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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Professionally Personal - Intro to "Profersonalism"

Once, upon a time, I dated this guy. Yeah, I know, quell surprise.... Anyway, I did. Was a great guy then, is a great guy now; but absolutely drove me bonkers dating him. Why? Because I totally felt like he was two different people... and he was; and at least he was trying to be. Josh (1) believed that your "Personal Life" and your "Professional Life" were different... separate. The two should never meet outside of the occasional story when answering the "How was your day, dear?" question over dinner or drinks. (3)

Back to the point: I was Josh's PERSONAL "friend" (2) and so that meant we kept the professional life very, very separate. We didn't connect on LinkedIn, we didn't see each other's tweets... to the point where I didn't actually meet any of his coworkers for a few months because he was worried about the two "Worlds" colliding. I even got "in trouble" once for making the mistake of suggesting that my Company might be able to help his out. Literally. In trouble. I was "grounded" from seeing him for like 3 days because, as he put it, "I should have known better." (4)

Obviously, that went over REALLY well with me because everyone likes to be treated like a five-year-old. But, condescending tone aside? It STILL didn't sit right: because I don't get the difference. Seriously. A "Work Life" and a "Personal Life" as two distinctly separate entities doesn't make sense to me because last I checked? I have ONE life. I've always struggled with this. My Clients & Candidates? Are on my Facebook & more than that? I'm friends with them. Of course, I don't see what I do as an imposition on people; so that probably helps. But, even if there was absolutely no discernible connection between what I did for a living and the people I knew? I still wouldn't try to keep them separate. I don't see the point. I'm "ME" - one person and that's the person that people relate to, build a relationship with, want to work with, play with, date, whatever. All the same person. Maybe it's easier for me than it might be for some other people because I just don't DO things I wouldn't want people I'm professionally connected with to not find out about... and I'm not ashamed of what I do professionally, so why wouldn't I want to help my friends? It all blends well.

Anyway, the point is that I've always lived my life as ONE book with an open, congruent story to both my professional contacts and my personal ones. At this conference I'm at, one of the speakers (5) said something that really drove home that which I've believed, but hadn't figured out how to articulate: "We broadcast all the time. But when we share just our personal life or just our professional life; we're only broadcasting 50% of the story... At that point, there's a contextual disconnect at a very profound level because we're only telling half the story of who we are..." (6) He submitted that we needed to check into a concept he coined 'profersonalism.'

Profersonalism: noun - meaning: the blended characteristics of one's professional and personal endeavors to comprise one distinct, complete life story.. While it's a mouthful to say -and don't even bother with the 3 times fast thing - I dig it. Maybe because, well... I live it. To a degree, anyway. I totally subscribe to the concept of not trying to break apart and tightly define your life. If you're going to succeed in life - and, by 'succeed' I mean TRULY ROCK IT - you have to be 'all in.' Having the 'WHOLE YOU' engaged wherever you are? Is where the true 'win' is... for your employer, for your coworkers, for your family, friends, boys & girls.. :p And it's as simple - and as difficult - as just changing your perspective.

More to say on this... but probably needs to be in a different blog posting as this one? Is reaching my traditional "War & Peace" length... Just a lot of ground to cover. :)

(1) Not his name, but will work for purposes of this blog.

(2) What's between a friend and a girlfriend - you know, when you've been on more than a few dates but you're not ready to claim the exclusive status? Whatever that was? I was that.

(3) -Small aside: I don't know about everyone else on the planet; but when I ask that question, what I mean is "What noteworthy happened in your day, dear?" What excited you, moved you, challenged you, changed you... This is not really an open invitation to tell me all the minutia or launch into a 50-minute tirade about how the office sucks the ever-loving soul out of you. For further reference? See blog "Get Bent" or "No Drama Little Mamma: Down with Drama Queens" blog. :p Everybody has gripes now and again - that's fine; but if we are the culmination of where we choose to put our focus? Then I'd rather focus on the positive - outside of needing to noodle it over so you can figure out how to handle something or what to make of it, of course. Basically that's my LOOONG way of saying I'm not asking you to launch into a gripe-fest. :)

(4)Yeah, yeah... I know... No, I can't tell you how I manage to find these people but if I did? I'd so make a business out of hooking up the right people personally like I do professionally. Just sayin' - it's easier with businesses.. there's a little more rationale to it and a lot less social drinking. (which I don't do much of, but... anyway)
(5) Jason Seiden - http://jasonseiden.com/
(6) Or something to that extent; I'm paraphrasing.

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