“You were at your best natural form”, “I did not see the tigress, you were a complete butterfly in today’s call” – Some of my dear friends texted me post a session I conducted on “being influencers, empowering influencers. etc”. In my bus to reach cloud nine, there were 2 speed breakers, certainly the weekend introspection was over those two points.
While we all shared “what stops you from constantly writing or participating in forums to be influencers”, Mr M said, “I shared my perspectives very transparent which was difficult for others to accept”. I did not understand, as I requested him to explain, he said, “I was writing on different topics and at one point, I thought I should empower others by giving them space to explore”. I thanked him for a giving a different dimension. Later he shared one of his articles titled “observation on patience”, which was brilliant. But this also made me think if someone is too good at something, then why underplay ? Why to tone down? This was running at the background of my thoughts, as I was making dinner, and next day, as I was with my son during his homework, and when I saw his handwriting, three personal incidents flashed in my mind linking to Mr.M’s view.
- In 2015, my 6 year old son was trying for a neat handwriting, he was also in a cursive writing class, but he struggled to make it perfect. (dad’s genetics I scold him 😛 ). He wanted me to take / join him for all his classes, chess class, karate class, music class : “mom, I want you to come”. But when it comes to handwriting class, he did not want me to accompany him. And each time I tried to help with his handwriting, he struggled more I could see. Almost after a year (oh, my little introvert takes time to open up) one day he vented out, “nooooo, I cannot write neatly. Your handwriting is too good, I can never write like you” he went to his room and started crying.
- That was the season of my book talks. My mom was extremely proud about her little girl growing up to be an author, giving speeches in various forums. She used to fuel me with ideas and ofcourse she is my inspiration. So, before the next book talk, I told her, “I am going to call you on stage to share your inputs”. She trembled, “no no”. “But mom, why? You are a headmistress and such speeches are not new for you”. She replied, “I can do it with my network. You are a different benchmark, I cannot talk like you”. I was confused if I should feel good or bad. But I never pushed her from then.
- My very beautiful mother in law and I used to dress up twinning on kurtas and salwars. When I got us same kind of saree for a festival, she said she will wear it later. And this continued for the next five sarees. And one day, I was frustrated and asked her, “why are you not wearing it together with me?”. She did not look into my eyes as she said, “I will twin with you for chudidhars, but not for sarees. I don’t want to. Come and prepare this chutney”. I miss twinning with my mother in law but no hard feelings. We are happy with the space we give each other.
I have taken the safest group of examples but there are quite a few, where I ended up wondering, someone having a strong point of view and action, bringing quality – how or why is it becoming a challenge for others? Mr.M’s words made me realize how we need to tone down and it creates a space for others to build the competency. And that is an indirect way of empowering them too. Today, my son makes his own projects with neat handwriting, my mother wanted me to structure her retirement speech and she was fantastic as always, my mother in law asked me to plan a family theme based photoshoot , she was the queen. All this happened only after me toning down and that was the starting point for their journey.
What is your take on empowering people by toning down? Do share your thoughts..