“Employees who are able to bring their whole selves to work are 42% less likely to say they intend to leave their job within a year.’’  HBR

Whilst at a conference in London last week, I was again surrounded by people who were unable to really be, own and accept themselves at work.  I felt the whole room squirm when we were asked, at one point, to stand up and introduce ourselves to three people we didn’t know. The conversation had to start with “I am”.  The vast majority of the room hated it and were 2 million percent relieved when they could sit down and be anonymous again.
Do you own and totally accept and relish your sense of self? Or do you recognise the following:
Apologising for being you?
Rather be like someone else?
Unsure if parts of you are professional or acceptable?
Worry what other people think of you?

At Courageous Success we know that these are massively common in most people.  It leads to behaviour such as conformity and assertiveness, as well as avoidance of challenge and causes all kinds of problems.  Also illustrated brilliantly within the Investor in People’s Annual Job Exodus Report – 42% cited their boss as causing them to be unhappy in their job.  People buy people.  Whether we are being sold to or are being led.  The three little letters of iAM go a long way to transform this.

Ways to own your iAM abound.  As a first step, it helps to know who you are.  Those of you who have an iAM can tick this box.  If you don’t have an iAM then get in touch, but as a starting point, sit for a minute in yourself, shine the torch around, discard the self doubt and imagine that you are nailing your world exactly as you like it.  That is you.  You may be creative, structured, naughty, positive, competitive, all of these.  Whatever you are, this is your iAM.
Now follow this 10 step plan to nailing your sense of self and transforming this into your strength and persona at work;

  1. Accept you, your iAM. Who you are is not your self doubt and insecurity but the person you felt above.
  2. Challenge who you think you are by checking back in time.  You are not your learnt behaviours, that planned and organised worker for example, you are the person that you feel on Christmas Day or on the way to the airport for your longed for vacation.
  3. Reflect on who you think you should be to look successful and competent.  Then ignore this!
  4. Take note of all the things that you have been told you are, the labels, then, in your mind, blow them into smoke.
  5. If you have an iAM take out your iAM Cards, if you don’t, write down a few words that describe you, bearing in mind the points above.  To really be yourself at work you need to be conscious of not slipping into unhelpful habits and conformity.  So, keep your card or your list close by and in sight as much as possible to remind you.
  6. In the split second that you begin your working day, step into you, feel you, sense the you within and enjoy being yourself.
  7. Turn you inside out.  As you meet each person, start each meeting.  When beginning each task or conversation, amplify yourself in your expression.  DON’T WORRY WHAT OTHERS MIGHT THINK OF YOU!
  8. Amplify the things that you are good at.  Where things aren’t your strength, do your best or get someone else to help you.  It’s ok to not be great at everything.  Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect, no-one is.
  9. Be excited to show who you are and expose yourself (not literally!!!!)   This is not arrogance.  It’s called living.
  10. Aim for a high score at the end of every meeting, conversation, day, week on the Courageous Counter question, “I am different to others – I like my uniqueness”. Allow others to be different to you, without blaming them!

75% of employees say that they want their co-workers to share more about their true selves, with 80% believing that authenticity improves the workplace (HBR).  This isn’t about spending the whole of your day chatting about outside of work.
It’s about bringing all of the real you to work.