The first time it happened I was only 10. I was swinging from one of those rope swings under the tree in the back yard when all of a sudden a Magpie swooped, landed on my head and started to scratch. I screamed. It flew off and I ran inside.
As my Mum consoled me I cried: “I’m not a bird’s nest”. Well, you can only imagine how much teasing fun my siblings had with that!
Again, just recently, I was sitting outside at the local market having a coffee and I could feel something on my head. It was a windy day and I thought it must have been a leaf. So I brushed my head only to discover that a Sparrow had landed. What? Twice?
Somehow a second bird had mistaken my hair for a nest!
The people at the table next to me saw what happened. We just looked at each other, a bit in shock. After all, it’s not something you see every day. Then we all started to laugh.
It reminded me of Melanie Griffith playing Tess in the movie Working Girl. She plays a working-class Staten Island woman with ambitions to move up from “Secretary”. She cuts off her below-the shoulder tresses for a chin-length bob and proclaims:
“You wanna be taken seriously, you need serious hair.”
Don’t let yourself be defined by someone’s (or some bird’s) mistaken perceptions.
- You want to be noticed and appreciated for who you really are.
- You want your talents to be recognised by others.
- You want to be taken seriously.
Preferably by your boss, or anyone in a position to provide you with developmental opportunities.
If that’s not happening for you at work, then it’s even more important that you find a way to own your value and create your own opportunities. If you don’t, you run the risk of languishing in the lake of lost hope – either you’ll lose the willpower or not find a pathway forward.
Please don’t let that be you. It doesn’t have to be.
There are many ways to do this. Here are three of the ways that I’ve seen work:
1. Take yourself seriously – you might think you are but underneath there may be a deeper conflicting commitment that’s keeping you stuck eg. go for the promotion vs stay humble; or you might need to learn to manage or quieten your inner critic who is keeping you playing small.
2. Remember that people like people who are like them – and people like to work with people they like. One way to be more likeable is to let people talk about themselves. That means asking open questions, especially ones that get them in touch with positive emotions (best not to ask about the divorce). That way you’re associated with positive emotions too.
3. Look the part – so you look like you’re part of the tribe. It’s not hard to wear similar style clothing. And it goes without saying, sort out your hair if it’s distracting or in any way resembles a bird’s nest! How many newsreaders do you see with curly hair? Not many, but those who do have it under control and look the part anyway.