When you rock up to work each day, which version of yourself do you present to your colleagues?
What’s this about?
Authenticity. We all have it within us, but at work and in life we expose it to varying degrees.
Day to day. Place to place. Moment to moment. Sometimes we reveal parts of our inner feelings. Other times we hide them. Often unknowingly. Subconsciously. Out of habit. Out of fear. Fear of being rejected. I mean what would people think if they knew what we were really thinking? Or if we said what we felt instead of holding it back and saying what we think is appropriate?
How many versions of ourselves do we present to the world? To ourselves even? Are we truly honest and open with ourselves, about who we are and what we feel? Speaking for myself. No. Not always.
When starting to jot these thoughts down on to (virtual) paper I had the idea that there is a ‘work you’ and an ‘other you’, but on reflection and discussion with some friends it seems much deeper than that.
Looking internally there’s multiple versions that I present to the world:
through this blog
at home when being a husband & father
when with wider family
on social media
All slight variations that are present at different times.
Maybe you feel the same and are comfortable with revealing different parts of yourself to different sets of people in different environments. But looking closer does it make you feel that you’re holding back?
After all, none of these parts on their own are the whole you, but each contains some elements. So – is the real you the sum of these parts or… what’s left when you strip away all the mini you’s? Imperfections and all. After all, they’re what make us human. What makes us who we are.
Surely to be brave enough to strip away the barriers and superficial layers we form and to present our true selves and our true feelings – that’s authenticity? To deliberately apply extra layers to disguise our inner feelings and to pretend to be something or someone we aren’t is just plain fake?
I’ve written previous posts about integrity, but this is different.
Integrity is saying you will do something and then doing it. It’s holding a value and living up to that value.
Authenticity is deeper, and about ensuring that value is something you completely believe in, rather than something you think other people will want to see you believe in.
My brain aches. I guess where this ends is with the simple idea of finding and being aware of one’s own authenticity, and trying to be brave enough to share the real, whole you with the world as much as, and as often as possible. Even at work. Even when acting in a professional capacity.
Because ultimately you are ok. Warts and all. Giving your honest opinion is OK. And as long as you believe and accept that, then others will too. And if they don’t, does it even matter anyway?…