5 tips on how to be yourself at work
There is nothing more stressful than putting up an act at work every day. The typically female need to prove that you are there for a reason, that you deserve it, that you are capable or maybe better than others at whatever it is that you do. It’s draining and ultimately will drive you crazy because you end up living every day with a unnecessary performance anxiety.
Being yourself at work brings a sense of liberation and joy back into every day life.
So how to make it happen? In my experience you need clarity in two main areas: self awareness and self confidence. Both can take a life time to achieve, I recognise that...and experience helps a ton. Treasure every little success and every failure and make knowing yourself your top priority.
Here are my 5 top tips to be comfortable in your own shoes at work, minimise stress and thrive every day in your own shoes.
Enjoy and embrace your strong skills
Knowing what you are good at and what you are passionate about is the first step to being comfortable in your own shoes at work. What are your natural talents? What do you like doing every day? What comes natural to you?
Make a list of your top talents, explore them, make them your explicit focus and ensure that your job, wherever possible, aligns with them.
Hone in on your weak skills
Being aware of your weakness is sometimes easier than surfacing your strengths, especially when you are starting out. It’s a typically female thing, unfortunately, to be hyper critical of oneself and constantly thriving for unachievable perfection.
I am very aware of what I don’t like and normally it coincides with the things I’m not so good at. So for example if you don’t like maths much, you’re unlikely to be an excel wiz. So when you’re working on that super important excel sheet, it’ll take you hours, it’ll be riddled with mistakes and it will cause stress. Some of this may be unavoidable of course, however in any job, your weak skills should never account for more than 20% of your work.
My advice is to lean on colleagues and to trade skills. So, you may not be so good with numbers but your presentations look amazing. Why not trade some powerpoint work with a buddy from the finance department?
Create a work support group
That’s it, trade skills and create a work support group. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with peers, work friends, who complement your skill set.
When you start a new job, proactively build bridges with peers that complement your skill set and don’t be shy to ask for support. You’ll be surprised how positively people react to this, particularly if you can help them in return. And don’t be shy about telling your boss that your work was delivered collaboratively. This is the beauty of team work, make it work for you!
Learn one new thing every week
Never stop learning, be relentless. Every time you learn something new you get an extra tick in the self confidence box! I for example like to be inspired by mentors in all sorts of areas of life. I use apps like Masterclass, to explore new things. I choose, purposefully, content in areas that don’t come natural to me. So for example if P&L management isn’t your forte, why not learn how it works by breaking it down into components, and studying them one at a time: revenue generation, margin creation, cost management etc.
List out your weak skills and attack them one by one.
Remember that perfection is an illusion. Accept who you are, focus on what you’re good at. And get help for the stuff you are not so good at.