The challenge of being the REAL you

- Tracey Hancock, REALiving coach + mentor

There’s tension. You’ve felt it for a while now and hoping that it would go away. It’s not between you and someone else; it’s between who you’re showing up as and who you really are.

Confronting? Yes.

Worth delving into? Yes, if you want to achieve real success in life and business.

There’s an ever-increasing discussion in work circles about the need for greater diversity and to have a range of unique voices. The premise being that greater diversity brings with it better representation - better conversation, decision-making and outcomes. Some have even set quotas or goals to ensure diversity is achieved but is that enough and will it make the difference many hope it will?

We can search for and appoint people of different backgrounds to an organisation, team or board. Perhaps you've been in this situation - you were chosen for a role because of something particular to you. Once there, did you express a diverse view? A view based on whatever it was that made you the ‘right’ person for the role.

Because here's the thing ... it's one thing to be chosen because of some characteristic or quality, but quite another to bring your real voice to the table.

To fit in or to stand out?

A common issue I see with the clients I work with is the significant level of fear associated with being their real self. The pull to fit in is strong, it's natural. We have an inbuilt survival mechanism from many generations ago where our safety, and in some cases, our very existence, depended on being part of a group. Become ostracised for whatever reason, and you’d find yourself on the outer, alone and left to fend for yourself.

While times have changed, our DNA is still hardwired for us to feel the pull to fit in. Being part of a group, whether it’s an organisation, board, team, family or circle of friends, brings with it a sense of safety. However, when feeling safe comes with a price – where you don’t dare be your real self in case you stand out, rock the boat or become labelled as a troublesome person - is it worth it?

When saying and doing what seems acceptable overrides what you really think (and it becomes the norm), tension ramps up and that's a sure sign of trouble ahead. The more you move from the truth of who you are, the greater the negative impact on your health, relationships, including the relationship with yourself, and how well you live, work and play.

Harold Hillman, author of Fitting In, Standing Out: finding your authentic voice, says “There is a gravitational pull towards fitting in. But, be careful about lying about who you are because it will catch up with you. You’ve turned the volume down on a part of your persona – that isn’t sustainable.”

It also isn't healthy, nor will it help you achieve real success.

That brings us to the question…

Why aren’t you being the real you?

Honestly. Why aren’t you being the real you?

Write down everything that comes to mind as you think about that question. There's no need to censor or judge your thoughts, simply write it all down. Read back over the list, is there anything else to add?

You most likely included "fear" - and this one, in particular, needs a closer look. What are you afraid of? Simply saying you fear being the real you isn’t enough to understand what’s going on or to make the changes needed to help you stand more confidently and speak with your real voice. Repeat the question "what am I afraid of" at least 7 times, each time delving further into what's really going on.

We don't help serve anyone, least of all ourselves when we hide. You have a unique set of skills, experiences, views, passions and characteristics, so be the real you. Release the tension that comes with striving to fit in - to be like others, to be normal, to be acceptable, to be loved or liked, or whatever it is you're telling yourself. Be courageous and stand out.

Be the real you and bring your unique voice "to the table", wherever that might be in life or work.

Tracey Hancock is a coach and mentor passionately committed to helping people live well. Drawing on her own experience and the lessons she's learnt trying to be and do what she thought was expected of her, Tracey will guide you to reconnect with your real self and help you create a life and business you love.

 If you know it's time for changecontact Tracey to learn more about the REALiving approach today.