The Importance of Being Yourself

In today’s world, there is a lot of pressure to be something you are not.  This may come in the form of dressing a certain way, hanging out with specific people, or acting out of character to fit in.  The same is true in the working world.  People have preconceived notions of what is and isn’t acceptable in Corporate America and try to fit themselves into the mold, which causes challenges.  CSU firmly believes being yourself is one of the most important traits you can have in the working world.  If you are true to yourself, you will have more joy at work and will increase your impact.

Challenges Fitting Into the Mold

As a young employee, you, naturally, will have perceptions about Corporate America that have developed either from talking to friends or hearing about it in the media.  As a result, you think you know the right and wrong way to act or behave.  Your friends may tell you: “Oh, you have to comply to everything your manager says.  Don’t push or talk back,” when in reality the opposite is true.  But, you don’t know the best way to do it, so you follow the mold your friends educated on despite it being opposite of the true you.  By not pushing back in these situations and complying to your manager’s every beck and call, you are creating a persona for yourself in the office.  You are now someone who will be quiet and do anything your manager says.  Regardless of if you are a free-spirited thinker, this is how you have designed your persona in the office.  Your colleagues with think this is the true you.

When colleagues get a different perception of you other than what is accurate, they will talk and act in a forced manner.  Not only are you know acting non-authentically to yourself, but your colleagues are now doing the same.  This will impact your happiness at work because you feel you cannot relax and have to continue to put on this persona.  Your work will suffer as will your general happiness.

Benefits of Being Yourself

When you are yourself, you are relaxed.  And being relaxed allows you to think and speak freely, which will pull the best ideas out of you and others.  You feel comfortable enough to share your thoughts on a project, which will help better the final product.

It also creates an environment where others feel comfortable around you.  How can you expect other people to be themselves around you if you are not being yourself?  Facilitating an environment where others are comfortable is just as important as you being comfortable.  Again, this will help ensure the best ideas come forward and are well thought-out. 

Most importantly - being yourself in the office will make you happier to be there.  Many times going into work is a drag.  But if you are able to be yourself, goof around with your colleagues a bit, work will seem less of a drag and more, possibly, fun.  Being authentic to who you are and showing that at work will increase your quality of life and you’ll be truly happy and excited to be there.

Just Be You

Especially as a new employee in Corporate America, being you is not easy.  I went through it for about a year where I wanted to be the Corporate Robot because I thought it was the right way to act and behave.  It is OK to not be yourself for awhile, but it is important to learn to act like yourself in the office.  You and your team will be much better off if everyone is acting like themselves.  Not only will it be a more fun, positive environment, but it will also create a better final product for the team and company.

Thought Starters

  • Is there a situation where you were not yourself and you felt it made your team or project suffer?  What happened?
  • How can being yourself help others feel more comfortable in their role and position?