How Authentic and Congruent are You?

woman happily talks discussed with curly hair woman in office
by Vance Larson

It’s a pretty simple concept. It is also an exercise that I use with my coaching clients. It’s called the take away.

The take away is what I would learn about you, if I spent a half hour talking to you. Could be at a network function, over coffee or meeting through a friend of a friend scenario. I’m not talking about first impressions. First impressions are what we generally form (in many cases unfairly) in a brief encounter. But what is the take away if we actually invested in the getting to know you process? It’s a lost art, and a missed opportunity.

I have written before on first impressions, but now I want to speak on the take away. The take away is what rings loud and clear about you during an exchange. I once was watching a famous interviewer talking about this very concept. They went onto say that if you spend a few minutes invested in a conversation with someone, you would take away 3 things that they were passionate about (or 3 things that simply made up who they were.) I found that interesting, because in a time where social media is available to everyone, what is the message we are sending out?

A few years ago I was guest on a radio program in Philadelphia and was asked about social media. People post everything on social media. A lot of it is unfaltering. In fact, in the past when I ran a HR department, I would often review a potential new employees FaceBook profile before sitting down for the interview. There is an old meme out there showing this exact situation. An HR director is talking to the candidate and say’s “Your resume states that you’re a hard worker and you tend to work best on your own. Yet, your FaceBook page shows that you love Jack Daniel’s and that you’re comfortable with your body.” But getting back to being asked about social media. I spoke about this very thing. You can learn a lot about what someone is posting. In many cases, posting is our path.

How many train wrecks have you seen coming because of what someone posted on social media? Or, a friend of a friend keeps popping up in your feed with some really good post and you’ve thought, I’d like to get to know them. That’s the take away. It’s what we talk about. It’s what we post. It’s the very energy that we put out to the world. If you were to spend that 30 minutes with me, you would take away that I worked (or work) in mental health, I’m passionately in love with my long time wife, and I enjoy an outdoors meditative life. You probably wouldn’t even have to ask me direct questions. Those 3 things are just ingrained with who I am. What about you?

If you want to know your take away, ask some of your trusted connections. Then take a look at your social media. Do the two line up? Or, is there a vast difference between them? While you don’t need to post everything online (and I suggest that you don’t), are you projecting who you really are? If the two don’t line up, why the difference? Every authentic relationship I have is due to honoring their take away. In other words, if I spent that 30 minutes with someone, or scrolled through their social media, they owned who they are. And that is a beautiful thing. What you see is what you get with me. My 3 things will always come through.

What are you projecting to the world? Be it face to face, or online. Do people have to dig to get to know you, or does your essence/energy speak for itself? Does your take away, keep people away?

New job, new friends or new relationship. Be authentic in your exchange. Because we can alter or change their first impressions. But we can’t get around the take away.


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