A few weeks ago, I attended a small credit union conference in Rapid City, South Dakota.
I love going to these events not only for the networking abilities, but also for the variety of presenters.
I truly love to meet new people. It is kind of my jam.
This event had about 65 people in attendance and was an intimate enough setting that you could really get to know people.
As we were all in line for lunch one particular day, I was speaking with two attendees behind me.
I use my hands when I talk.
In fact, I use them more so than I had initially thought.
Mix that in with the fact that I am short, and this could become hazardous.
On this particular day it was.
I was neck deep in some sort of riveting story (I’m sure…) and I swayed my left arm out to the side in a dramatic fashion.
This would have been just like any other story of mine, however this time my dramatic hand made a dramatic slap on the gentleman’s behind ahead of me.
It wasn’t just a small smack. It was a dramatic one.
There was a brief moment of silence before my mouth decided that it just could not be quiet.
“My name is Nanci. There. Now we know each other so the fact that I touched your rear isn’t weird”.
Not missing a beat, the gentleman said “Hi, I work in HR”.
“So…” I continued “Do I turn myself in or how does this work?”
Everyone had a nice laugh and jokes peppered the rest of the event as people would go up against a wall when I would pass by so that I would not accidentally hit their behind too.
As recent as a few years ago, I would have wanted the earth to suck me up into a large hole before I acknowledged that I had done such a thing.
I used to be quiet content pretending that these things did not happen and definitely not to me.
However, as the years have gone by I have realized that even in professional settings allowing people to see that you are not perfect can create authentic connections.
Nothing is more intimidating nor annoying than someone pretending to be perfect.
Whether this is in the work that they do or the actions that they take, when someone does not admit their shortcomings it becomes a show of who can save face the best.
I’ve realized in my years that ignoring my imperfections only allows me to hide and owning them allows me to connect.
I’d rather connect.
There is freedom in having people laugh with you.
There is power in being able to make what could be an uncomfortable moment, comfortable.
Everyone craves human connection whether they admit it or not.
We crave authentic moments where the guard can come down and the extremely imperfect human can rise to the occasion with laughter.
It is OKAY to do this in both your personal life as well as your professional.
Rising to the imperfect occasion, owning it, and allowing others to see it gives you the unique ability to connect through human nature.
There isn’t anything more organic than that!
Now I am not saying go directly to your HR person and smack their rear.
Don’t do that.
I am just simply saying, imperfections are something we all share.
It is a common thread in the link of humanity.
Why not take that and use it for good?
Your coworkers and employees will find great relief in your ability to call yourself out and be keener on doing it themselves.
This not only creates an atmosphere of honesty, but also an atmosphere of integrity.
Sometimes the “magical element” isn’t something you can pull off a shelf or teach in a classroom.
Sometimes that element is simply using what is already there and making it work.