What are the roles you play in your workplace? If you are like most people you play many roles. You may be a boss, a subordinate, a friend, a counselor, a mentor, a critic, a collaborator, a supervisor, an influencer, etc. Go ahead and write them all down. I bet you will be surprised at how many roles you actually do play.
I will also bet that most of them are legitimately needed to get your work done. None of the roles is the real you however – they are just what they are called – roles. They are actions you do and masks you put on to do your work. Who are you really beneath all of those masks?
Does the real you show up in any of your various roles? Probably not if you have not thought about it. In order for the real you to show up you must be intentional and authentic in all of the roles you play.
It takes time and attention to first discover who you really are and how to make yourself show up that way in all of the things you do and in the way you do them. Authenticity and intention are the bottom line. If you have not done the work to find out what that is and who you are it can be very scary to think about stepping out from behind your masks.
Many of the masks we put on – or roles we play – are designed to protect us from the things we find hurtful or scary. It is hard for most of us to be in vulnerable situations so we devise a role to get us out of that vulnerable place.
We seem to need to maintain our space at work and to not let other people know who we really are. Most of us feel it is safer that way. Most of us also find that playing all of those roles and wearing all of the masks is tiring and confusing. They keep us from being who we know we are at our core. Sometimes they get in the way of our living our values and beliefs and that causes us to be frustrated and dissatisfied.
The answer is to study our values and beliefs, define what our passion and vision are and then to move authentically toward them. People will react to your change. You can count on that. They will also come to respect you for stepping out and being real and authentic. In fact, you will find that you have more control because you are fully in control of your own actions and reactions to things. You will be at choice which leads to more creative and fulfilling decision making.
By Nathan Dean