Have you ever heard the term being a chameleon?
It’s when a person changes themselves to fit into whatever situation they find themselves in. The best interpretation is what we all do when we put our A-game on for dates and job interviews. So I would emphasize my positive characteristics based on the situation. An example is the employer who wants someone organized. By Golly, I have that in spades and here’s a story that showcases that trait.
Taken to the extreme, it has a negative connotation in my mind. Maybe because it was my go to coping mechanism for most of my life. I moved a lot and if there are a certain number of beginnings of friendships you get in life, I have rolled that odometer over a few times.
I was thinking about why being a chameleon is ‘bad’ and I came up with two reasons.
The first is feeling like it’s not the ‘real’ you people like. It makes me feel like if anyone really knew me, the ‘real me’, they wouldn’t like me. The reason things are hidden must be because they are bad or negative things. Right? It makes me put on my Mantel of the Introvert*.
The second reason being a chameleon is bad is that I can lose myself. It becomes harder and harder to really know who I am. A person becomes the things they do. I am my habits. So if I routinely stop doing something is it still a part of me? If I start doing something new at what point is it no longer pretending and now just a part of me?
This line of thought has bothered me for years. It pokes me at inconvenient times. This mind set encourages my imposter syndrome and anxiety. Honestly, there has been a lot of this recently in my life.
But there is another way to look at the situation that recently occurred to me. I was talking with Jody Sperling, the reluctant book marketer, and we were talking about how everyone is fully capable of success. That we all have that seed within us to become great. It takes imagination and persistence to make it happen. I’m paraphrasing, but this is how the conversation sat with me.
This is going to sound silly, but by the end of the conversation I wished I was his friend. That the life coaches and successful people he hung out with were my friends. It’s not that I wanted them to make me successful by pulling strings or whatever, but that I wanted my inner chameleon to be encouraged to do the things that he did to be successful. I wanted that voice of doubt to be overwhelmed by bravery. I wanted to jump off that cliff and skydive to the bottom. I wanted to stop having my self-doubt and anxiety dry up the words and send me running for a book to hide in.
So instead of worrying about losing myself, why not encourage the person I want to be to the surface by choosing to be with people who bring out that person? I need to encourage those relationships that inspire me.
What about you? What is one thing you could do to be the person you want to be?
* Sorry dorky moment: Mantel of the Introvert would make a great D&D artifact! +10 on everything when no being is within 30-feet, but -5 on all checks if there is a person within 10-feet. If that person tries to engage in conversation, the wearer must make a 19 Will save or flee away from people to a hiding place. Blanket tents, naps, or books are great hiding places.