The Land of Oz

If you’ve ever found youself saying, “If I only had X, I’d be happy, successful, rich…”, you are not alone. Related to this, many of us tend to have a vision of someone who does just what we do, but is loved by everyone, has a devoted mentor, is efficient and effective, and never has to exert themselves for promotions, new jobs, or new clients. That person has the confidence we lack.

To take a page from Dorothy’s story, that elusive person is almost always just a light behind a screen. But boy it is scary to pull back that screen. To do it means to admit that the very things we admire in others are the things we already possess. It takes me to the well-known Marianne Williamson quote about our brilliance.

Rather than let your wizard clobber you, here are a few ways to embrace and use it:

  1. Ask yourself what it is that you admire in the thing, or person, you want. Then, like the Lion, Tin Man and the Scarecrow, take a look at yourself. Are these things already in you? These are likely core values for you and things you already do naturally. Give yourself some credit, and share with the world that you already are this person.
  2. Avoid the comparison game. Living in New York in my 30’s, I realized that my wizard was a composite of many people, all the very best in one area. So I’d take someone who’d enjoyed early promotions, combine her with another one who seemed never to struggle with weight, combined with another who dated with ease. You get the idea. I called her my Franken-woman. It is so important to look at our progress and evolution, not look to absolute goals. A great tool for this is to do a review of what you have accomplished in the last week, month or year. Ask yourself where you were a year ago, and where you are today.
  3. Break it down. In the public speaking and leadership development courses I train and coach in at Columbia, we break things down. What would a confident stance look like when you are in a meeting or in front of an audience? Do you tend to stand/sit straight, or do you slouch? What does an assertive statement sound like when you are delegating to a colleague? Are you direct and neutral, or do you get emotional? And, what assumptions are you making about your colleagues’ behavior? Is it accurate, or is your own prism changing the message?

Please feel free to share your own wizard, and please, no comparison to the perfect hostess as we enter into the holiday season!

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2 thoughts on “The Land of Oz”

  1. Claire – I just love the Wizard of Oz as a backdrop for this conversation! Just the other day I asked a client to pull back the curtain in Oz and she saw a maniacal, frantic, superwoman wanna-be! As usual, you hit the nail on the head. xo Cat

  2. very good thoughts in here. the combination of focusing inwardly on how one is coming off and projecting outwardly what people are not likely thinking or going to do can make one freeze up. Thanks. Mary

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