Skill Level Appropriate for all
- I want to say a little bit now about being yourself. I think some people worry that they aren't good enough to be successful. So they believe that they will have to somehow assume a persona and put on a front that makes them look like a successful person, whatever that looks like. So this might be pretending to be successful to impress potential clients or pretending to be the kind of person that your boss wants you to be. You can probably already guess that I don't think this is a good idea.
And that's for two reasons. Firstly, people aren't fools and if you're not entirely authentic they will know. And even if it works for a while, but they find out later, it's not going to be good. The second reason is a bit more subtle but just as important and it's the fact that you can only reduce yourself. When we're not being ourselves, that means really that we're hiding parts of our personality, perhaps hiding our sense of humor or hiding some of the things we believe in.
And this means that we're diminishing ourselves and becoming less likely to be successful because to succeed takes all of you, all of your skills and thoughts and personality. So don't worry about what people will think about the real you. If they don't want to work with the real you then they aren't the right person for you anyway. The relationship's never going to be 100% successful, which is what you need. Don't start censoring yourself before you even know what the other person wants.
For example, say you're good at finding the flaw in people's plans but you worry that this could be seen as negative so you decommission that part of your thinking. It's a loss to the team or the organization. Or suppose that you're a big softie but you don't want to show that. Or you're a complete nerd who loves technical details. What a shame it would be to not use those parts of you. But to be yourself does require confidence, bravery almost, and there is the risk that if you get rejected it'll really hurt.
So I'm here to say that you must still go for it and be yourself. And if your job or boss or a client doesn't want you to be yourself then find another job or boss or client. If you look at successful people, maybe Richard Branson or any musician you choose to pick, how about Elton John or Bruce Springsteen, they really are themselves, aren't they? I mean, they could be putting on an elaborate act and have been doing it for the last 40 years but I don't think so.
So in whatever endeavor you are involved it's vital to have the courage to be yourself. Speak up for what you believe in, be open about your feelings and what you're trying to do, run your part of the world the way you think is right. And in the end, that has to pay off. Of course, you'll have to factor in some diplomacy and never be rude. There might be a right time to say something or a right way to say it, but that's different to not being yourself.
So how authentic are you? What are the crunch points where you tend to opt out of being fully yourself? And could you be a bit braver at those moments do you think?