I Got to be Me? Authenticity in the Workplace

Val: “I don’t know, is it ok to wear a little makeup to work out?”

Me: “Of course, it is just putting our best selves forward.”

Val: Yes, but is it being authentic or is it being fake?  Am I being my natural self?”

Me: “Oh please, my “natural self” has flatulence but that doesn’t mean I fart in public.”

Hence we’d ventured into the philosophical debate about authenticity, and true self. Many of us have seen people do things, say things that are inappropriate and dismissively say, well, that’s just who I am. Really? It sounds a bit ironic, but your authentic true self is determined by the situations you choose to be in. The situations you chose to be in and the true self you present are governed by purpose.

Every now and then when dressing for work, my true self wants to wear motorcycle boots instead of ankle strap heels. My true self wants to scream in the middle of a meeting, “please shut up.” Purpose stops me. My work is a situation I choose to be in, my purpose is to get paid, enjoy my work and grow professionally. I act accordingly.

Your true self is not just one thing; it’s not just one expression or way of being. Authenticity and true self are like your wardrobe. When there is extreme heat, you don’t dress for snow. What you wear is still you, but your attire can vary greatly depending on the situation. For those times when you struggle with what to do and who you are, ask yourself what is your purpose? And, much like wardrobe choices, the conditions, the situation and your purpose will guide you.

Be the best self you can be in the moment.  Like with a wardrobe, sometimes you have the perfect outfit and every now and then, there is a wardrobe malfunction. Luckily we get multiple chances and with awareness of purpose we can always try to put our best selves forward and feel we are being our true, authentic selves.


 Happy Birthday Val. Thanks for inspiring this post.

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