Lots of people in grey, nobody stands out

Being yourself at work: why it matters

How well do you know your colleagues? Like, really know them. Not much, probably. We often keep personal conversations away at work.

Most of us have a persona that we bring to work. There are some aspects of ourselves we feel uncomfortable showing others in the workplace.

Many fear to be different

When I was in a corporate job, I remember once feeling extremely hurt by the cruel head of department during a performance review meeting. It almost made me storm out and break down in tears. But I tried my best to keep a straight face. I feared being judged or made fun off as being ‘too emotional’.

Many of us hold back a big part of who we are. We are scared to seem vulnerable and human.

We rather keep up a facade that portrays us as being in control, professional, capable, and successful.
Why do we always hide some aspects of who we really are, especially when we are new to a particular group or workplace? We think it is hard for people to accept our differences. We fear being left out and being judged as the weird one. But every single person is different. They bring something different to the table; a skill, a perspective, and an experience.

Being different isn’t bad

These are opportunities, but how do we tap into this differences if everyone holds back? Being different may mean that you are able to think out of the box. By trying to fit in and hide who we are, we are actually creating a homogeneous environment where those that are different can’t co-exist with us. Such a workplace doesn’t attract unique talents. And as an employee, would you want to work in such a place or seek opportunities elsewhere?

Being different can be an advantage

So bring your authentic self to work. Remove this façade persona. Be brave and reveal a little more than you are comfortable bringing to the workplace.

What would change? Workplaces would be different. It might have an impact on our colleagues and the way they relate with us. Maybe they will be surprised but they might also learn that all of us have a resilient story to tell of how we overcame challenges in our lives. And that can strengthen the way you work together and the way you get things done.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and accept that everyone makes mistakes, we can achieve so much more than when people are constantly holding back, afraid to make mistakes. And maybe, just maybe, our differences are nothing to be scared of, we may eventually learn to accept and embrace them. Will our vulnerable selves make us human again?

How do you feel about being yourself at work? Share your story below. For questions, head to our discussion board where our moderators are ready for your questions.

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