SMOKE & MIRRORS… Magic Tricks for Grown Ups

smoke and mirrors image

The practice of expecting nothing from people to ensure less disappointment is something I have yet to master. I am amazed at what behaviors or actions people openly oppose, but secretly support as long as it’s for their cause or can be justified by their hurt. This can be displayed by those we so easily deem should know better or even secretly admirer. However, when they act in ways contrary to what is perceived to be shared beliefs we feel let down because of too high expectations. And, even though we have good intentions, ultimately we end up questioning what it is we really stand for because of their conduct. I know that by now I should understand how folks are, but I guess there is a part of me that has some hope or naiveté about people being really good at heart. Although this hope is tested, I would rather keep it and find ways to patch myself up when frustrated or pester my husband until I feel better, than to completely get rid of it altogether.

As of late, I’ve noticed there is an obsession with “faking it until you make it,” whether it’s with material or integrity, and people caring too much about how others perceive them. Years ago when my mother got involved with network marketing, this popular phrase was said often by the leaders in the company who wanted to encourage their teams to increase their sales. It was meant to boost confidence and rid you of feelings of inadequacy so you would decide to try and be successful even if you didn’t have some material things, especially if your potential clients had way more than you. I’m pretty sure it didn’t mean to give off the impression that these items consume you, and that you should use it to judge and measure yourself in comparison to others. It wasn’t meant for you to use it to condemn people until they got to your so called level.  It wasn’t meant for you to give off the impression that you are royalty and others are your poor servants. And, it wasn’t meant for you to constantly be “on”, unable to be transparent, or have an authentic conversation with other people before you know what they own and who they know.

Earlier in my professional career, I was encouraged to network and join organizations to expand my inner circle. One of them I did particularly well in and was able to obtain an executive position on the board. But something pulled at me that made me feel that instead of rubbing elbows with the city’s business elite, I needed to take time to build as an individual. I wanted to prove profitable in business for the long term, like my peers who owned several companies for years. I didn’t want to think of myself as a fraud. Shortly after I stepped down to focus on getting my ducks in a row, I soon realized that a lot of the people I assumed actually lived up to their hype, really did not. Because I worked at a bank I was privy to these small business accounts that because of the egos of the owners should have been overflowing with thousands of dollars, they often were barely able to make payroll. Instead of hearing about office parties, I was met with unflattering stories from disgruntled employees about having to wait until their checks could be cashed and poor working conditions. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely no shame is the struggle. But, their ought to be a little humility when a person knows it is their pretending that has allowed them to maintain a position of influence, not the facts. And one of the saddest things is watching people try to pretend no one is on to them, when everyone actually is, but they are so caught up in their act they can’t see they’ve been figured out.

It is true that no one owes it to anybody to be real, it’s just sad they don’t know they deserve it for themselves. Until then I chose to continue to be one of the exceptions, and I may just stumble across others who have decided to do the same.

To assist in helping to not fall for smoke and mirror magic tricks, remember:

  • You are not always for the same cause just because you have things in common.
  • Don’t make assumptions in either personal or business. This will definitely save you some headache with expecting things from people that you shouldn’t. As the old saying goes, believe half of what you see, none of what you hear.
  • Give people room to grow. Everyone is allowed to evolve.

Rachel Bryant Lundy

Rachel Bryant Lundy

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