I still remember the advice I was given my first week at my first corporate job. “Now James let me give you some tips, don’t come into work sharing how you love Hip-Hop music, be sure to network with the right senior leaders, and watch your non-verbal behavior so you don’t come off as too ‘aggressive’.” I remember thinking, “so basically, change who I am, force who I connect with, and pretend to be more homogenous to get ahead?” It made no sense to me then and makes no sense to me now. One of my favorite quotes from Richard Branson’s, The Virgin Way is “this works in practice, not in theory.” It’s not until you actually take time being yourself that you realize anything less is limiting your true potential and blocking your real purpose. Now there are for sure times where this has not served me well in terms of speed to promotion, but I’ll tell you this, my unwavering conviction to be myself has helped me to pave a career path that is most closely aligned with my personal brand identity. In fact, most recently, I was invited to write my own job description tailored to my true individual passions and strengths all because I make a point to be all of me, all the time.
Below, see 3 benefits of just being yourself in corporate America:
- Trust: If I do not know who you really are, it is hard to trust you as a leader or peer.
- Targeted Career Advancement: It is nice to get promoted, but it is 1,000,000 times better to be promoted into a position where your company’s objectives meet your personal passions. Not only will you be happier, but you will also be more successful.
- Personal Fulfillment: Waking up every day and leveraging your strengths, passions, and expertise to solve problems never feels like work. In fact, not only is it enjoyable, but you are actively separating yourself as an expert and passionate leader in your organization.
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