One of my clients is on vacation right now, in the midst of the launch of our project. (She's more stressed about the timing than I am, of course.) Despite her PTO, we've had two hour-long meetings and a number of email back/forths over the last few days. (Sound familiar?) This doesn't surprise me. What does is the very different person I've worked with this week.
Vacation Client communicates in "real-speak." She has off-the-record opinions about her employer and her boss. She explains the politics at play. She makes snarky, off-color remarks. Even her diction has changed! I haven't heard the her use the word "leverage" once.
Concurrently, in this week's meeting with my executive coach, we talked about my own identity shift, the one from Employee Jackie to Business Owner Jackie. (Don't ask me to tell you what that entails, because it's in process. Ask me in an year...)
All of this has me thinking a lot about personas. C.G. Jung explains personas as the mask or façade presented to satisfy the demands of the
situation or the environment. We all have them. Mom, Boss, Son, Customer, Daughter-in-Law, Advocate. The degrees to which our various 'hats' differ, however, is individual.
I'll confess that my personas are stunt doubles. For better or worse, my hats look almost the same. How about you?
What if you trade hats for a day? Wear your Mom hat to work, for example. How would that impact your relationships and interactions? Would it change the way you view your colleagues? How does it feel? What's exposed now that wasn't before?
If you find yourself struggling in a particular situation, personal or professional, give the exercise a try. Change hats, and walk around in that outfit for a little while. Then, let me know what you learn.