How much does being comfortable at work have to do with your performance? I’ve been asking myself that question for the past year and have determined that:
When I feel free enough to truly be myself at work, I have an opportunity to reach my full potential.
You’d be surprised at how difficult it has been to arrive at this conclusion. After four years of being broken down and built back up and another eight years of “fitting in” I have discovered that it’s super cool to be different from everybody else.
When I fit in, I am average or even below average. When I am myself, I am not.
Two Keys to Being Yourself at Work
If I could break things down into two key factors associated with being able to be myself, I would say those factors are passion and trust.
passion Over the past year, I have come to realize that feeling passionate about the work I am doing gives me motivation to push forward. I have seen people clock-in and clock-out on a daily basis over the years, and I have always thought that there must be more to it then that. That the 40+ years of my life I will spend working should amount to more then just punching a time card.
I was right.
I know that I don’t get nearly enough sleep at night, and I have just figured out a way to pile on an increased work load in my off hours… but reading and writing and learning and connecting just doesn’t feel like work to me, for some strange reason. I really enjoy it.
trust I’ve been paying attention to things this last year, because I came from a sub-optimal situation and doubted myself. I needed to make sure… After changing jobs, I quickly realized that I had fallen into a tremendous opportunity. So I grabbed it with both hands and held on as tight as I could. I’m still holding on, mind you and loving every minute of it.
The insight is that despite the passion I feel for the type of work I am doing, one other piece had to be developed before I could be able to truly be myself, and be unapologetic about it. I needed to trust and I needed people to trust me, and that doesn’t happen over night. It had to be earned both ways.
What Do You Think?
Are you able to be yourself at work? Or do you feel that you’ve been forced to fit into the mold of something you’re not? Are passion and trust the two keys to being able to be yourself, or did I totally miss like six other keys that are necessary? Please let me know what you think in the comments below.