Are you an Oscar worthy actress?
I’d like to start by asking you a question…
Are you “truly you” at work… is your personality the same inside as it is outside?
Whether you secretly love to crochet, despise reality TV or the Hoff is your guilty pleasure. Do you hide certain personality traits about yourself for fear of judgment or do you act differently to try to fit in?
I know this well, because for many years I suffered from “comparisonitis” at work. I compared myself to others and wanted to fit in. Deep down, I had quirks in my personality, which I thought people would dislike me for or think I was weird and so I hid them.
I mean, how many people do you know that spend hours teaching a dog to stick their tongue out? Sounds odd, I know, but I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get out of watching my fur ball, Teddy, show me his little pink tongue on demand!
Please don’t judge…
Actually... please feel free to, because I’m completely cool with it…
I’m finally embracing my quirks and loving being “truly me”.
What does authenticity look and feel like?
Last week I gave a presentation in front of a couple of hundred. Years ago, this would have freaked me out. In fact, I remember agreeing to speak at a large conference and backed out weeks before because I didn’t have the confidence to do it.
“Who would be interested in what I have to say, what if I mess up and embarrass myself, what if people catch a glimpse of the real me?”.
Fast-forward seven years and there is a remarkable confidence and feeling of alignment that comes with being authentic and “truly you”. Whilst I was still a little nervous about speaking in public, my thought process and underlying belief had transformed to…
“You are who you are and you will either attract or repel people because of that. If you mess up or stutter and stumble, so what – be gracious and carry on – you are a human being. Those that you attract will become your tribe and those that you repel, will either talk about you or disregard you, but they will quickly move on and you will be relieved that they are not a part of your tribe”.
At the end, a number of people complimented me on the presentation – one surprisingly commented
“Wow you had your notes on stage with you, but didn’t need them. I always thought I shouldn’t have notes on stage, could you give me some tips on presenting”.
To which I replied
“Of course, just be your true authentic self and do what feels most comfortable to you”.
So therein lies my point.
By being true to myself and doing what I felt was most comfortable and not worrying about what others thought, I inspired someone else to do something that was more in line with what they wanted to do.
Leadership calls for authenticity…
Having once struggled to find my own authentic leadership style and voice, I can’t tell you how many years of unnecessary stress, fear of failure and not being good enough it caused and how preoccupied I was with what others thought.
The freedom that comes with being “truly you” is liberating.
As humans, we have an innate desire to be liked and fit in. We get caught up in observing and trying to mirror the behaviours of those that we look up to or aspire to be like. We scour the Internet searching for the traits of successful leaders, how to be recognised and respected in the workplace, that we forget to do what comes naturally, from within our heart and express who we really are.
Over time, acting or hiding becomes tiring and you end up feeling out of alignment with yourself. You start to question your purpose and this is usually the turning point when many people evaluate their career or seek out a new job. Often times, a new job isn’t the answer, being “truly you”is…
If people follow those that they know, respect and trust – how can you be a leader when people don’t know the real you…?
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