It’s hard to underestimate the value of staying in touch with one’s self; ultimately, life is a journey of self-discovery. It can be easy to forget that integral truth when we become so busy in our work and home lives that we feel as though we have no time for left over for ourselves. Women in particular generally face a wider variety of expectations as they balance multiple roles (for example, career woman and mother), making it harder to retain a sense of cohesive authenticity.
If you feel like your aims are scattered as you juggle business, family, and your own needs, resulting a poor sense of self, the following methods for remaining true to yourself – being real, and remaining authentic in business and in life – may well be just the tonic you need:
If you are a “people pleaser”, it’s time to get out of the habit of putting others before yourself
It’s simple logic that if you are constantly trying to meet others’ needs at the expense of your own, you’re likely to lose a sense of your independent direction in life, but it’s simple logic that many women forget, due to the emphasis that is placed on women being caretakers and nurturers. In addition to lacking direction, people pleasers tend to avoid confrontation, eventually lose the ability to assess their own wants, lose the ability to say “no,” and lose the ability to take initiative. In such conditions, of course, no one can be authentic, as one’s “voice” becomes lost and one’s ability to be self-motivated dwindles, reducing the likelihood that one will be successful in the workplace or be able to run a small business. It’s especially vital for female entrepreneurs to avoid the “disease to please” for this reason.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Recent research has actually proven that comparing one’s self to others is damaging to one’s sense of self. It leads to feelings of envy, depression, low self-esteem, the inability to trust ourselves and others, and has been shown to reduce energy and stall or prevent goal completion. If you’re always trying to compensate for what you think you lack compared to the next person, or trying to emulate someone you think is “better” than you are in some way, you will never begin to live life as your authentic self.
life is a journey of self-discovery, but it can be easy to forget that … when we become so busy … we feel as though we have no time for left over for ourselves.
Stop competing with others
It’s an unfortunate reality that women in our society are culturally conditioned to compete with one another, but like comparison, it does more harm than good—particularly in the workplace. It’s much easier to get ahead at work when you communicate freely with others and share your knowledge and skills freely, too—this behaviour is an essential part of networking and showing people what you are capable of. There are enough resources and opportunities to go around—just be your authentic self, and you will be recognized for the unique value that you bring to your workplace.
Take time to listen to your inner voice
If there is one thing all authentic people and trailblazers seem to have in common, it’s being in tune with their gut instincts (and acting on them), rather than always being blown about on the winds of others’ opinions. As the great pioneer Steve Jobs so succinctly put it, ”Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” While it’s always wise to consider what others say (and is, indeed, a vital part of teamwork and learning), at the end of the day, the road to being authentic is being able to weigh up others’ opinions and all the evidence for and against a given decision without losing a sense of your own independent stance on the matter.
Nicole Dominique Le Maire is an HR Expert and co-author of the book The Female Leader, Empowerment, Confidence & Passion available here: http://thefemaleleader.biz