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Dare to be Yourself: The Benefits of Being Authentic at Work

IF YOU'RE LIKE a lot of people, you may feel like there's more than one of you. There's the you who wears suits and sits in meetings; the you who knows how to make a great pitch or hire and fire an employee.

Then there's the you who has a spouse who drives you crazy, or has trouble understanding your kids or wishes you could find your soulmate. The you who still doesn't feel like an adult around your parents.

Do you have a “work self” that’s more polished and calculated than your off-hours personality? If so, it might be time to rethink. While it’s important to maintain an awareness of appropriate professional boundaries, there’s also a lot to be said for authenticity.

Here are four reasons whey deciding to be yourself at work can benefit both you and your career.

1. Being authentic allows you to build genuine relationships.

It is very difficult to achieve career success in a vacuum; we all need people in our corner helping us to expand our reach and cheering us on. This is only truly possible by forming genuine relationships—after all, why will someone be inspired to help you, and you to help someone else, based upon a superficial relationship?

Authentic relationships, in which both parties are genuinely vested in each other’s success can, for example, help increase sales and provide you with valuable opportunities that otherwise may have not been available. Moreover, by being authentic, people see you as more human, approachable and trustworthy, which pays dividends when it comes to your personal branding and career success.

2. Being authentic motivates you.

By being authentic, you will be drawn to roles and opportunities that you are truly passionate about, and you will proactively seek out work that is meaningful to you. Therefore, if you are faced with challenges and obstacles, they will not deter you; on the contrary, you will be driven to overcome them and find solutions.

This in turn will drive career success. In terms of career success, being authentic can spur your career in a direction that is more rewarding better aligned with your passions and values. Moreover, challenges in your career advancement and success will actually excite you since they’ll push you outside of your comfort zone and are learning opportunities.

3. Being authentic enables you to be self-aware.

By tapping into who you really are, you will become more self-aware, and this self-awareness will help you to discover your true passions as well as understand your strengths and weaknesses. Not not only will you be able to leverage your strengths in order to excel, but you will also be more likely to take action to mitigate your weaknesses. This could come in the form of either outsourcing work that is not a core competency or engaging in both personal and professional development to improve.

4. This focus will help you to fire on all cylinders and set you up for career success.

Getting to the core of who you are to unveil your authentic self is not easy—it takes time and deep self-reflection. But heeding your inner compass and unique attributes is well worth it as it can take your career to new heights.