Last year, after class, an amazing student presented me with a problem. She said, “I’m worried about my upcoming job interview. My mother thinks I’m too serious.”
Of course, I immediately thought: Well, you know, if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother. But, instead I asked her: “What do you think? Do you think you’re too serious?”
She said, “No, not really. I never thought about it until she said it.”
Ah… the oldest story of all time: Someone says something, we doubt ourselves.
But… What if that quality that we’re “too much” of is our favorite thing? What if it’s our superpower? What if we’re NOT ENOUGH of it? What if, instead of shrinking in shame, we DIAL IT UP?
So, the next thing I asked that awesome student was: “What if you’re not serious enough? What if you were as serious as a heart attack? Because you know who else is serious? Politicians. Judges. Lawyers. Doctors. Powerful people are pretty serious.”
She laughed. I asked her to think it over: If she didn’t mind being serious, maybe she should let it shine. In advertising, we used to say: “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”
What if, for this young woman, TOO SERIOUS is the start of her presidential career? What if TOO SERIOUS leads her to the Supreme Court? What if TOO SERIOUS is NOT EVEN FREAKING CLOSE TO BEING SERIOUS ENOUGH???
You are always going to be “too much” for some people. That’s ok. Those aren’t your people. Your people don’t think you’re too much, they want more. They would like to spend more time with big, loud you. Laugh more with you. Talk more with you. Be serious with you much, much more often.
As for my student, she’s not too much of anything. If she wants to lighten up, she can. Her mom doesn’t get to decide. I don’t get to decide.
So what about you? Do people say you’re too much of something? Do you think you’re too much of something? If you don’t want to change it, maybe it’s your superpower.
And maybe, just maybe, Wonderwoman and Superman, it’s time to dial it up.