Even if you take an entirely different approach in your personal life, you may feel like you must conform or create a character of sorts at work. This can leave you feeling fake, inauthentic, and even fearful of your colleagues and clients learning about the real you. Here is how to be yourself at work.
Consider Your Why
Begin by considering why you aren’t being your authentic self at work. Yes, we must remain professional and filter ourselves to some extent (no profanity or keeping controversial topics such as politics at the door) but we must strike a balance. For many of us, creating a character while we work is a learned behavior. Or maybe you are a people pleaser at work, because you fear not being agreeable. Maybe your office culture rewards conformity. Maybe you haven’t found a way to follow the dress code that feels like you. Or maybe you are concerned that sharing your sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or non-traditional perspective won’t be well regarded. Begin by identifying your why, so you can create a plan.
Begin Being You
You spend most of your waking hours at work, so you deserve to be free. While ultimately freeing, the transition may be tough. Start saying no to taking on additional work. Hire a personal stylist to identify outfits that are office-appropriate but stylized. Start answering questions and providing input that expresses your true thoughts and opinions, focusing always on the value-add for employees, clients, and the bottom line. This shift may be a shock, but it may also be welcomed and rewarded.
If your authentic self is not welcomed, it may be time for a fresh start somewhere new.