You know that feeling you get when you can totally be yourself in a situation or with another person?
Have you noticed what happens to you?
There’s a joyful ease about it isn’t there? A perfect balance of feeling relaxed and energised, and a sense that you are free to be your best.
Now consider what happens when you don’t feel able to be the true ‘you’. Situations where you are constantly trying to be something else. It’s exhausting, yet we often do it for years, sometimes without even realising.
Looking back, I can think of times in my career when I was able to be myself and felt appreciated for what I brought to the party. These are definitely the happier times in my working life. They are also the times when I felt most confident and able to flourish, share, learn, explore, innovate, laugh and care; I was empowered by feeling able to be ME. Not only were my strengths seen and my perceptions heard, but I felt I was adding value and this transformed my ability to shine.
I can also pinpoint times when the opposite was true. These are definitely the least positive periods in my working life, when it felt like wading through treacle with stones in my boots!
With hindsight (and some career coaching!), I concluded that being in a role and environment that best aligns with my true self was most likely to lead to career fulfillment.
So, what does it mean to be true to yourself?
I think it is about being honest and genuine, being comfortable in your own skin and knowing what is important to you. It means making your own choices and not living by someone else’s standards or expectations. It is also about being brave enough to be vulnerable at times, being kind to yourself about who you are and expressing yourself in a way that is ok for you and ok for others.
So, what helps you to create a career that best fits with who you really are? It starts with:
- Accurate self-awareness
- Openly embracing the real you (and knowing what you need)
- Using this insight to help guide your career choices.
To help you consider the above, try asking yourself:
- What gives me energy?
- What do I value or believe in?
- What do I enjoy or find stimulating?
- What comes naturally to me?
Next, consider what this is telling you. What do you notice about your answers?
Thinking about the last bullet point, often when I speak with clients about their strengths, they don’t always mention the things that they find easy, dismissing them as something they do without thinking and assuming that everyone else does them too.
But everyone else is not you and we don’t all find the same things easy or enjoyable.
Developing new capabilities and challenging yourself to grow is important, but it is often the things that that you find most natural and instinctive that make up the unique and valuable essence of you.
*** How true to YOU are you being in your career? ***