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How to Find the Real You

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Do you ever feel like you’re a vastly different person at work than you are at home?

I’m not talking about dressing and behaving in a professional manner. But when you feel like you’re playing the role of someone else at work or constantly filtering yourself to present a particular image.

I call this your ‘pretend you!’

Work is a place to be focused and professional, but it’s also somewhere that you should feel comfortable. If you think that you can’t let your personality show, you won’t be comfortable, and you definitely won’t be bringing your best self to work.

It’s true that sometimes you have to take into account the cultural fit of an organisation. It may be that to be the ‘real you’ at work you need to work somewhere more aligned with your own values. However, you may find that even if your perception is that your personality wouldn’t be a good fit at work, that’s not really the case.

It can be down to the way you perceive yourself and your organisation. But when you start peeling the layers away and examining the reality, sometimes you realise there’s no real mismatch at all.

Signs you’re not the real you at work

Over time, putting on a different persona at work begins to take a toll. You feel like you’re just turning up for work and not really showing up. It can lead to experiencing imposter syndrome, where you feel like you’re a fraud. It can make you feel inadequate, lonely, disconnected and disengaged.

If you regularly feel any of the following at work, then the chances are that you’re not bringing the real you to work:

  • Going through the motions
  • Lacking energy, confidence and focus
  • Feeling like a robot, simply processing stuff
  • Allowing your organisation to drag you around with secondments and projects you don’t enjoy
  • Feeling like your colleagues are overtaking you in their careers
  • Feeling like you can’t take any more

Of course, we all have days when we feel like this. But if you feel like this most of the time, then it’s time to make some changes.

The benefits of being the real you at work

When you’re not being the real you at work, you’re missing out on opportunities to inspire and engage. Being the real you makes you more authentic, and people respond to authentic leaders.

Depending on your personality, it can be tricky to strike a balance between being yourself and being work-appropriate, but with a little self-awareness, you can let down your guard and allow your personality to shine through at work.

I talk to my clients about dialling up and dialling down parts of your personality, depending on the situation.

So no matter what your natural personality is, you can let it show at work and be a great you. Allowing yourself to be the real you at work also allows you to become:

  • More confident and self-assured
  • Less likely to experience imposter syndrome
  • More self-aware and credible
  • Happier and more productive
  • Optimistic about the future
  • More purposeful and able to make a difference
  • Clearer on what matters to you
  • Able to align your personal values with your organisation’s values

When you show up at work as the real you, you’re automatically more authentic, and as Marcus Buckingham said: “Authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.”

How to bring your authentic self to work

If you feel like you’ve lost the real you at work, it’s time to put it right and rediscover your passion and motivation for work.

Time for you to reflect on yourself

Write down three words which best describe your personality at home. Write the first three that come to mind. Now write down three words to describe how you are at work.

Are they similar, or are they opposites?

If they’re not similar, think of how you can bring them closer together.

For example, if one of your personality words at home is outgoing, but at work, you are reserved then consider how you can bring more of your outgoing nature to work. Perhaps you could arrange a social event, or simply make time to chat with your people over a coffee.

Becoming a more authentic you at work takes time, but small steps like these will boost your confidence and motivation at work.

Ready to go further?

It all starts with identifying who you are. This includes your:

  • Personal history
  • Talents and strengths
  • Values
  • Passion and purpose
  • Dreams

Knowing and understanding these will give you a greater understanding of yourself, which will allow you to:

  • Make decisions based on your values
  • Utilise your strengths and what gives you energy
  • Understand your purpose at work – so you’re not only turning up to collect a salary and pay bills
  • Live with purpose and a sense of achievement
  • Take control of your career

Work with me to bring the real you to work

Constantly putting on a different persona at work can make you feel disconnected, unfocused, and out of sync with your work and your organisation. When you feel like this it’s almost impossible to be a great leader.

My 1:1 coaching programmes and group coaching programmes will help you make an internal shift and show up more authentically at work.

After working with me on my coaching programmes, you’ll feel able to bring your personality to work. As a result, you’ll be more energised, focused, and optimistic about the future.


Click here to access Andrea’s weekly insights, to help you lead yourself and others with confidence. Receive prompts, tips, and inspiration; and challenge yourself to make a change.

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