At least ten times a day, people at work ask, “How are you?” And your pat response is … what? If you are like many people I know, “crazy busy” rolls right off your tongue without a second thought.
Excuse me, People! Why are you doing this?? How many times have you said it this week alone?! Be honest now…
If you are always running around like your hair is on fire and telling people you are so busy you are going out of your mind, what message are you communicating?
Let me offer my opinion: you are shooting yourselves in the foot, my dears! You are working at cross-purposes to, um, yourself. So stop it already!
Clients often tell me they want to possess, and to be seen by their colleagues as possessing, the following qualities:
- Leadership potential
- Executive presence
- Personal power
- The “it” factor
It’s a seriously nice list.
But think about it: how do you demonstrate these qualities? Not by telling people that the effect of working with them has driven you nearly out of your ever-loving mind. Indeed, this response sends the following message:
- I am at or over capacity
- I can’t handle this so don’t consider giving me that promotion or letting me anywhere near that juicy project
- Help me! I don’t know how to solve my workload problems on my own
- Maybe you shouldn’t put so much confidence in me
- Hey, I might even have a meltdown so, you know — whoa, kablooey! — I’d stand clear if I were you. Wheeeeeee!
Why not instead leverage this informal interaction – being asked “how are you?” – to send a different message? A message that’s more in line with your goals and, more importantly, that’s more in line with your actual contribution and the valuable work you do? Change this up for a week and see how you feel. I’d love to hear about it.