If you’ve ever had a job interview then you’re familiar with the stress of wondering what to say, how to dress, which questions to ask (and not to ask), and even how to hold yourself. You probably recall rehearsing with friends or mentors and may even still be able to recite some of the lines you committed to memory. You also probably shudder at the thought of ever having to do it again. But guess what? You never do, not even if you lose your current position and have to start from scratch. After all, the answer to how to be successful in a job interview or at a job has nothing to do with putting on an act. If this is news to you, don’t worry, you’re far from alone.
Job interviews and, by extension, many jobs are dreaded because we carry the misguided notion that in order to succeed we need to wear some kind of mask. For most of us, bringing our authentic self to the office is akin to professional suicide. We think we need to put on an act to gain recognition, admiration, and success but in reality, this belief only hinders productivity and increases burnout. Carrying a façade you think is expected of you was exhausting in high school and it’s still exhausting today.
Energy spent being inauthentic is energy lost but it’s not just that. Putting on some kind of “game face” creates a barrier between you and your colleagues. Human connection is founded on vulnerability, humility, and caring. When you have the strength of character to simply be you in all your nuance, you create space for others to do the same. This lays the groundwork for connection which breeds teamwork and, in turn, lightens everyone’s load.
How to Be Successful and Happy: Building Professional and Personal Congruence
Cultivating authenticity at work is all about building professional and personal congruence. This means nurturing the confidence to be the same person in and out of the office. Doing so frees up energy to be both happier and more productive but, like most things, this is easier said than done. The following is a guide to getting started.
1. Check Negative Impulses
We all tell stories about ourselves and when these stories dwell on our shortcomings we feed the idea that being our best self implies hiding aspects of our personality. Checking this impulse requires setting goals that force us to confront supposed limitations and prove that we are more capable than we believe.
2. Embrace Your Interests
Nobody’s self-worth is defined by their professional performance but this is easy to lose sight of if you don’t have any hobbies. If you’ve ever fallen in love, you’re familiar with the willingness to try new things in the interest of nurturing closeness to another person. Your date loves dancing? Well, sure, you’ll join them for a dance class.
Nurturing closeness to yourself involves the same sort of openness. “The things we do for love” applies as much to another’s happiness as to your own. Start rock climbing; join a film club; take a pottery class. When you tap multiple sources of personal satisfaction you cultivate resiliency by ensuring your happiness does not come from a single source.
3. Acknowledge Challenges
Nobody is good at everything. This is why it takes a team to keep a business afloat. There will be aspects of your job at which you don’t excel. When you acknowledge this and seek support, you are both ensuring a task’s efficient and competent completion and you give license to your colleagues to do the same. If your company has done an effective job of hiring diverse talent, the synergy that results from allowing everyone to do what they do best means your productivity will be much more than the simple sum of its parts.
How to be successful ultimately translates to how to be authentic. Mastering this is not easy but it’s worth the effort. The things we do for love might at first seem crazy, but they lead to durable, lasting satisfaction.
To learn more, do not hesitate to book a call with me today. We can discuss how to become and remain successful in business while also staying authentic to yourself no matter if you’re going out for that dream job interview or finding new inspiration in your current role.