Get comfortable with awkward
It’s the thing your kid announces loudly in public (that they were not meant to have heard!).
It’s someone calling out inappropriate behaviour on public transport.
It's admitting when you've made a big mistake.
It’s the overly-dramatic relative at a funeral.
It’s the person who says ‘no’ in a meeting.
My name’s Emma and I’m a recovering People Pleaser. I have spent my life running away from awkwardness. Filling the silence. Changing the subject. Keeping the flow going. I can’t just blame my people pleaser, I also work in PR. Part of our job is being life’s compère. Apart from new business pitches. Those meetings are almost always awkward.
But a combination of addressing my people pleasing tendencies, life events and running my own business are forcing me to confront my desire for a smooth ride. Chasing invoices. Calling up old contacts. Raising complaints. Clearly stating what I want and need.
Even writing that last sentence makes my bum cheeks clench (now whose making it awkward??). But there is beauty in awkwardness; growth. Farrah Storr, previously editor of Elle and Cosmopolitan has written about the power of discomfort to motivate you, create change and embrace creativity.
And let’s not forget Brene Brown’s constant mantra:
"Stay awkward, brave and kind"
Bravery is necessary for those awkward moments. Holding silence and space to make way for truth results in actual (not real) screams in my head. But what comes out of those moments? Truth. Power. Insight.
I spend my days encouraging leaders to listen more, to all of their audiences: employees, customers, shareholders, board members. Broadcast communications only delivers outputs. Demonstrable, valuable outcomes require two-way communications. That’s where you find the connection between your business objectives and your stakeholders’ needs. That’s where the magic happens.
But you have to be ready for the awkwardness first. And so I’m going to practice what I preach: I’ve experienced (created) enough awkwardness in the last year to know I can survive it, to know that I grow from it, and that my relationships always benefit from it.
So here I go, awkwardly.