know I have, have been told that we are too something at one point in our life and career.
All of these times that we've been told that we are way too much.
All of these things that we've been told over the years I was for more years and then I care to remember really. If I think back to childhood and the times that I was told by my mum that I was too bossy. And then I was too shy, then I was too fat. I was too ambitious. I was too driven. I was trying to do too much. I was too much. I was too nosey, too curious. I was told by colleagues that I was too successful. That I was working too hard. That I was doing too much.
I was told by CEOs that I was too colourful, that I stood out too much. I've been told I’m too loud. I've been told I’m too fierce. I’ve been told I’m too opinionated. I’ve been told I’m too much. I’ve been told I’m too reserved. I’ve been told I’m too ambitious. I've been told I’m too bitchy. I've been told I’m too bossy. I've been told I’m too emotional. I’ve been told I’m too kind. I've been told I'm too passionate.
All of these things and more that other people have told me I am too much of and I know I'm not alone in this. I hear this from my clients all the time. They’ve been told that they are too outspoken, too opinionated. It's constant and it doesn't seem to matter what we do or how we do it, someone will always think that we are too something.
Too creative, too innovative, too strong, too many expectations, too giving, too open, too patient, too impatient, too talkative, too serious, too responsible, too weak, too strong, too harsh, too soft.
It took me years, and it definitely took my burnout, until I really started to understand that all of these people that were telling me that I was too much of these things were the problem, not me. But until then, each time I was told that I was too much, I wanted to become less than.
I remember one particular meeting in 2007. I was in a in a board meeting with the Chief Exec and the chief exec was leading this meeting talking us through some changes that we were going to be going through and I questioned the approach that the Chief Exec wanted to take. I questioned some of the things that he was saying I wanted some clarity over it, but I also wanted to ensure that this was really the right thing that we should be doing. And then 20 minutes maybe after the meeting had finished, I was called in to the COOs office, asked to take a seat and told that I should never again be that outspoken in a meeting. I should never ask for that much clarity again. And I was told that I should never be that outspoken, loud, talkative, open or questioning, particularly not towards the Chief Exec.
I was basically told that if the Chief Executive wanted questions he would have asked for a private meeting. At the next meeting I asked less questions, but I still felt it was important to get the clarity and I was called into the COOs office again. It didn't take me long until I stopped talking in those meetings. I stopped asking for the clarity. I stopped asking for the clarification. I thought I was the one that was doing something wrong. And it took me years to realise that if a Chief Exec is not prepared to have questions asked, actually, it's the Chief Executive in the wrong role.
If the Chief Exec is not prepared to provide clarity on important issues, the Chief Exec is the one in the wrong role. But for years I thought it was me. I thought that I was the one in the wrong and I see this and hear this so often. I see it with lots of my clients that say that they used to have confidence that they used to speak up, that they used to question, that they used to challenge and now they don't know who they are and when we drill down into some of these situations where they felt that they had to become less than, where they felt that they have to become quieter, when they felt that they had to lose their voice, is because they've been told on more than one occasion that they are too something.
Outspoken, loud, challenging, questioning, curious, impatient, emotional, too something.
And the more that we get told that we are too much of something, the more that we become less than we are.
And I've experienced it myself. And as I started to get more and more Core-Led, and as I started to live and lead much more from my core values, and I set my own core boundaries, and I understood what is important to me in my life and in my work I started to really become me again.
And if that's too much for other people, then that's okay. The realisation for me that it was okay to be me. It was okay for me to accept myself.
Am I without flaws? Absolutely not.
Am I perfect? Show me a perfect person.
I am the perfect version of me? Absolutely yes.
And I will keep changing and I will keep growing and I will keep developing and I will keep learning, I'm definitely not the finished article. But I'm also not too much of anything. The only thing I can be is me. And if me is too much for some people, they're not my people.
If I'm told I'm too challenging that's not my issue. I can't create the change and the ripples of change that I know I am here to create if I'm not challenging. If I'm not challenging the status quo, if I'm not challenging the way that things have always been done, if I'm not challenging and being curious about there being another way, I'm not being my authentic self, I'm lacking integrity. I'm not being true to myself.
And if I'm not being true to myself, I cannot be of any benefit to my clients in any way shape or form. If I'm not being true to myself, I can't be a good enough mum. I can't be a good enough partner. I can't be a good enough businesswoman. I have to be true to myself.
I still get told sometimes that I am too challenging. I'm too loud. I'm too outspoken and yet the people that get me, the people that understand me, the people that follow me, the people that love what I do they don't think I'm any of those things. I get criticised every single time I put a podcast out, every single time I put a blog out, every time I put an article out and every time I do a live video. Every time I get on stage, every time I'm featured in an article, in the paper, if I'm on the radio, or on TV, I will get criticised by people for being too something.
Now they don't do it publicly. I don't get public trolling. I get plenty of DM’s and I get plenty of emails from people telling me that I'm too something. And I can choose to let it bother me, I can choose to ignore it and I can choose to keep on being me.
Or I can choose to do what I used to do years ago and let the opinions of those people make me become less than. And I don't want to be less than I want to be me, because I know I can inspire and I know I can create change and I know I can lead change and drive change and now I can be a role model.
I do everything that I do now from my values. And if I'm doing it from my values, it's the right thing for me to do. It may not be right for everybody and that's fine. And I'm not saying any of this is easy. But when we come at everything from a Core-Led approach that is the only way I know how to be now.
I will make mistakes, sometimes I do make mistakes and I own them and I move on. Sometimes I'm still out of alignment with my values and I own it and I move on.
Now when I'm told that I'm too much of something my response to that has to be what is the Core-Led part of me. Because if somebody tells me I'm too much of something, if I start to modify some of that just to try and please one person, I'm not being true to myself.
My invitation to you is that you do everything that you do from your core values, not from somebody else's values, not from the company values. The company values may align to your values, but it has to come from your values. Just because somebody tells you that you are too something, it doesn’t mean that you are.
And it can feel personal, I get that. Sometimes these people make it personal. Sometimes it's a personal attack on you. My response and the way in which I choose to deal with it, now comes from my values.
If you've been told you're too much of something, you don't have to then become less than just to please somebody else. If something feels out of kilter or out of balance to you, of course make a modifications, do some development, make some changes. None of us are perfect. That doesn't mean though that we are not the perfect version of ourselves. And as long as you are aligned, other people can tell you that you're too much of something all day long. But that's their issue not yours.
The way in which you react to these things can be Core-Led.