Updated: May 29
What percentage do you feel you can show up fully as yourself in your life? Do you have a work persona that looks much different from your authentic self? Do you feel like you must hide who you are in relationships? We put on different selves to achieve and succeed yet it also comes at a cost. Not living a fully engaged and authentic life produces a feeling of draining energy, frustrating compromises, and incomplete satisfaction. We wear an armored self to protect from pressure or stress, wanting to avoid negative judgment by trying to present a perfect self, or wishing to connect and not finding ways to affiliate with people in a similar fashion that reflects our true selves.
In the climb up the corporate ladder, it is common for a work persona to emerge that shields a person from the daily pressures and stress that come with the job. The heat and pressure build, and it is common to layer on armor in the ascent. This armor and layering costs energy and authenticity. A different approach can be to thoughtfully respond to the moment with full authenticity. We can be ourselves and meet conflict, stress, and pressure in a mindful way. It is changing the mindset from swimming with sharks to meeting with humans. When we meet the moment over and over with a clear and thoughtful head, we increase our wellbeing at work.
Perfection or Professional?
Working from a belief that perfection is possible for you is a never-ending hamster wheel that only accelerates over time. Perfection holds the belief that we have a range of control that extends beyond the reach of our own arm. Simply put, control stops at the edges of your skin. You have control over your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Wanting things perfect can kill the spirit of wellbeing on a project or in a role. You can pivot away from perfectionism and toward professionalism. Am I showing up as a leader? Am I communicating in a way that empowers results? Do I have firm commitments in place? What can I do differently that might make this next step more manageable? What support can I ask for?
Our companies are complimented by varying viewpoints. Often, we get trapped in meetings that narrow to one idea or the other. In reality, there are probably 50 more ways to get to the solution with new ideas. Rather than talk about my way or your way, it is beneficial to wonder, “What is it that you value about your solution?” Now the conversation can be focused on what is most important to each party and present solutions that keep those values in mind. It is keeping the focus on the most important aspect of the process and growth that enables real conversations to move the needle on getting a job done.
The cost of wearing a mask or building a wall in relationships is authentic connection. We will advance farther and higher if we can show up as our true selves in the workforce. People have an inner radar to sense if there is a real connection happening or a hidden agenda. The walls we build to keep people out become the prisons that keep us from our growth and trustworthiness. Get feedback from a friend on how you show up in the relationship. Ask for where they see your personal growth. Use this to improve your professional presence. We will not grow if we don’t challenge ourselves to do it. Put a word on your computer monitor to remind you to connect. Authentic. Real. Breathe. Patience. Don’t be afraid of pushing your growth. You are the only one who can!
Interested to learn how you can apply this? Book a sample coaching session and find out.