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Sometimes the best way to see problems with yourself is to watch someone else act exactly like you do.

The behaviors of other people doing just what you do should cause you to pause, reflect, and go “Don’t I do the exact same thing? Oh, that’s gotta change!”

I say this because I’m guilty of doing some of the things that bother me the most about other people.

Taking yourself too seriously is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life.

It’s still something I’m very aware of because I see it being a struggle for other people. Self-awareness is very helpful in self-improvement when you allow it to be. Is this a struggle for you too?

Here’s how I know I’m taking myself too seriously…

and the problems it’s caused me in connecting with new people.

I worked in radio and the music industry for a long time (1997-2019). I hosted and produced my program in the same town for over 16 years. That can lead you to assume that just about everyone knew about what I did.

Not true, yet I used to think that if someone didn’t know what I did they must have been on another planet.

I used to get offended if someone who claimed to listen to the radio station I worked for hadn’t heard of my show (previously The Appetizer Radio Show). Or, even worse, if someone asked about the food that I talked about on the show.

This was my old “Angry Rooster Face”

I used to make this face when I’d get confused. It became my “angry rooster face.” I’d scrunch my eyebrows, squint my eyes, and looked like I was trying to figure out the square root of 12,239,288.1.

That’s the face I used to make if someone made a comment about my radio show and said something about me talking about food. “I thought you said you listened to my show? I’ve never done anything about food specifically. What are you talking about???” would be the thoughts going in my head, but not spoken outloud.

Inside I was taking myself way too seriously.

Either way, my attitude was that of an asshole. I took myself way too seriously and potentially offended good-hearted people who might have otherwise cared about what I was doing. However, because of the bad attitude I projected, it turned into an opportunity missed.



Why making assumptions hurts more than once

I assumed that since I was so passionate about my work, everyone who asked me about it must be too. I assumed that if someone showed the slightest bit of interest in my work, then they should know all about it and not need me to explain to them why it is important.

You know what they say about what happens when you assume? Except I’m just the one who was the ass.

Seeing the other side of the serious-taking-issue has revealed a lot of the negative side effects that this attitude can have. It’s also the exact opposite of grace and humility.


Your attitude affects your ability to build good relationships

I’m saying all of this because it’s important for us to put our contributions and our stories into perspective. This is especially true as we’re trying to reach new people we don’t know with our work.

I’m not the only person who’s worked in the music industry who is discovering excellent talent. And I certainly am not the only radio host who has showcased indie and unsigned music over the years.

Several great music radio icons preceded the work I do. The same is true for artists and businesses.

You have a passion for your songwriting and the mission behind your music. However, there are other very passionate, talented, and inspirational songwriters who are changing the world.

Keep that in perspective. It’s great that you’re not alone.

Consider this to build the connection with people

What is it about your work specifically that is remarkable?

What completely unique and uncommon thing makes you stand out from others who are doing similar work?

These are the pieces of your communication that need to come out with new people who are being introduced to your work.

Where I see “Too-Serious” play out the most

Music submissions are the prime place where I experience my old behaviors play out, and it’s mostly in a digital format. Not every artist who submits music gets accepted.

This is true on every media platform.

When an artist sends an email to me that is full of links to videos or songs, I don’t always follow all of the links. I honestly don’t always spend 15-30 minutes diving into a band’s music, especially not when the sender is a person I’ve never interacted with before. Remember strangers and gold?

I may not read all of the sender’s bio either. And when I reply and ask specific questions to get the artist to tell me more about what makes them unique (or essentially sell me on why their music is attention-worthy), some musicians take that as an affront to their music. However, that’s not the case.

The reality is that I don’t know the artist (yet), and the first impression they’ve left is that they take themselves too seriously. That someone who wants them to tell their story makes them upset.

It’s an artist giving me their own angry rooster face, and expecting the interest to be natural and inherent.

I hope this isn’t the response that other music curators are receiving when they interact and don’t instantly jump into any musician’s work, particularly yours. It may produce worse results.

Donkeys don’t win beauty pageants, even social ones.

Here’s the Takeaway to save face and big connection potential

Most new people won’t know your backstory, and they may not give you the attention you seek at first. Instead of taking yourself so seriously and getting offended at what a stranger doesn’t give you right away, nurture the first spark of that interest.

Build a dialogue. Approach the potential connection with grace and kindness. So many good things come out of a change in perspective and a better attitude.

That’s the win that comes out of this reflection. When we see ourselves in other people’s behaviors we want to see happiness and joy, and not something that leads to looking like the backside of a donkey.


Author Bio: Hi, I’m D Grant Smith, the Relationship Growth Farmer. I help people overcome fear and people-pleasing patterns to grow in confidence, experience real peace, and have healthy and strong relationships by treating your heart and mind like a garden.

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