I start this week’s blog with an apology: it has been a few weeks since I’ve written. Sorry about that. I’ve been focussed on building a new online community for strata stakeholders – specifically owners, but many managers are currently reaping the benefits too. I’d be thrilled if you’d share it with your clients and colleagues

Now, on to this week’s blog. Thank you to the friend who inspired it:

Last week, a friend of mine was telling me how much she hates it when she blushes in front of other people. She said this usually happens when she has to give presentations at work. She stands, everyone looks at her, she turns bright red.

This happens to me too and always has. My Irish-heritage has left me with pale skin, through which anything shows. In situations of high adrenaline – standing in court; presenting to a roomful; a passionate conversation about an important topic; a debate with a friend – the top half of my body turns decidedly pink. This used to bother me. And the more I was bothered, the more I turned red.

One day, I saw the very same thing happen to a barrister (male) who I greatly admire and respect. He was making submissions to a roomful during a mediation, his head gradually turning redder and redder.  But as red as he was, what was coming out of his mouth was calm, considered and correct. I decided then and there that if it didn’t hold him back, it wouldn’t hold me back.

I know this happens to many of us (like my friend), and I know some of us try to cover it up – with makeup, clothes, accessories. We change our appearance to direct attention away from something uncontrollable about ourselves, to make ourselves (or is it others?) feel more comfortable.

How exhausting.

Instead, why don’t we try just being who we are? I believe I turn red because I am passionate about what I am doing or saying; I believe in the cause I am fighting for. I am a person who feels things deeply and who takes meaningful action. Yes, this may send me red in the face, but these qualities also mean that the people I serve each day describe me as an excellent listener, a fearless advocate and a person of reliable instinct and intuition. My emotion is part of what drives me to deliver outstanding results. If the alternative is to be a just another soulless cog in the wheel of industry, I choose red every time.

I have written before about the power of ‘getting emotional’: it’s important that we care about what we do. It allows us to do it well, and I don’t think we should be ashamed to show that we care, however our body chooses to show it.

So, to all the fair-skinned women out there, celebrate your skin and all it reveals about the unique person you are.  

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