Code-switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.
How many times have you found yourself changing the way you speak depending on the group you're with? I would naturally fall into my Queens, NYC-girl rhythms with my high school friends for Sunday brunch, but switch easily into exec talk at the board meeting that following Monday, all remnants of that Queens twang gone. On and on it goes, mostly a subconscious but powerful act.
This is a social survival mechanism, a way to integrate and assimilate. I used to assign a type of shame to it - integrity means you stay "true to who you are, always", right? Not true.
Adaptation is key to success and this morning I am wondering how if we as humans are so skillful at code-switching, in what ways could we use this to expand our lives and encourage ourselves to try new, challenging things, with the knowledge that we are ever so adaptable and that we have this "special skill" in our toolbox?
Could we apply for that job that's in a totally different sector?
Could we go back to school for mechanical engineering knowing you have your code switching skills to pull you through a confusing, stressful environment?
Could you join that committee that seems intimidating knowing full well you have what it takes to be there and a set of whiplash- quick code-switching skills?
That's what I'm thinking about this morning. A special skill stuck at the very bottom of our toolbox.
How many times do you code switch in a day...a week?
And how do we activate it and keep using it to our advantage?