Why you should just be you and adopting a work persona holds you back

two women in meeting room looking at phone and smiling

‘Don’t worry, just be you’ is something we say lot. When a friend is preparing for a job interview, or your kid is off to his first day at school. But being your complete and whole self, isn’t so easy, think we can all agree on that one. As you’re probably making different conversation with your boss or coworker, then you are with your friends on a Friday night, right?

Makes total sense, as your friends form a safe environment and love you for who you are. That makes it easy to be your true self. But, can you be that exact same person on Monday morning, when you walk through those office doors? Maybe you feel like ‘just being you’ isn’t good enough? And is there such a thing as being ‘too real?’

Let’s talk social roles.

Not quite me, myself and I

Okay, let’s take a minute and think about all the different roles you embody in your daily life. If you’re a woman, maybe you’re a mum, a wife, a daughter, a caring neighbour? A busy real estate agent during the week and a creative artist in the weekends? That’s already half a dozen roles. As you can imagine, sometimes it might be tough to not lose yourself in all this play-act.

Don’t get trapped in all those narratives

Many people adopt a work persona, a mask, a role of which they think others prefer. It portrays a picture of how you want people to see you at work. And although there is nothing inherently wrong with playing roles, it is important to notice when the roles start to play us,  Psychology Today says. ‘Over time, the different characters we inhabit sometimes seep into our unconscious shaping the way we talk, think, and act.’ And since you’re so busy with always playing this role and doing ‘the right thing’, there can be too much play-acting. As you’re always focussed on your performance it also might be seen as phoniness or disinterest.

Why not be yourself, show sincere interest in one another, really get to know your coworker? Way more fun, we say.

Don’t hide who you are

One might argue that you cannot be a hundred percent yourself at work: there’s a certain professionality required in the workplace. Moreover, we all want to be liked and fit in and earn some cool-credits, right? Well, here at Spaces we say: be your authentic self, pretty please. It’s our goal to make you feel at home and be you as soon as you walk in. But you might wonder: is there such a thing as ‘too real?’

Of course, there are some topics that might be too personal to discuss at the lunch table. You have to remind yourself that you’re still a professional, so leave your troubles and glumness at home. But also, don’t forget that openness encourages relationships at work. It shows that you’re human and vulnerable just like everyone else. You, yourself, can decide whether something is appropriate to share or not.

Let people get to know you

When you never really share anything about you or your personal life, people don’t get the chance to get to know the real you. And when they don’t, they might feel like they can’t trust you. You have to open up, and as with everything: you have to give a little, in order to get something back in return. Of course, we’re not saying: share every detail of your personal life. But do let them get to know you. It’s good to let your guard down, share burdens (to some extent, of course), because that’s when you really build relationships.

Why too much persona is holding you back

Did you know that having a work persona can actually hold you back? Since you spent so much time and energy on saying and doing the right thing, this effect your productivity and can come across as lack of engagement. Forbes even states that restricting yourself to a work persona means you can never unleash your full potential.

Bottom line? We’re all human. Why spent so much time and energy trying to hide that? Be your own person. It’s what makes you unique and interesting. It’s what makes you, you.

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