Real or Reserved? Go Ahead and Get a Little Sloppy

Today I’m sharing an  an excerpt from MeiMei Fox’s Huffington Post piece,  “7 Secrets to a More Joyful Existence“. I love all seven points, but this was my favorite:

6) Don’t be afraid to get sloppy.

“I was raised to put on a good show. To be the perfect daughter who shows up at the dinner party in her sundress and greets the guests with a smile, no matter her mood. This is a valuable skill to have in life, without a doubt, and I thank my parents for it.

But in the past decade or so, I’ve found that the greatest moments of joyful connection to myself and others occur when I’m being authentic rather than polished and perfect. Just be real. Tell it like it is. People will love you for it.”

Most of the time being “real” beats being “right”.  I think this is why people are falling in love with Pippa, who has shown her real side, while Kate is just a little too perfect. As the recent People cover story noted:

“Call it a tale of two sisters: Catherine Elizabeth, 29, unfailingly discreet, polite, reserved – the kind of girl who wears a knitted shawl and ballet flats to go grocery shopping a few days after her wedding.

And Philippa Charlotte, 27, variously described by friends as “radiant,” “chatty,” “extroverted,” with “a strong sense of fun” – the kind of girl who just might rock a party-trick dress made out of toilet paper, as she did in a candid photo that recently resurfaced.  Says one friend.  She knows who she is and where she is from.”

Or similarly…

“The crown staked its future on young Kate, a woman genetically incapable of making a mistake. In contrast, Pippa’s coquettish errors were made with a smile.” – Andrea Peyser

Granted, Kate can’t afford not to be reserved and we can’t all be extroverts. But it’s a good lesson on the benefits of being yourself, a little messy and all.

It goes beyond social settings to the workplace as well. People want to work with people they like — and authenticity breeds “like”.  Don’t over-share but don’t be afraid to share a glimpse of who you are . Be genuine. When you spend so much time editing what you should do or say, you can’t let yourself shine. I remember some great advice I got about interviewing that echoes this point:

“Remember that you are talking to a person. You should also be a person. Don’t come in and list off all your accomplishments, tell me about you.”

In the workplace it also has to do with admitting you don’t know…or “making errors with a smile”. I hesitated for a second at the end of the quote from People Magazine that said Pippa “knows who she is and where she is from.” But then I realized that it’s really about not pretending to be who you aren’t. When you’re young and starting out there’s a tendency to pretend you are an “adult” or feel that you’re supposed to know as much (or think you know more) than your superiors. But most of the time, you are hired because you don’t know all the answers. Don’t be afraid to embrace where you are. So go ahead…don’t be stupid but don’t be afraid to be a little sloppy.


And just for fun…what other examples can you think of  sloppy stopping more traffic than the showy? Send me yours.

1. Pippa and Kate Middleton



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