We are trying to be a version of ourselves that we think we need to be.
Even after doing everything we can to be successful, good, or happy, we don’t feel successful, good or happy.
– Martha Becker
So many of the clients I work with believe the above situation is unique to them. The truth is we all experience this to some degree or another. As humans we are all influenced by the people around us; whether that be our parents, our neighbours, our boss, or society in general. Through our innate need for acceptance or connection we feel pressure to be something we are not. We buckle and think or behave in ways we think we ‘should’ rather then how we actually ‘are’. This separates us from our true self, often to the point we don’t even know our true self is missing or even what our true self really means to us.
The world of work can be a death trap for our true selves. Rife with a materialistic culture where it’s believed status, wealth and power lead us to success and happiness. We work our backsides off for people to accept us, for the next promotion, better pay, bigger status. But, when these things don’t bring us real happiness or fulfilment, what do we do? We work even harder to be accepted, work harder for the next promotion, better pay, bigger status! Is this ringing any bells?
Move to Mongolia?
The solution to this is not packing in your career and moving to outer Mongolia to find your true self (although it could be an option). It’s about finding your true self and bringing that uniqueness to your career as well as other areas of your life. As much as the world of work can be a death trap for our true selves, it can also be an amazing playing field to bring out the best version of ourselves. Organisations are changing, realising that authentic leadership and bringing unique strengths and capabilities is what’s needed to build successful businesses with passionate and engaged employees.
There is no one way fits all, but what I know from experiencing these insights myself and coaching many people through the process, only you have the answers. You just need big courage and a little patience to figure it out. How to get there;
Recognise you have lost yourself!
I had spent 15+ years working extremely hard to ‘make it’ in my HR career. I was in a senior global position, on my way to a what should have been a pinnacle work trip in my career, and I realised in that moment I was miserable inside.
Symptoms of having lost yourself show up in many ways
- Feeling ‘whats the point’ or a sense of no-purpose.
- Difficult relationships with work colleagues.
- Feeling like you’re a fake or you don’t belong, imposter syndrome.
- Emotional & bad moods.
- Increased failure at work.
Fear, run or hide
Recognising you are lost is one thing, but knowing what to do next is the hard part, this is the bit where a spoonful of courage is required. For me, my biggest fear was if I’m not this global HR career woman, then what am I? So much of my identity was wrapped up in this, I could never give it up, could I? How would I manage financially? What would my friends and family think? What would I do? How would I measure my success? What helped me think through these questions was a little glimmer of freedom I could sort of see on the other side.
Truly understand what you need…not what you want:
Understand what makes you tick, think about your values, focus on whats important to you, maybe why you get out of bed in the morning? For me it was about moving away from what was important looking from the outside in; a successful job title, salary and materialistic things. It was more about focussing on what was important to me from the inside out. A more peaceful mind, more control over how I can positively impact others, more truth and less BS! It turned out I wasn’t giving up my career but just changing it. These insights took time to figure out which is where the patience is required.
Walk the Talk
Once you understand what’s important to you, think about actions you can take to start to make things happen. These do not have to be drastic actions, but instead should be small steps each day that bring you closer to your true self. For me I started to read books, started to learn more about coaching and slowed down. From there I spoke out loud about what I needed, which let to simple actions more inline with my true self and from there Find My Moxy was born.
My definition of Moxy is: vigor, self-confidence, self-assurance, strength of character, heart, grit, gut, fearless, firmness of purpose and most importantly for us…real. The truest way to find your Moxy is to find your true self. Each client I work with has different challenges. Through the coaching process every indivdual has the opportunity to think bigger, creating options for themselves they never knew existed. Overcoming fears and challenges that have been holding them back. If any of this is stirring something inside of you, I would love to chat.
The inspiration to this post was reading Martha Becks new book: The Way of Integrity. If your interested in getting closer to your true self, this is a must read.