Recently I was invited to the book launch event for The Possible Self by Professor Maja Djikic, at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

Professor Djikic shared her ideas about self, self-improvement, mindset, change… and so much more. She highlights that “I am X” is a limiting statement. But, if you say “I am becoming Y” or “I am moving towards Z”, you exist in a state of change and the outcome is one of possibility. You are creating your “possible self.”

Sitting in the seat of adoring fans at this book launch, I decided I needed to invite Professor Djikic to be on the Talk About Talk podcast.  And here we are!

3 things to Talk About this week:

  1. 2 false assumptions we have about self-improvement
  2. The Kintsugi Metaphor
  3. Tech journalist Kara Swisher on being yourself

1️⃣ 2 false assumptions we have about self-improvement

Talk About Talk episode 157 - Andrea Wojnicki - book cover for Your Possible Self by Maja Djikic

The foundation of Professor Djikic’s book is correcting the false assumptions we hold about ourselves.  She highlights these two widely held false assumptions:

  1. We are stable, static, or fixed  As adults, we focus on holding all the pieces of our lives together, to keep our lives stable and calm.  But we run the risk of stagnating or not feeling excited about life. “Oh, well,” we say, “I’ve been doing this for so long, this is just who I am.” We put ourselves into a box which becomes the box everyone expects us to be in. We don’t often challenge whether or not we are this static person because it feels dangerous to explore outside of our box and disrupt expectations.
  2. We can change through sheer willpower – as a society, we think anything worthwhile to achieve has to hurt.  As adults we feel we have to “account” for our lives, force ourselves to go to work in a role we don’t like or live a certain way, because you’re “supposed” to.  “I’m not enjoying this but it’s work – what do you expect?”  We think that if we want change, we need to suffer or experience hardship.  (Think about ANY diet or exercise plan out there….)

But, she adds, “just because we’re suffering doesn’t mean that we are growing and developing in the direction of our potential. We all have our unique set of things…the world needs our uniqueness…it needs our unique pieces. So when we don’t become these pieces, we deprive the world of what we could have done”

Remember when I wrote about thought leadership in a past issue and encouraged you to identify the topic you truly love?  THIS is part of your uniqueness.

2️⃣ Kintsugi

Talk About Talk ep 157 - Andrea Wojnicki - Your Possible Self with Maja Djikic - image of blue and white porcelain cup with gold filling in the cracks - illustrating the art of kintsugi

The Japanese have a wonderful tradition called kintsugi; the repairing of broken pottery pieces with thin lines of gold. The result is an object they consider to be even more beautiful.

Maja refers to kintsugi as a metaphor for working on ourselves; on our self-improvement or personal development. I love that concept.

We aren’t necessarily “broken” but our experiences and growth may cause cracks – for better or worse –  but as we work on them, we create “gold”.

What a beautiful metaphor!

3️⃣ Tech journalist Kara Swisher on being yourself

Talk About Talk - Andrea Wojnicki - quote from journalist Kara Swisher - It works for me and that's what I'm like... If you happen to be shy, be that way. If you happen to be this, be that way. But it's better if you're true to what you're like instead of pretending, because I think it makes you sick in a weird way.

As humans, we are social learners. We learn from observing others and the (sometimes) benefits of conforming to others expectations. But there’s real power in leaning in to our own unique superpowers, our true self.

Have you heard the recent Rethinking podcast with Adam Grant, where he interviews Kara Swisher? I highly recommend this episode where one of my favourite organizational behaviour academics interviews the no apologies, tech journalist and author Kara Swisher.

Some people think Kara is grumpy or feisty. But I admire her confidence, her growth mindset and her intellectual curiosity. Kara leans into her true, authentic self, and refuses to conform.

Check out this highly recommended episode:

There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:

  1. 2 false assumptions we have about self-improvement
  2. The Kintsugi metaphor
  3. Tech journalist Kara Swisher on being yourself

Talking About Talk podcast episode 157 - Your Possible Self with Maja Djikic

You can hear more from Professor Maja Djikic by checking out episode 157 on AppleSpotifyYouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Did any of this resonate with you? What assumptions are you holding about yourself that may not be true?  Have they prevented your personal development and growth?

Please email me or message me on LinkedIn – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a great week.

Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea WojnickiDr. Andrea Wojnicki

executive communication coach

P.S. – By the way, I have another newsletter on LinkedIn, called “Talking About Talk” with different coaching content than this one! You can join other ambitious folks and learn more by signing up here.