I recently applied for a company that asked me to create a slide deck to describe myself and how I would fit with their culture. It was a creative concept, and I definitely had fun with it. Yet, I'll admit that it was tempting to engineer my creation. After all, when you're trying to find a match, whether it be with a person, company, or opportunity, it's tempting to present yourself as the perfect fit, even if you aren't. It's tempting to manipulate your presentation to show that your values, desires, and beliefs align perfectly with whomever you are trying to impress. Though my conscience kept me from fudging the facts, I think that most of us morph into new creations around new crowds subconsciously, desperate to prove that we fit in, match up, or complement well. The problem with this is obvious: if everyone changes their personal brand to fit with somebody else's culture, we lose cultural purity and lose sight of ourselves.
This morning, I read the following quote from an article on Inc. entitled If You're Looking for Company Culture, You're Doing it Wrong.
"You don't have to go outside and find your values out there in the world," Ringelmann said. "The benefit of being an entrepreneur is that the values, the beliefs, and behaviors that your company needs to succeed are the ones that you hold yourself. Because you started this company for a reason. You're trying to solve a problem, and so your goals are your company's goals--it's one in the same."
I think the answer to most of our relationship problems can be found in the same conundrum. Success is not found by mimicking the values of someone or some group that you admire. Even if that person or company has outstanding character, copying that behavior will rob you from figuring out who you are and going through the process of developing your beliefs.
To be truly successful, as Ringelmann said, you have to understand the values that you already hold, so that you can figure out where your best fit is. If you know who you are, then you can decide what you want to change, but not the other way around. You can't start building if you don't have the foundation. If you copycat your values, you will always look for others to lead in hard times, and you'll never be able to make an honest decision for yourself.