Do you “bring your whole self to work” or even have a precise idea of what it’s supposed to mean? Maybe it’s just HR speak, but regardless, I recently noticed something.
Yes, I’ve pretty much always brought my whole self to my professional life. But not as-is. You know, a quirk sanded down here, a filtered-down if not filtered-out version of something there.
I’ve had a long enough career that I kind of stopped noticing I was doing it. Professional Chris was a self-standing and sufficiently authentic analog of Overall Chris and it worked. The difference was quite subtle.
Recently, though, it hit me that there had been a cumulative dulling effect. Maybe a lot of space between the slats of the bushel, but there it was, hiding the light anyway.
And I threw it off. I’m just going ahead surfing the edges of my own absurd paradoxes: hyper-rational mystic, hyper-polished prankster, hyper-gregarious hermit, precedent-obsessed rulebreaker.
Why am I sharing this? I’m making this move late-ish in my professional life. I could have always been my full self at full strength in accurate proportion. Or I could have noticed the waxy yellow build-up of professional polish much earlier.
And wherever you are in your trajectory, you can undo and not-do it, too. It’s not about toeing the line of the latest HR buzzphrase, but just realizing what it takes. Whatever yours is, to be your absolute best you have to be… well…your absolute best. More absolutely than you ever have been before.
(By the way, if your reaction is “I’ve always done that,” good for you! You’re more of a rarity than most people realize.)