To know what you want out of life, it helps to know yourself. Yet how many people truly know who they are and what they want to be? Most of us muddle along by making the best of things, rather than ask such fundamental, and difficult, questions of ourselves.
Moreover, despite our workplace success, some of us still feel like we spend a lot of time winging it in environments we’re not particularly suited to. We often accept work tasks even though we think they don’t make sense for the organisation, or act and say things we don’t fully agree with. So are we being honest with ourselves about our workplace skills and our strengths and weaknesses?
In her book, The Authenticity Dilemma Resolved: Unleashing your passion and purpose to live more authentically, Talita Ferreira suggests how to find your own true purpose. Women must start by striving to break the biggest taboo; by first admitting that deep down they are dissatisfied in the first place.
Only by so doing can we begin to address this issue and start on the journey to becoming deeply, profoundly happy in ourselves and the work we do. It’s a big promise, even if it’s a difficult conversation to begin, especially for women who may be experiencing a disconnect between themselves and the culture at their workplace. Which is why Ferreira’s claim that success lies in being fully authentic is such a strong and resonant idea.
Ferreira suggests that finding our true selves allows us to connect on a far deeper and productive level with colleagues, enabling us to work better, lead more effectively and succeed. She argues that by putting our working head on – what she calls our ‘professional mask’ – we create a disconnect from who we really are, affecting our abilities, work relationships and happiness, which can lead to burn-out.
Ferreira claims our 21st Century ‘always on’ connectivity can also be a barrier to authenticity and says forging real-life connections is key.
Becoming authentic as an individual gives you the power to be an essential change agent for your own working environment too, as a result of the deeper and more connected workplace interactions you will cultivate.
Ultimately, this is Ferreira’s most powerful argument. It is only through individuals finding their personal authenticity, that organisations can become authentic too. Why is this so important? Ferreira believes forward-thinking organisations understand the need to respect individuality and the individual’s contribution in order to develop talent overall. The result is the cultivation of a business – like Apple, for example – that is able to resonate with its ustomers more deeply, and in an authentic manner.
Dig deep for your own inner authenticity and the result will be a calmer, clearer, less judgmental, more productive, and most importantly, more collaborative workplace. And best of all, Ferreira insists, it will lead to a happier and healthier you.
How to become authentic: three key takeaways
- Overcoming fear. The key to overcoming your fears of being true to yourself is to ask deeper questions such as, ‘can I be myself within this culture?’ and by doing so, avoid the stress and exhaustion associated with 'fitting in’ and putting on your workplace mask. The resulting authenticity will lead to benefits such as improved interactions with colleagues.
- Achieving proper self-awareness. That negative voice in your head is linked to your emotions – primarily fear. If you can learn to ignore it, you’ll be open to greater opportunities to find, and be, your true self. By recognising your own negative triggers, you’ll be able to avoid limits to your self-belief. And once you can recognise this in yourself, you’ll more easily see this in others. The result? An opportunity to bring out the best in your colleagues.
- Collaboration is key. Once you’ve begun this journey in authenticity – by being true to yourself and your values and sharing your strength and weaknesses with colleagues – it is inevitable that you’ll have a deeper connection with others and create a more productive workplace.
The Authenticity Dilemma Resolved by Talita Ferreira is available from Amazon, £14.99 (paperback), £5.69 (kindle)