Do you sometimes feel like you’ve got a split personality? Like the person you are at work is nothing like the person you are in the rest of your life?
This approach, whilst being incredibly common, also has a limited life span. It works well in the short term but eventually it’s exhausting to maintain.
We commit so many hours of our lives to working that if we aren’t being ourselves in that space we start to feel like we’re losing our identity. We lose our spark and passion for life.
There are many ways to deal with this. Sometimes it’s time to acknowledge that your workplace isn’t for you any more, that you’ve outgrown it or it just isn’t aligned to your values anymore. Sometimes a new venture is calling your name. (If running your own business is that something, you might want to check out this free video training from my business mentor Marie Forleo. The training is available for just a short while and is very useful in helping you to get a sense of what you really need to be thinking about in order to run a successful business online.)
Sometimes the work is still interesting but the way you’re expected to work doesn’t suit you anymore. You’re looking for a new way of working. (This is something we explore in our flagship program ‘A Visible Woman’.)
At other times you just need to take some time reconnecting with a more joyful you and give yourself permission to be that person all the time.
If she hasn’t been showing up at work lately, you can normally find joyful you on the dance floor or the tennis court. Sometimes she’s swimming or playing volleyball, cooking or writing.
We all have an environment, a place where we feel free. Where we’re excited about life and happy to be ourselves. Where we’re comfortable in our bodies and natural in our actions.
Often it’s when we’re doing something physical (like playing basketball, singing or riding a bike), or something creative (like playing the piano or painting a picture).
When you’re engaged in that activity you’re confident. You don’t care about making mistakes – you see them as opportunities to learn and grow. You’re unselfconscious and you’re present to the task at hand.
Take a moment to consider, in which area of your life are you most yourself? Where do you feel most confident and at ease? And:
- What is that version of you doing that you’re not doing when you’re at work?
- How is she approaching the task in front of her?
- What are her expectations?
- Is she concerned about what other people think or is she just in her own space, being herself?
- Does she have a whole bunch of ideas about how things should or shouldn’t be or is she just taking life as it comes?
Take some notes about the difference between the way you approach your favourite activity versus the way you approach work. Really take some time to explore what is different about her mental and emotional approach to life.
Now invite that version of you to inform you in every moment of your working day, not just when you’re in yoga class or on the soccer field.
Ask her to inform every moment of everyday.
Once you’ve done that, get a sense of what it might feel like to approach your working day from her perspective. Get a sense of what would be different about your working day if you had her expectations, her ideas, her confidence and ease.
Now make a commitment to yourself that each time you feel yourself stepping away from your true self and behaving the way you think you should in the work place, you’ll remember her.
Make a commitment to remember her and then to ask yourself, ‘How would Yoga Helen or Music Sue, how would Painting Jo or Dancing Jenny, approach this moment? What would she be thinking, what would she say or do?’
Use this question repeatedly during your day as a way of freeing yourself from what you think you should be doing or being when you’re at work.
The world doesn’t need more people to behave the way they think others expect them to. The world needs more people to be openly and uniquely themselves.
P.S. Oftentimes this exercise is all you need to flip a switch. You realise that making a conscious decision and developing a new habit that shifts your perspective was exactly what you needed.
Sometimes it’s harder than that. We feel ourselves trapped in old ways of thinking and behaving. Old rules about how you should and shouldn’t show up in certain spaces keep dominating your thoughts. If that feels like you, you’ll benefit from some visibility block clearing work (clearing out blocks that stop you from being more visible on your own terms and in ways that feel authentic to you). Our free training ‘Your Inner Good Girl’ will help you with that. You can pick it up here.