Written by Geraldine Muteka


2 Comments(s)

10 Jul, 2021

If you have been following my posts, you might be thinking I am totally losing the plot. With my last post, I got you all psyched up with “change starts with you”, just to tell you now that it is not about you. Sounds kind of cuckoo to me. Stay with me…the crazy will make sense. 

When we go to work, we do not switch off our human needs, fears, and expectations. Although we put on the employee jacket, we are still fully human, with all its beauty and all its flaws. We may hide it better because of years of social conditioning, but it is still with us because it is such a critical part of who we are. 

You are a whole, made up of many parts. Some parts are beautiful by society’s standards and we try to show these parts more, whilst others should rather be hidden if we want acceptance in society. These inner battles are true to you and to all other people at your work. Most people, however, are not aware of the various parts and the inner battles. The iceberg illustration has been used successfully to describe the anatomy of the mind, of behaviour, and of success to name a few. 

It is also a useful image to illustrate what I am explaining about our behaviour and the behaviour of our colleagues at work. What people often see is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many matters growing, brewing, and living under the surface. This is true for everyone. It is a fair expectation that everyone should be working on these matters beneath the surface in healthy ways. We, however, know that this is not the case for most adults, ourselves included. 

Many times, their unresolved issues surface in unhealthy ways in a conflict situation and you may be on the receiving end of this. There might be a legitimate reason for addressing you on a mistake you made or poor performance, but the way you are being addressed is unhealthy. This unhealthy way of communicating can lead to you personalising the matter, i.e., making it about you as a person and not the behaviour. This can lead to you experiencing unhealthy reactions such as shame (“I am a failure”) or fear (“I will not try this task again”). It does not take a genius to see how this can lead to disaster in the workplace. 

The converse is also possible – with you projecting your unresolved issues onto others. Knowing that the unhealthy projection you are exposed to is not about you, but about where this person finds him or herself, will aid you in focusing on the behaviour that is of concern. A helpful mantra is “this is not a reflection of who I am, but of where this person finds themselves”. A mantra is a statement that you repeat frequently, and this statement can contribute to changes in your thinking that will aid you in future conflict situations. 

Stay committed to your growth. 

Till the next post … 

PS: You can create your own mantra containing the critical points shared in this blog. Please share your mantra in the comments section below.


  1. Tua Kalola

    This is profound. Thank you.

    • Geraldine Muteka

      You are welcome Tua


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