By Kathleen E. Murphy
Why do so many people want to emulate others or be like someone they are not? Maybe because it is actually hard or uncomfortable to simply be yourself, or because it looks likes it would be easier to imitate what someone else is doing. Lots of people do this, but they are not being true to themselves or allowing their actual talents and personality to be fully actualized. Part of the reason people act like others is because they think they need to conform and fit in to be accepted, or because they do not want to call too much attention to who they really are. Why wouldn’t you want to do this, and why wouldn’t you want to fully embrace your uniqueness or what I will playfully call your “weirdness”?
This week I saw a Broadway show called Dear Evan Hansen. The story was about a teenager who wanted to be noticed, and how desperate he was to have others acknowledge him as a person. However, he did not know how to go about getting noticed, and indirectly through an action he took, he got more attention and was noticed not in the way he had anticipated he would be noticed. This presented a challenge to him which he was unprepared to handle, but he handled the situation the best way he could, which was via a series of lies he told which spiraled out of control. Ultimately Evan was able to get the situation back under control, but it wasn’t until he realized he needed to embrace who he was as a person first in order to do so. Sound familiar to the experience you may have had as a teenager? Now fast forward to your 20’s and 30’s when you may still be trying to figure out how to express your true personality while being accepted for who you really are, and in a professional environment.
Allowing your true personality in a professional environment to come out is not an easy thing to do, but it is possible to achieve this. The trick is to be honest with yourself about who you really are. Are you someone who is empathetic to your co-workers and truly interested in collaborating with them? Are you highly competitive and only interested in getting ahead no matter who you upset or burn bridges with? Do you enjoy making others laugh and bringing a “light hearted” air to your working environment? Or, perhaps you are the creative or analytical type who want to share these skills with your colleagues? If you had to describe yourself in 2-3 words, would you be able to do this easily? Would others have an easier time doing this, or would they perhaps describe the person you are portraying to be, rather than the person you really are?
So, who are the people who embrace their “weirdness”? In my experience, they are people who are the happiest and most successful in terms of having found what they want to be doing professionally. They do not look at their work not as work, but as something they enjoy spending their time doing and happen to get paid for it. When I ask them about how they figured out how to incorporate their interests and potentially their passions with the profession they have chosen, often they will tell me the work they are doing best suits their personality, and this is what makes them happy and allows them to be true to who they are.
Since most people know what type of personality they have, using your personality traits as a foundational basis to help you to pick your profession will serve as solid guidelines to allow you to truly express your personality in a professional environment. If you are in a profession currently where you do not feel like you can be yourself, have you stopped to consider why? Are you in the right profession, or are you trying to conform to be accepted in the environment you are working in because you think this is what you have to do? If you are conforming to fit into your environment or profession, perhaps it is time to stop doing this. If you have not thought about this, think about what you can do to be truer to your personality and what makes you unique. When you allow yourself to be who you really are and accept yourself and embrace your “weirdness”, everyone benefits from the unique qualities you are then bringing forward for them to enjoy, and for you to be free to express. There is a saying “be yourself, as everyone else is already taken”. Embrace this statement, and start seeing how much happier you can and will be, both at work and in life.
Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org.