Talking with a friend yesterday about how easy it is to be true to ourselves and how much we need to adapt to fit in with others’ expectations.
We talked about work. Trying to be the sort of person you think an employer wants is hard. We must hold back on authenticity and present an image and act in a way that others want us to be.
And people do this at all ages … from getting a first job to being a mid-life career changer.
Yes, we may get the job. But at what personal cost?
I work with people to help them find the true self within; the characteristics that make them shine. As people understand themselves more, they feel more confident in the choices they make, and funnily they are more likely to be successful in what they go for.
We may not be right for everyone and every company, but we are only going to get the great match when we care about the work and when it allows us to be at our best.
If we don’t do this what do we do?
We try and be two people – the person we need to be at work, and the person in our private life. Then it gets messy. And we can lose who we are.
So much of our energy is taken up with being someone else we don’t have the energy for being us, and that’s a shame.
And you know what happens. We lose a sense of who we are. We lose the light behind our eyes. We self-medicate with alcohol and trash TV.
If we try and copy someone else, we will never be us. What we will be is a poor copy.
So, think about who you are. What is it that makes you, you, and own it!
I’m spontaneous, and if I want to send off a text or Facebook message I will. Sometimes I think I should agonise, and wait, or review. BUT … being true to me the first message is the one to send and if it doesn’t go down well – if it’s too open … well, that’s me.
I’m passionate and will want to take an active involvement with things that interest me. I don’t worry how I’ll find the time. If I want to do something, I’ll do it – seize the day!
I’m curious, and want to learn more about the world and about who I am. There is always more to learn. I’ll talk with people. I’ll visit places. I’ll follow suggestions. I’ll absorb more knowledge, and it will help me grow.
I’m tactile, I touch people. I hug them. I want the human connection.
I’m not bothered about makeup and high heels. I prefer being natural and having shoes I can run in. Some companies want me to go for a different look, but I never have … and this is true in personal relationships too.
I’m organised. Totally. I love to make order out of chaos. I like structure and systems. This is a great skill to have in a job, but I have it in my personal life too. And not everyone does. And I get frustrated when friends won’t decide. I’ve tried to be ok with this, but I’m not. So, I let people know that I need to know. So, they understand when I follow up to confirm arrangements. And some people may not like this, and I’ve tried to go with the flow. I can do this in some parts of my life, but not all.
I’m more than this, but you get the idea.
So, think about you, what are some of the things that make you, you?
Start making a list and keep adding to it.
An exercise I do with my clients is to get them to keep answering the question ‘what makes me happy’.
Start writing it down. But don’t stop at 10. Aim for 50. It will take 10 to get past the obvious that everyone lists – like sunsets, sunrises, the smell of freshly baked bread …
This is just a start, and I’ll share another activity another time.
Enjoy, and let me know how you get on.