Why is it so hard for us to be our true authentic self at work (and beyond)?
One word: Fear.
It seems that our authenticity gets “beaten” out of us when we’re little. Between getting teased as kids for being our wacky selves and our parents berating us to “act like everyone else,” slowly but surely we start to create a public persona that’s considered socially acceptable. We believe if the rest of the world knew how crazy, weird, dumb, silly or whatever we are deep inside, that there’s no way in hell they could like us–let alone love us.
But here’s the beautiful irony…
Every single one of us is crazy, weird, dumb, silly and whatever when it comes right down to it! Yet we’re also so arrogant that we think we’re the only ones. So we try to hide it. We do everything in our power not to let anyone see our “dark side.”
Essentially, we create a different us. One that doesn’t seem crazy, weird, dumb, silly and whatever. This version of us is perfect. And beautiful. And not weird. And of course super smart. And sexy (without being slutty of course 😉 ).
But it’s not us.
Not even close. Sure, there’s some resemblance. We look kinda the same–depending on how much makeup or designer clothes or fancy jewelry or cars we’re sporting. We sound kinda the same–depending on what’s coming out of our mouths. And it’s not like we’re lying. We’re just not presenting all of the facts.
Yet by holding back the quirky traits that make us unique–it’s not really Us that’s being seen.
In truth, human beings are a lovely mashup of polarities. Positive and negative. Fun and serious. Happy and sad. Forgiving and angry. Weird and “normal.” And it’s all good. Even when it’s not.
What’s hilarious (to me at least) is because everyone (and I do mean everyone) is pretty much a basket case inside our own heads, we are drawn to others who express this side of themselves outwardly. I don’t mean those that act certifiably over the top (although they can be attractive up to a certain point!).
For example, in business, we see the value of those who act fearlessly and courageously. Those who politely provide dissenting opinions when called for. Those who fail with dignity, but aren’t afraid to try again. Those who have a certain grace and ease about them. Those who live with loads of humor and even a little self deprecation. They are the most useful and helpful employees, and also make the best leaders.
We like them, because they seem to not quite so scared as the rest of us.
In other words, we are drawn to others who look like they’re having a lot of fun in life. The ones who aren’t really worrying much about what others think. They are who we wish we could be…if we weren’t so afraid.
The irony is that we are that person.
They are no different than us underneath the protective coating of our fake persona. They’re simply expressing their true nature–despite their fear.
Here are some questions for you to ponder…
- What would happen if you didn’t try to hide all your crazy bits from your colleagues?
- What if you just went about your life and your work being who you are, regardless of how weird and wacky, or sad or mad, or whatever it is you might be at any given moment?
Here’s what I think…
You’d live much more as your true authentic self–which is your most powerful state of being.
When we are who we are, people are drawn to us. They can sense our openness and honesty which helps them feel more comfortable to be who they are.
So what’s stopping you from being your true authentic self right now?
Yes, it might be scary. But so what? What is fear anyway?
Fear is ONLY and ALWAYS thoughts (and the accompanying feelings) concerning what might happen in the future.
Fear of what others might think. Fear of failure. Fear of not being good enough.
Can you see how there’s nothing REAL there. Nothing tangible?
Yes, others might think you’re weird. Yes, you might fail. And yes, you may not be as good as someone else at some things.
But so what?
Why does any of that matter?
Why does any of that prevent you from simply being you?
Besides the fear, what’s the worst that might happen?
Can’t think of anything? Me neither.
How about the best that might happen?
That I CAN imagine!
For one, the burden of hiding your true self to the world will be lifted. And if that alone isn’t enough, how about having others flock to you, simply because they enjoy your company? Or perhaps accomplishing all your goals without effort is to your liking?
When you show your true self to the world, the possibilities are endless.
Isn’t unlimited potential worth a little imaginary fear?
It is for me! How ’bout you? –Jill