As we evolve and mature as people, we get more comfortable with ourselves. 

As Dr Seuss wrote, “Today you are you! That’s truer than true,” so why would we want it any other way than to be ourselves?  I’ve written and spoken about how you can be yourself in every situation – whether you are talking to the CEO, in a management meeting or buying groceries at the shop –  Ask yourself,  is there a difference in the person you are in those times and places – or do you assume a role, a mask?  Have a think about that now; and reflect on whether you are doing that.

In the case of talking to the CEO or in a management meeting, you might be second guessing what comes into your head, your thoughts, and overanalysing your contribution to a topic.  I certainly did this early on.  Afterwards I would have thoughts about – “I should have said that;” or someone else would have the same idea as I had,  but spoke up – and in a competitive environment where valuable contributions to a discussion wins brownie points –  I would beat myself up that I didn’t speak up.

In the case of buying groceries – are you really connecting on a human level with every person you meet?  Or going through the checkout blindly, thinking your role as customer somehow is more important or higher than the person serving?  What’s the difference between the CEO and the grocery shop attendant?  Absolutely nothing.  If you are being yourself in every situation then the way you interact to every human on the planet would be the same.

This is important stuff as I frequently hear of people that if they are leading teams, and are having a bad day, they feel like they must put on a front so their team isn’t affected by their mood; and I also hear of many lost opportunities for people who hold back in speaking their mind when something comes into their head in meetings and environments where they want to contribute valuable ideas but the moment is lost.

Why is it important to be yourself in every situation?

You will increase your confidence

It will give you confidence to be yourself in every situation.  As we gain experience and try different roles and environments like technical roles or leadership roles,  we are constantly gathering evidence for where our contribution to our craft will have the greatest impact in our career; and what will give us enjoyment every day.  Where we feel we can add maximum value.  So the more you verbalise those thoughts as they come in – the feedback you get will be positive and this will become a practice to share who you are as a person – that’s why you  are part of a team in the first place!  In understanding why you hold yourself back is also worth going deep on – is it concern for not looking good? Being discovered as a fake? There are all illogical fear-based reasons why you might be holding back.  But doing the work to understand your brain to get over them will massively increase your confidence, as will getting into the habit of verbalising your valuable thoughts to discussions.

You will reduce stress

If you are holding back your thoughts, you are constantly second guessing yourself.  This will be using energy that serves no purpose on the quest to contribute to what you are engaged with in life.  Best to get that thought verbalised and have positive feedback and responses from others, as this is additional evidence gathering that will hone your craft and contribution.  If the feedback isn’t positive or you feel like your contribution is ignored- then this is another piece of evidence that might be telling you that the culture of the team you are in may not be aligned with your values.  So, find those people who inspire you who can feed off your contribution!