On a recent Friday morning we were in the Wisconsin Dells for the 2016 WI SHRM conference and I presented a session on authenticity. It is a fairly interactive session and we were having a good time considering the what, why and how of being true to who you are at work. Towards the end of the session, a lady in the back of the room said “I love it, but I think you are going to get me fired!” The whole room had a good laugh and we spoke about small steps and simply being aware of the countless small trade-offs that we make at work.
I don’t know that committing to greater authenticity will get you fired, but it certainly can bring about some short-term disruption. I think that things frequently get worse before they get better. Regardless of where you are at in life, taking some time to get crystal clear on your values, priorities and objectives is a valuable thing to do, but it also illuminates the aspects of your life that are at odds with that stuff.
Thinking about what kind of work lights you on fire can make it painfully obvious to you that your current work is not actually doing that. This is a valuable realization to come to, but it also confronts us with the question, so what am I going to do about this?” It is not at all uncommon to find yourself in a job that does not light you on fire, in fact it seems incredibly common. What is far less common is doing something about it.
Authenticity is not the path of least resistance as it keeps reminding us of our choices, it keeps reminding us that we are responsible for our own joy. Today, Jason and I know a lot of folks that have found greater joy in their personal and / or professional lives, but they had to navigate disruption and uncertainty on the way there. They had to go through the hardship of changing a job, a career, changing aspects of their identity, changing relationships…none of which is easy.
When you get clear on what really matters to you, it gets a lot easier to determine whether you are in the right places with the right people.
What about you, have you found your place yet?