Authenticity In The Workplace
|May 29, 2012||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized|
By: Roshawn Watson
To your thyself be true. William Shakespeare
Knowing yourself can be tricky. It requires personal discovery and growth. To do so, you may answer questions such as: “Who am I?” “What am I all about?” “What do I want on my obituary?” I’m convinced that we have the most rewarding work (and lives) by making sure we have authentic fits. If you are blind to yourself, you may be too preoccupied doing things that are inconsistent with your values, passions, personality, and unique gifts and abilities. Moreover, it is hard to put your best foot forward if you are not sure what you even bring to the table. It was Leonardo da Vinci who said “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art. Here are 3 reasons to be authentic with your chosen vocation.
Being Inauthentic Is Draining
Selecting a vocation that is an authentic fit may seem intuitive and perhaps even a bit trivial. However, you would be surprised by the number of people who are completely dissatisfied because their jobs drain their lives and extinguishes their passions. Working in an environment where your differences are hindrances and are resented, rather than celebrated assets, can be devastating. What sense does it make a very shy person who derives his energy from solitude and times of reflection to be a car salesman long-term? It would drain him on a daily basis. Likewise, if he is loquacious (has verbal diarrhea), then perhaps he shouldn’t work as a librarian. It is exhausting being someone that you are not equipped to be.
Be careful of trying to remake you just for a job. Don’t assume that your best financial opportunities are with work that forces you to be someone you are not.
Related Article: Goals Are Never Enough: 3 Reasons You Must Cultivate Your Desires
You Will Do Better at Something That is an Authentic Fit
Unfortunately, many of us major in generalities (jack of many but master of none). Somehow we have convinced ourselves that doing work that we love would require a decrease in income potential, but that is often not the case. Our competitive advantages in the marketplace rely on our being outstanding. This is exemplified by the self-made millionaires profiled in The Millionaire Mind. They did NOT score high enough on the standardized tests to be admitted into law, medical, and graduate school, nor were their GPAs high enough to be hired by major corporations. However, rather than being doomed to lives of mediocrity or failure for not being intellectual superstars, they developed strategies to ensure that they were economically productive. First, they hired themselves. Note, business owners are 5 times more likely to become millionaires than traditional employees. They also chose vocations where they could focus on their areas of core competencies, that they loved, and that had few competitors. After all, it is easier to love your work when you win most, if not all, of the time. As a result, they absolutely dominated financially. These millionaires had an average net worth of $9.2 million (median of $4,300,000) at a time when the average US household was worth around $93,100 (median of $448,200).
One helpful guideline by career expert Dan Miller is to spend 80% of your time you work focusing on your strengths, 15% of your time learning, and 5% of your time on your weaknesses.
Related Article: Setting The Course For The Impossible
Authenticity Breeds Passion, and Passion is an Advantage
What’s your calling? What activities absorb your attention to the point where time flies? What would you do if money was not an issue?
I’m convinced that within the answers to such questions lie the keys to your creative genius. This is not about your degrees, positions, or pedigrees. These questions reveal what you are PASSIONATE about, and passion can beat raw talent, technical skill and abilities, and even academic credentials.
“Only by loving what you do will you actually do more and do it better than the person sitting next to you.” – Larry Bossidy
Persistence is often not the product of energy but rather a representation of your passion. When you are passionate, you can endure all sorts of challenges and failures. It is because of Thomas Edison’s passion that he persisted through ~1000 failed experiments to discover the one that worked. When discussing his previous attempts, Edison framed his efforts not as someone who failed 1000 times but rather as someone who proved that those 1000 ways did not work. Likewise, passion enabled Roger Bannister to run a mile in less than 4 minutes at a time when doing so was considered unreachable and even dangerous by physiologists at the time. Passion will cause you to persist in worthy endeavors, even when the experts doom your efforts to failure.
Sometimes we fear bringing our real selves (authenticity) to the marketplace. After all, no one wants to be chastised for being honest. Being open makes us vulnerable. However, the real danger is when we don’t have a strong passion for our work according to Jerry Porras (Success Built to Last). This is because for every person who is pursuing something half-heartedly, there is someone else who loves what that other person is half-hearted about. The person who has passion will work harder and longer and will ultimately run circles around those lacking the same enthusiasm and dedication. Passion is a competitive imperative.
You truly can do great things. If the trajectory of your life is off, there’s another act to your story. Your best opportunity to improve your financial potential through your work lies in your ability to leverage your talents, education, personality, passions, and values in a vocation that is uniquely suited to you. That, my friend, is the game changer. Ask yourself, “what couldn’t I do if I am being myself?”
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