Have you ever felt out of place interacting with people, despite being an expert in your technical domain?
Maybe you've found yourself: • smiling nervously
• changing the subject
• avoiding eye contact
• having a rattle in your throat
• racing heartbeat
• shutting down
• feeling irritable
• being passive-aggressive
• judging others
• judging yourself
• feeling defensive
• being aggressive
• thinking negatively
• being preoccupied
• or resorting to jokes and sarcasm to cope.
If so, you're not alone.
You have elements of the "cocky-coward" behavior, and so did I.
Let me share my story with you.
Years ago, as a software developer, I was ready to face a panel of higher-ups to discuss my plan for a new application. Little did I know this meeting would be a turning point in my life.
Confident and stylish in my blue-and-yellow-checkered Italian jacket, I presented my airtight technical plan. But when the barrage of questions came, my self-assurance crumbled. My fight-or-flight response kicked in, and I became defensive. I thought I was under attack.
In reality, everyone was kind and curious. The leaders just wanted to understand my plan.
That's when the truth hit me: I knew the tech stuff but was clueless about the people stuff.
I had to face my emotional intelligence gap.
That meeting was a wake-up call. Regardless of my technical prowess, my insolent, cocky self wouldn't help me in the corporate world or my career. I was hiding in plain sight, avoiding experiences that brought emotional tension and discomfort.
I was a master at strategizing, analyzing, eliminating, or including possibilities, but I couldn't control the deep, complicated, well inside me, the mental and emotional intricacies that make me human. I lacked emotional intelligence.
Over time, I faced my deep-seated issues and embraced personal transformation. I learned that I had to have the courage to face my triggers and grow from the discomfort.
My algorithms could only get me through the door, but my attitude determined how far I would advance.
How about you? If you've felt something similar, let me tell you, there is a better way.
Observing yourself, realizing your "cocky-coward" behavior, and deciding to change them will transform you.
It can transform everything around you.
And when you do, social interactions are easier; results happen faster, and you feel freer.
People need you. The world needs you.
And if you can't speak, present, discuss, collaborate, and give the world the products they need and deserve because of your cowardice, that is a shame.
When you lose, we all lose, and the world loses.
Instead, when you work in flow rather than in resistance, you win. We all win.
I'd like to know: have you felt out of place and lacked the skills to feel confident and empathic in your work?
What were the consequences?
Please share your story in the comments, and let's encourage each other on our journeys of self-discovery and personal growth.
And reach out if you want to stop the cocky-coward behavior.