Monday Motivation: Bring Your Whole Self to Work


Good Morning. It is Monday. When you arrive at work today will you check your “personal life” at the door? Is that really even possible? We are plugged in 24/7 and the lines between home and work are blurred more than ever. What happens at work impacts home and what happens at home impacts work. It is very difficult to keep the two separate; after all, you are one human being and every situation you encounter, painful or joyful, impacts you and your environment, in total. We need to discover how we can be comfortable not “hiding who we are”, but “showing up fully and authentically” for a win/win!

Do you think it is important to bring your whole self to work; or, do you believe it is important to check your “emotion” and who you really are at the door because, after all, “work is business, not personal”?

For companies to truly thrive, it is important to create environments where people can feel comfortable being themselves; being authentic.This past week, I was facilitating an employee development session and this concept of “bringing your whole self to work” was raised. I was a bit surprised at how adamant a leader was about “work being work”, and there being no place for emotion in the workplace because “we are here to do business”. This reaction took me aback because over the past decade many researchers, scientists, academics and business leaders have become very interested in this topic. Their research has shown that when leaders create conditions where people can trust one another, connect with one another, and be authentic, a strong positive culture is created which makes a difference to employee loyalty, creativity and productivity, and both the top and bottom line. 83% of executives and 84% of employees rank having engaged, motivated employees as a top factor that substantially contributes to a company’s success.

So, what does it mean to bring your whole self to work? It does not mean that you need to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets to your colleagues. It is about showing up authentically, leading with humility and remembering that we are all vulnerable, imperfect human beings doing the best we can.It is about taking risks, speaking up, asking for help, connecting with others in a genuine way, and allowing yourself to be truly seen. When organizations create cultures that encourage you to show up fully and do your best, this is when the most innovative work can occur. This may feel uncomfortable at first; but being comfortable with a little discomfort is essential to creating an environment where people feel safe enough to bring who they are to work.

What is the value of trying to be more of your real self at work? It is better for your mental wellbeing and it is better for business. A recent study conducted at Google found that one of the key elements of creating a high performing team is ‘psychological safety’. Psychological safety occurs when a team feels safe enough to take risks and be vulnerable with each other. Once this type of an environment is created, teams will be able to think bigger, bolder and push the boundaries. To be vulnerable with someone, you need to have strong relationships built on trust. Bringing your whole self to work, creating authentic connections is foundational to building trust.

At the end of the day, the people you work with and the environment around you have a significant impact on your ability (or inability) to fully show up, engage and thrive. At the same time, the more willing you are to bring your whole self to work, the more positive impact you can have on yourself and others. Creating a championship team is about building a culture that is conducive to people being themselves, caring about one another and being able to do great work together.

Today, take a risk. Display courage. Be a role model of what it looks like to bring your whole self to work. Experience how this decision can expand the impact, influence and success of your work, your life and helping others to do the same.

Have a GREAT day. Have a GREAT week 😊!

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