Are you trying to fit in at your workplace? Feeling like you don’t belong there? This could be the reason.
I remember the first time I heard it: “You can’t be your real self when you come to work”.
What I didn’t know is that it will be one of the most common beliefs that I would have come across, at every place I have worked so far, without exception, and now hearing it in coaching sessions from my clients as well.
Have I ever had this belief myself? Yes, I had it myself back when I was in my first corporate role. I was so afraid of being myself and wanted to prove myself there, I remember I even asked a colleague to go with me to buy new office outfits as I was so worried and I wanted to look like I belong there. I couldn’t let myself be spontaneous with people, was always trying to look and act serious, thinking that’s what being professional is, but at the same time, I didn’t agree with many things being said and done…. I simply did not belong there.
It is exhausting trying to fit in where you don’t belong! Have you been in a situation like this before?
If you are trying too hard to show a personality at work that is pretty much different from who you are, it is not only making it difficult for others to connect with you, but also to trust you.
People want to be able to connect with you, most of the people at least. This is why knowing yourself is a crucial part of developing the emotional intelligence that can help you have a better sense of understanding yourself and of others.
Learning towards understanding who you are, what you want, what motivates you, instead of suppressing your beliefs and your emotions can take you a long way into letting yourself show up as authentic self, to feel free to show not only your skills and talents but your personality as well when you go to work, not being afraid of making a joke in meetings and connect with others.
Needles to say, every job is bound to get stressful at some point and when we add to this your worries about how you look, act, what others might be thinking of you on top of all of the other challenges that you have to encounter and solve, it can be so detrimental to your mental health.
By knowing yourself and how you react under pressure you are decreasing your chances to react in an unproductive way, to say or do something you would regret later or that could hurt your career. The less you are surprised by your own words or actions, the more self-confidence and authenticity you will have and the better relationships you will have with your clients, co-workers, or managers. Collaboration is important in any organization, no matter the size.
Ultimately, the more self-awareness you have, the more likely you are to go for a job or a career that is right for you. The more courage you will have to speak your mind at meetings or at social gatherings, and thus allow yourself to learn and unlearn what you choose as important to you.
Author: Ana Toroman, Talent Development Consultant
Being a part of training and development education programs across companies in the Middle East, I help people develop their potential through learning key social skills for career building, with a particular interest in emotional resilience in the workplace. Having started my career in HR and education and working as a Corporate Trainer & a Coach in Dubai, I work on self-development strategies for both teams and individuals.Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn here or follow me on Instagram on HR and Wellbeing page here