Last week I had a moment of very real panic about whether or not I’d put my professionalism at risk.
It started when I was composing the title for the latest Thinking Pilates Podcast. My first idea and gut instinct was to use profanity in the title. I typed it in. “No Fucking Around…”
Then I began to think about my podcast co-founder and frequent co-host. How would she feel about this? What are her sensibilities? She knows me enough to know it’s not about being vulgar. (I hoped.)
I was actually starting to get a little sweaty at that point, playing out in my head the potential negative outcomes.
Then I thought about the teacher I’d interviewed for the podcast. Nah! He’d be fine. I’ve heard him use swear words while giving a workshop. This is his jam. (Or was it? It’s a bigger audience. Did that make a difference?)
I texted the teacher. “I’m playing with the podcast title and want to know what you think about this…”
Heart now racing, I stared at the phone.
Waiting. Waiting. Ping.
“I’m a profanity lover too, so I really love that title.”
After deciding that my co-host wouldn’t mind, I blasted it to the world.
That night I woke up a total mess thinking “What the hell have I done?! I just put that podcast out to everyone I know on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter! Jesus. What are people going to think?!”
I lied there thinking, worrying, and fantasizing about what was sure to be everyone’s outrage and embarrassment. I pictured who would be turned off. I imagined what they would say, why they would find it distasteful and unprofessional to the most egregious degree.
Then it dawned on me: who am I? Who do I present myself as a teacher, mentor, author? How to I present myself to people when I first meet them, when I teach them?
Oh, right! I frequently use profanity. I actually love the F word. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and myself AND using swear words is sometimes a way I express that. I’m also honest and authentic and not afraid to be who I am. AND I’m chalk full of fucking integrity and professionalism. I’m kind, caring, thoughtful, insightful, empathetic, and articulate. I’m even appropriately mannered (sans profanity — mostly) around children.
I have 6 tattoos, ride a motorcycle, have cared for dying grandparents, birthed 2 children, supported my colleagues, donated money, hiked a volcano, made money, blown money, traveled the world with my family, studied, worked, studied, worked, written a book, been a newspaper reporter, owned four businesses, been a professional dancer, coached a kids soccer team and so much more.
And I like to — occasionally — use the F word.
Did I do damage to my professionalism? Not from my point of you, but maybe from yours. I’m curious. In fact, I’m dying to know.
Will you and others judge my professionalism because I put the F word in my podcast title? Will it make you not want to learn from me, know me, work with me?
Here’s what else I’m wondering?
- What is professionalism (to you) and are there gray areas?
- How would you define it?
- Have you thought much about it for yourself and how it impacts your success as a teacher?
- Does the way you dress, do your hair, and keep yourself clean matter? To what degree? Where’s the line? (Would you fire a teacher who had consistent and pungent body odor? — It’s okay to laugh, but I’ve actually been in this situation.)
- Do you swear at home, but not when you’re teaching? Why?
- Do you want people to perceive you in a certain way? (Of course you do, but what way: according to your level of knowledge, success in business, by the way you look, by your religion, your morals, your toughness?)
Right now I’m feeling super grateful that some of you are reading this. It’s a blessing to have a platform to stir up the discourse (you might call it something else) in our profession, to share knowledge and grow as people and yes, professionals.
I hope many of you will share your opinion.
Oh, and the link that that podcast I was talking about is here.
With warmest and most sincere regards for your opinions (and professionalism) — Chantill