In every new environment I've found myself in -- a new school, a new place of work, a party filled with strangers, even interviewing candidates to fill a position -- it's easy to initially be drawn to those with showmanship. The loudest and the most charismatic get the immediate attention. And why not? They're the ones who speak up, the first to voice their opinions, the ones who have a bag of witty remarks that in a social setting somehow requires a chuckle or two.
But more often than not (waaay more often), you spend a few more minutes, hours, days with these people and you realize that that is the only thing they have to offer, a bit of a personality, a few laughs and a go to set of wise a** remarks. All fluff, no depth.
I realize this is how they've gotten by, mastering the skill of presentation. I've found that, in the long term, the quality people rested among those who were more reserved, people you wouldn't notice immediately. Those who usually lacked a sparkling first impression.
Having been the new kid at different work places, the ones who I thought led the pack turned out to be the folks who still had much to learn and the colleagues who spoke less were the ones I ended up approaching when I needed help with a resolution.
At parties, I would usually end up having the most interesting conversations with the wallflowers, not the "life of the party" who is always too busy entertaining everybody.
With interviews, those who lacked "entertainment value" turned out to be the good workers you could rely on. They were the ones who got the job done. These people do not mind not being the center of attention but stand in the background where they can observe. They're not so much run by their egos and do not crave the spotlight as much as they care about doing the job right. They understand that their solid work, inevitably to be noticed by the ones that matter and not self proclaimed, creates their value.
** Segue: My husband just came through the door wiping his face with a washcloth. He has a habit of cracking boiled eggs by smashing it on his head and thought the bowl of eggs in water on the kitchen counter were cooked. NOT. He cracks me up.**
There's beauty in being a wallflower. Staying at a distance to maintain focus but close enough to observe. People drop their guard around a wallflower, not seeing them as a threat, giving the wallflower the advantage of having a glimpse of who people really are. There's depth in their silence. A curiosity well rewarded by their seeming insignificance. They see the world not behind a cloud of mindless banter but have a pretty good picture of what it really is. They speak when it matters and their work takes the stage.
Are you a wallflower?
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