A variation on a theme written by Sara Kleinsmith, my oldest friend, here.
One of the perks of speaking your truth unapologetically is that you very quickly find out who your friends are. I like to think of it as the Bridget Jones School of Friendship.
Mark Darcy: I like you, very much.
Bridget: Ah, apart from the smoking and the drinking, the vulgar mother and… ah, the verbal diarrhea.
Mark Darcy: No, I like you very much. Just as you are
Now while I do believe this to be a superior way of life, you also have to accept that this comes with some pretty serious repercussions.
- Some people really CAN’T handle the truth.
- You are definitely going to offend some people.
- This is “next level” honesty. It involves opening yourself up to criticism. In other words…YOU. ARE. VULNERABLE.
I share all of this to say that the benefits you receive from living this way, even with a small group of people, far outweigh the negatives. And here is why…
“It’s not what you know, but WHO you know.”
While I fundamentally agree with this statement, I do not agree with its generally cynical interpretation. I don’t believe that the ideas, skills, and talents you bring with you don’t matter. THEY DO. I also refuse to believe that this adage should motivate you to force your networking efforts. Should you chase the person or people you think can get you where you want to be? Yes. But you should also know when it’s not working for you. Maybe those people just don’t like you. Maybe they do like you, but only the version of you that you choose to show them to get ahead. If I have learned anything in life, it’s that refusing to acknowledge who you are and how you innately operate will breed resentment that multiplies faster than those two bunnies your mom got you for Easter back in ’92.
This is where sharing your truth comes in. Everyone knows that people like to work with their friends. Just go grab that shoe box full of Playbills you’ve been saving ever since your first trip to NYC back in high school. Well shit…the same director/choreographer/casting director DOES keep hiring the same actors. You have two courses of action. You can find out what these people all have in common and try to infiltrate their ranks with forced common interests and outlooks, OR you can simply put yourself into their orbit, be yourself, and see if anyone cares. Maybe they will! Maybe they won’t. We can’t all be friends. It’s just not realistic.
I’m not saying that you are screwed if you don’t click with the movers and shakers of today. Not by a long shot. I’m just suggesting that maybe your greatness will be realized in a different community. Not even a different industry. Just perhaps in a different circle. Find people who like to hear your ideas, who challenge you without putting you down, who will call you out on your inevitable bullshit, and who pick you up when you decide that you’d like to lay in the middle of 8th Ave and wait for a cab to finish you off.
The wonder of life is that you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I feel like I am just beginning to see my friends’ lives taking shape. I am bearing witness to their rise to greatness. And I don’t mean “kind of” greatness, I mean spectacular greatness. And you know who benefits from that? Me. Why? Because people like to work with their friends.
It really is WHO you know.