Sunday’s World Cup Final may have been notable for the controversial first half decisions and the first use of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) on the highest stage but the talking points moved quickly away from the players representing their countries to the politicians doing the same.
The image above of President Macron of France celebrating his country’s win has quickly become iconic. Meanwhile Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović captured the hearts of the watching world as she hugged the French President, the French players, the Croatian players and, it seemed, everyone within reach! It later emerged that she had attended all but one of Croatia’s matches, sat in the stands with fellow fans, wearing the team’s colours and all at her own expense.
It’s very easy to portray different images for our friends and family and in our professional lives. Many people seek to ‘act professionally’ when at work, dropping the pretence in their downtime. Not only is that a very dangerous pursuit, it also risks sucking the fun out of our professional lives.
If leading politicians can just relax and be themselves, why can’t others? It’s when you drop your guard and let your personality shine through that you can truly relate to people and create the level of rapport that drives strong relationships.
Of course, that relies on your personality to be one that others would want to relate to; I’m sure we can all think of other politicians who also wear their heart on their sleeve but are far less attractive as a result!
Long ago I realised that I needed to be the same person in my private life as I am in my professional life. After all, you can’t quite be sure when you might bump into someone who knows you from your other life. Fortunately that didn’t mean becoming boring in my personal life, it meant I could just relax and just be me all of the time.