Have you been playing nice all your life?
I love Ontology, which is the study of what it is to be human. A key principle of ontology is that we each suffer three primary events in our childhood, which impact our behaviour throughout our lives. These traumatic events occur typically during the ages of 3-5, 5-12 and 12-21. Nobody goes through childhood unscathed, and there is no competition regarding how tragic an event is.
When these events occur, we subconsciously make a decision about ourselves, which is a bit like a life sentence. For example, if we remember our mum getting all caught up in our little sister or brother, when they get home from the hospital, and we feel like we are being ignored , then we might decide ‘ I am alone’ or even ‘ I am invisible’.
What invariably happens is that we almost pre-program ourselves to experience events throughout our life to keep that in place, which is why we call it a sentence. For example, if we subconsciously think that we are alone, then we will have a tendency to sabotage relationships and continue to feel that aloneness throughout our lives. We also adopt compensating behaviors. Again in the ‘I am alone’ example, we might come across as off handish and cold to people, because at some level, we don’t feel we deserve to get close to others.
One sentence that I have dished out on myself over the years is 'I am bad'. The incident that I have specifically related this to was not an overly dramatic one, but, like anything, it has been about what I have made it mean, and I have spent my life overcompensating and trying to be a 'good girl'; to practice ‘niceness’ to the extreme, and to constantly behave like everything is fine. I look back at earlier versions of myself and cringe about how eager I was to please; in fact I was quite simply desperate to be pleased.
This would often result in me giving far too much away in my sales visits.
I used to go above and beyond when meeting with new prospects and how it never did me any good. If I was meeting up with someone to discuss their lead gen strategy, I would listen intently to their present concerns, and contribute full out in the session, with suggestions from my years and years of business experience and research. But that wasn't enough for me; I would record the whole session on my iPhone, listen to it at a later date, create a multi-paged recommendations document, including doing some research on their industry, and then send it to them (and no, this was not chargeable work). Can you imagine how much time I spent doing this?
The feedback I got was heartwarming and extraordinary, which of course the pleaser in me loved. But this habit of giving TOO much away impacted my commercial return. I gave away the farm! There was no longer a perceived need to engage me.
Quite simply I needed to savvy up. I needed to become a little bit more streetwise and stop being so nice, and stop pretending everything was just lovely. Obviously, being nice is a wonderful trait at some level, but it needs to come from being in your power, rather than from a desperate little girl who is obsessed with proving that she isn’t bad.