Updated: Oct 29, 2021
Quite often I hear from my clients about their struggle with putting on a certain persona during work hours, and stifling their true personality or unique quirks for the sake of blending into 'office culture'. They downplay who they are, or try to act like someone they're not; figuring this sort of strategy is what will get them ahead in their career.
They fear that behavioral anomalies will attract judgment, criticism, or rejection.
However, this can be quite ironic, because, on the contrary, the one thing most if not all my clients really desire is to stand out and be noticed in order to progress in their career.
In order to stand out, you must find a way to make your distinct qualities the focal point of your work, so that you can be appreciated for who you are and not compromise on reaching your full career potential. Read on for my 3 tips to unapologetically be yourself in the workplace.
Be proud of who you are and your unique story
When you don't embrace your unique story, you are sending the message to yourself and others that 'I'm not good enough.' Energy spreads like wildfire. So the sooner you accept yourself for who you are and understand how your authentic self makes you valuable in the workplace, the sooner others will recognize your unique value too.
Rather than apologizing for who you are, or trying to change it in order to fit into the office culture, just own who you are and be proud of it.
With self-acceptance, comes self-respect.
Once you respect yourself, respect from others will follow.
Free yourself from the weight of other peoples opinions
I want you to go back to a time where you felt judged by a person - and I want you to truly ask yourself - was it them that really judged you, or was it yourself?
Fearing the judgment of others is merely a product of your ego - which in the context of holding you back from being your true self, serves no purpose.
One of the quickest ways to stand out and be recognized as a thought leader is to own your values and opinions in a conversation. It can be as simple as sharing your perspective on a new idea, or having an opinion on what you think the company can do better. Sharing your thoughts irrespective of what others may think shows strength and presence - both essential leadership qualities.
Remember, the only person that can truly judge you is you.
It's okay to be different. It's what will actually make you stand out.
Embrace your quirks and use them to make connections with others
Upon initial thought, you may think holding your quirks back will allow you to fit in better and therefore maximize your chances of moving up the ranks.
However holding back those unique parts of who you are, only minimizes your presence and sends the message that you don't have confidence in yourself or what you have to offer.
People pick up on this energy, and lesser presence equals lesser respect and thus lesser chance of being noticed and moving up the career ladder.
Suppression is the worst possible outcome
Despite that little voice inside your head telling you that it's better not to say anything than be rejected or judged, the worst thing you can do is to stay silent.
Because not only do we lose out on sharing our thoughts and opinions, but we also miss out on the opportunity to stand out and be recognized for simply being ourselves.
This is the definition of authentic leadership.
Just remember, you don't have to be liked by every single person in the world, or in your workplace, but there are going to be people out there that are compatible with you and your little quirks.
As for everyone else, you just need to figure out a way to conduct yourself with professionalism, civility, and mutual respect.
After all, authenticity correlates with success higher than 'fitting' in ever will.
If you're sick of apologizing for who you are in the workplace, and wish you step into your authentic leadership presence, book in a free discovery call to see how I can help.