Kelly Poulson | ,| By
Halloween is upon us! It’s an exciting time of year for so many people where they get to be whomever or whatever they want. Instead of being our usual selves, we can choose to be superheroes, villains or rock stars. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all able to be what we wanted, or at least our true selves, all of the time? Even while at work?
Dear Everyone: Take Your Mask Off at Work
I, for one, think it’s possible (and preferable), but there are certain things to keep in mind when bringing your whole self to work. Check out my thoughts below.
Role Playing Is Exhausting
It may be fun on Halloween or at a party, but it is exhausting to pretend to be someone or something you’re not on a daily basis. Pretending to be an extrovert, or to be excited about an industry that you think you should be in, drains you. A drained person isn’t a top performer. If you want to give it your all, you need to be you.
Contribute in a More Meaningful Way
It’s our unique perspective (and being willing to share it) that makes us valuable to an organization. A team with the same thoughts who agree 100% of the time aren’t going to create new earth shattering ideas. If you want to help your organization change and grow, sharing your unique thoughts and perspective is the way to go.
Protection Or Prison?
Oftentimes, people feel by not being their true selves openly (in work or in life) that they are keeping themselves protected. Protection from being excluded, being laughed at or being judged. Is that really how you’d like to be leading your life? Making as little waves as possible and flying under the radar? Perhaps that is true for some but it’s much more likely that people would rather live out loud and share who they are and what they think with the world. Variety is the spice of life, right?
Walk the Line
Taking off your mask at work can be very tricky. How much is too much to share? Is there an easily identifiable line to cross or avoid crossing? It’s not that simple. Each organizational culture is different. Some can handle more authenticity than others. Do your best to get a sense of the environment in which you’re in and those around you. Then take baby steps.
Not every workplace wants their people to be open about all of their thoughts and feelings. That’s a shame. A missed opportunity on the part of the organization if you ask me. However, if you’re trapped in a work place that doesn’t allow you to be you, get out while the getting’s good. Go find the place that values you for you and start making a difference. Mask be damned.