AND for the first time in my professional career, I showed up for the interview unapologetically myself. I didn't bottle up my excitement over the opportunity for fear of offending any of the panel. I didn't squeeze myself into the hiring assignment and give them a presentation of crap I thought they wanted to hear. I showed up in my own way with my passion for communication - the art of it, the opportunity of it, the dynamics of it, the gift of it all - to create movements and connections and communities and change.
I was the calmest I've ever been in a presentation to strangers, and I felt genuine energetic exchanges with others in the room as I answered formal questions with answers woven into a story of why a dose of my magic is what they are looking for.
And I meant every word of it. The hiring manager laughed as she shared in answering my pointed, "So, how did I do?" that she actually enjoyed herself, that she wishes she could bottle my energy, the emotion, that she was excited about my ideas. She meant it.
And I took it as a compliment. Why wouldn't I?
I've always taken such feedback as a super loud signal of being too much.
Like a WEEE AHHH WEEE AHHH YOU'RE TOO MUCH signal.
Simple feedback like what she gave me in the moment would have sent me into a days-long identity crisis of a tailspin in the past, wondering, spiraling about how I offended anyone.
Not this time. This time is different. I'M different. I feel like Natalie.
I'm not quite the right fit for that role! But when she called to personally thank me for my time and tell me they'd selected another candidate, it was an authentic exchange of two humans glad for communication and the opportunity to have met one another, grateful for the exchange of wonderful ideas and energy and time.
I believed her, and for that, I'm good.