Keeping it Real - Remembering Authenticity to Break Through Career Ruts

This week’s blog is a follow-up to Dr. Trevicia Williams’ Strong Lives Series Podcast where, in the spirit of vulnerability, we discuss how important authenticity is in breaking career ruts. To listen, click on the image below or here: https://lnkd.in/exj-WZx

What Does it Mean to Be Authentic?

According to dictionary.com, the word authentic means “representing one’s true nature or beliefs and being true to oneself.” Additional meanings include “not false or copied, genuine, and real.” These are not words often thrown around in a typical corporate environment where employees are expected to conform to a certain set of values, mores, rules, and even communicate with a certain business speak. Let’s set up a meeting about a meeting to think outside-the-box and develop best-practices to gain buy-in… blah, blah. 

Who am I?

It’s no wonder people can get lost along the way and forget who they really are. I know I was one of those people. I began my career just excited to have a legit job in an office making my own money. Staying true to my Sagittarius nature, I treasured my independence and couldn’t wait to make a mark for myself. I quickly learned that the best way to navigate the muddy political waters of a multi-billion dollar global corporation and the staunch bureaucratic environment of a state-run organization is not to rock the boat. Being the people-pleaser that I am, my compliance was rewarded with promotions, awards, and recognition. I thought wow, I have really made it in the world!

Fast-forward ten years later, and I realize I’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’. But why? Where was this coming from? Why couldn’t I shake this nagging feeling of unhappiness and unsatisfaction?  I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself anymore. Who had I become? What happened to that free-spirited, creative, strong, independent woman?! That woman was nowhere to be found. I felt depressed, lonely, and hopeless.

Breaking Down the Barriers

I love my friends and family dearly, but I knew I needed help from a professional. I decided to contact a counselor who helped me break through the darkness and see the true light, the guiding light, by uncovering my authentic self that had been hiding in the shadows for so many years. It definitely took some time to tear down the walls, bad patterns, and close-minded thinking. However, the hard work paid off, and I finally felt free again! That fire from within was reignited! I felt inspired, encouraged, and hopeful. I felt like myself again, which gave me the confidence to pursue my true passion.

It’s funny how suddenly everything just started working out, all because I was just being authentic to myself and ignoring the noise we are constantly bombarded with in our society. I built a business based on values that are important to me - genuine compassion, openness, trust, love, and inspiration. Every day I am grateful for being able to give back by positively impacting people’s lives and helping them break through those tough career ruts.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

This quote is spot-on because it truly does take courage to be different and embrace your unique and beautiful self without fear of ridicule and judgment. All the new grads and young professionals out there, this is especially important for you. It’s going to be tough not to compare yourself to your classmates, siblings, parents, etc. and potentially choose the path less traveled. But as my wise Pops always used to tell me, “stay the course.”

Keeping it Real

Feeling stuck in your career right now? Take some time to reflect on whether you are in a job that brings out the best in you, plays to your strengths, and suits your personality. Ask yourself – are you rewarded for being authentic or compliant in the workplace? If you answered the latter, then it might be time for a change.

Peace and love.

Ali

Treat yourself to a TED talk today by @BreneBrown or a guided meditation by @TaraBrach, who inspire me every day and opened my eyes to the power of acceptance, vulnerability, and emotional healing.