Remember Who You Are
This week, I noticed a woman from a conference that I had recently attended with her young children. She was in her ‘mommy’ role. It made her seem more real to me somehow. There was such a visible difference. At the conference, she was dressed for the role with stylish business attire, high heels, and a gregarious, confident business-like demeanor. In her ‘mommy’ role, she wore jeans, an outdoor winter jacket, and flat boots, was very attentive and warm with her children, and seemed very down to earth. Was this the same person?
It occurred to me how much we change our personas depending on where we are, who we are with, and what role we are playing rather than simply being our authentic selves. Many times, this is not even conscious.
Why do we do this? Why do we not bring more of who we are to all of our roles? There are many reasons including wondering how others will perceive or respond to our authentic selves, comparing ourselves to others in similar roles, or feeling that we will not be seen as ‘enough’ if we are ourselves.
What would it be like to bring more of yourself to your roles? Does this create thoughts like ‘that would never work’, ‘why bother?’, ‘I might lose my job’, ‘people might not like me’? OR ‘that would be such a relief’, ‘it would be so much easier’, ‘ah, freedom!’?
What is the price of spending your working and/or personal life bending yourself over backwards to be who you think you should be rather than being yourself? What are the possibilities if you bring yourself more authenticity to all areas of your life?
How can you be yourself and also feel that you are doing the right thing as a partner, parent, leader, peer, or employee? It is possible to make the transition with courage and conscious experimentation to see what works and build on that. 5 quick tips follow:
- First, rediscover what is important uniquely to you. A values exercise is very helpful to clarify what is important to you and the reasons why these values are important specifically to you. Values, here, mean what you are passionate about.
- Build what is important to you – your values – into your life through creating strategies and actions and, then, acting on these. This is best accomplished with a ‘one step at a time’ rather than an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
- Protect what is important to you by respectfully letting others know what is okay and what is not okay. If they respect you, they will ‘get it’.
- Relate from who you are rather than who you think should be.
- Trust your gut. ‘Remember who you are.’ Mindfulness practice can help you be more attuned to and remember to check in with your ‘gut’.
You may find that when you experiment with these tips, that things get in the way. Change has many components – some very positive and rewarding and some that bring up fear or roadblocks for yourself and/or others. Having an empathy partner can help tremendously, somebody who is there for you without judgment, to be a sounding board, and who has your back. The key is to step in. When you fall, which you will do if you are living authentically, understand what happened, process it instead of ‘sucking it up’, share it with your empathy partner, learn from it, get back up, and go again. Living life authentically isn’t always easy but it’s worth it and, once you start, you will not look back. It brings tremendous freedom, purpose, and genuine connection. “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” – Brené Brown, PhD.
I am passionate about supporting people to live their lives based on who they truly are and following their passions so that they live fulfilled and inspiring lives! – Jamie Davidoff