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Beware the Shape-Shifters

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Because it rained up until mid-afternoon on Saturday, we watched a good bit of Halloween TV Friday and Saturday. And the shows we watched were full of the typical Halloween cast of characters: witches, mummies, vampires, etc. But I also noticed that many shows also had a variation on the “shape-shifter”. You know, the person (or monster) that can turn itself into anyone or anything, at least for a little while. shapeshifter

I think the Shape-Shifter may be the scariest creature in the lot. Why? Because they actually exist.

Let me explain.

When I first entered the world of coaches, gurus and experts, I was naive and gullible. I believed people were who they said they were and that public persona would always match up with private personality. Boy was I wrong.

I remember the first time I dealt with the staff of a supposed “abundance” guru. Wow, there was nothing abundant about their attitude or willingness to engage with a relative newbie on the scene. I felt so duped and so mislead.

But, being one to believe the best about people, I figured it was a very rare exception. So I recovered and moved on.

Then it happened again. I was in a small group that included several well-known experts. Their public MO was all about generosity and positivity. As I attempted to engage them in conversation, however, I saw nary a trace of either. In fact, one of them point blank asked me “Well, who ARE you?” As if that played some part in whether I was worthy of conversation. I was dumbfounded – and again felt shame and embarrassment.

And again. This time I actually got close to an expert. We talked, we shared stories, we were becoming friends. During one of our conversations, I shared my plans for an upcoming product launch. You can see where this one is going, right? Imagine my surprise when this “expert” launched an almost identical product with an almost identical name. And stopped taking my phone calls.

Again, I felt shame and embarrassment. As if I were wrong somehow, or missed some clue to the expert’s true nature.

I’d like to say that as time passed, I’ve stopped being duped by shape shifters. But that simply isn’t true. I’ve gotten wiser for sure. And my ability to detect them has drastically improved. But at the core of my being, I am still a person who believes people are who they say they are.

Which means that, from time to time, I will be wrong about someone’s true nature. In fact I’ve been wrong – VERY wrong – at least twice this year. But here is what’s different: I no longer feel the shame and embarrassment of somehow misunderstanding. I didn’t misunderstand. I trusted. So the shame and embarrassment don’t belong to me. They belong to the other person.

Is it hard? Yes. Does it hurt? Yes. Would I rather be jaded and callous and guarded? Not on your life. But that’s just how I roll.

What about you? Have you had a run-in with a shape-shifter that knocked you and your business slightly off center? I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

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