How not to be nice in business 2
I wrote a post yesterday about, How Not To Be Nice in Business.
The point of the article was that nice isn't always effective. It's not always goal oriented. It can be a form of playing small. A way to hide.
And someone asked me why people play nice? What are their reasonings behind it? Their beliefs?
So here we go:
First, I have/had the nice guy syndrome. I know it well. It was my m.o. for many a year. So why did I do it?
1. Fear. The opposite of nice Bryce is not so nice Bryce. Cruel Bryce. There is a part of me that knows exactly where to jab my verbal knife and twist. It's come out before. It's hurt people. Often times from a place of reaction. See that's the funny thing about people who play nice, there is an equal and opposite force lurking below. And it can be quite a force indeed. For me, I never knew how to rectify this force. This ferocity. I judged it. I shamed it. So, I chose nice. No reaction. People always liked me. Check. But in doing so, a huge portion of me died. I was never quite real. Always slightly hidden behind the nice. Here but not quite.
2. Being nice allowed me to hide. If I hid, I wouldn't be the target of someone else's verbal knife. I could stand behind the shield of nice. I wouldn't get hurt. I could be small. I would never need to fail because I would stay in the womb of complacency and comfort. Safe, nice, and cozy. And this fear stemmed again from my own ferocity. If I could cut, others could too. Now, if I owned this ferocity in a way where it would flow instead of explode, I wouldn't have this fear. I would be in my power. I wouldn't attack but I would be clear. Present and sharp.
3. Other people's time was more important than my own. That's nice. This I see a lot with people that are empathetic. I am. So I want to help. Truly. But people will take as much as you give. Which means they will take it all. And there is no one to blame but ourselves. Nothing to dwell on but it is something to be cognizant of. We have a limited amount of time, how do we CHOOSE to use it? Who is the most important person in our lives. US. No exception. Tough to swallow. Sounds selfish. Sounds indulgent. But ain't no way around it. We must protect ourselves first and foremost. Especially our time.
4. We are bred to be nice. This fact sucks. But damn if we aren't bred to be sheep. From the moment we enter school, we are taught to fear authority. To not think beyond the system of memorization and tests. To be a cog in the machine. Then we get bosses. Same thing all over again. We can "Yes sir or mam" all the way to the top. Nice is safe. We won't get dragged through the mud for our opinions. Nice is status quo. Nice is numb. Numb is acceptable. It doesn't challenge anyone. Fuck that.
5. Nice is job security. Nice is a game player. An ass kisser. Someone who focuses more on building relationships for survival as opposed to growth. While nice is effective in the short term, rarely do I see anyone truly succeed who has been nice their entire lives. Again, I know it well. I was a chameleon. Who did I need to become? What did I need to say? To turn a blind eye to? What politics did I need to engage in?
I chose popular. Ahh, but was I respected? Most likely not.
Again, these are beliefs. Some may be facts. But at the end of the day nice, when coming from a place of fear, or "I have to, I need to, I should," is unsustainable and ineffective.
If you are nice and you don't like it, see what is behind the nice. What fears come up. And then, see if there is a not so nice version of you. I'm willing to put money on it that there is. Something that could rip the throat out of a buffalo. A temper. A ferocity. A viciousness. May be small, may be big. But damn effective.
We don't want to hide it. We want to own it, so we aren't stuck in the prison of nice. Instead, when it is owned, we take responsibility for who we are. We expand. We take that first primal breath. And then we can rationally take the next step. No games. No half-truths. No obligations.
Just goddamn power.