“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” – Carl Jung
A client and I were discussing reliable sources of information on our industry. After reviewing different websites and blogs, we moved onto individuals who offer insightful posts.
“Are you on Twitter?”, I asked.
Long pause. “Well, my Twitter account is really for my musician persona. I don’t use it for corporate work.”
Musician? That never came up in our previous discussions. Of course, we were normally discussing postal regulations, so there was no obvious connection. Based on their job, I could understand why they wanted to keep their two professions separate.
While we may think this person’s situation is unique, we all have different personas that we present to different audiences. We may act one way at home, another at work, and completely different when we’re with friends – and that may change based on which friend is present.
For example, most of my clients see me as a subject matter expert on print and mail, with a penchant for processes, mathematical analysis and passion for the industry. To my nieces and nephews, I’m “Uncle Mark”, who is of the same generation as their parents, but slightly different. To my oldest friends, I’m “Duke” (a very long story). At home, I’m just me, living a quiet, but full life.
It would be simplistic to call someone “untruthful” for presenting themselves differently depending upon the other person. Of course, what’s important is that the individual isn’t representing themselves as something they’re not – that they aren’t lying. They’re merely revealing one aspect of their whole self.
For example, a die is a cube with representations of numbers on each of its six sides. When you roll a die, you can’t see all six sides. Depending upon your point of view, you may only see one side. If you look at it from an angle, you may see three sides at once. But you can’t see all sides.
Also, the side resting on the surface is hidden from view. Using logic, you can deduce what number is on the hidden side. Actually, you can only deduce what number is probably on the last side. Until it is revealed, you can’t be sure.
People are much more complex than dice. Not only may we have more than 6 sides, we may keep certain aspects hidden from everyone – even those closest to us. The last side is never revealed.
Because we don’t know the whole story of someone’s life, we must be wary of making assumptions based on our limited interaction. The person across from us is so much more than what we see – and what they allow us to see.