Integrating Who You Are With Who You Present Yourself to Be

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a bit excited lately about the concept of speaking truths. Well, I’m still excited about it, there’s a lot going on in that arena! With that in mind, read on about how speaking your truth is related to awareness of what makes you, you:

Speaking Truths: Integrating Who You Are With Who You Present Yourself to Be

By Becky Lemon, 11/14/18

Forest Mirror Reflection - Marianna Mercado
Photo by Marianna Mercado from Pexels

One aspect of speaking your truth without blame or judgment is about gaining awareness and understanding who your authentic self is.  Once you strip away all of the messages you’ve internalized from others and from yourself about who you “should be,” what you “should be doing or saying,” you’ll start to see who has been there all along.  That essential part of you, once recognized, defined, and trusted, is the part that doesn’t need to pretend or hide or make excuses for anything. That part of you isn’t defined or judged by your strengths and weaknesses, once perceived those simply become opportunities for personal growth.  It is guided by your values and what you believe connects you to meaning and purpose in life.

Living from a place of purpose and meaning and acting through your values takes the time and energy you spend constructing a separate “you” and puts it into integrating the authentic you, imperfections and all. This knowledge doesn’t protect you from feeling hurt or prevent you from experiencing joy, it does allow you to move through this world with less emotional weight.  If you could count on just being you all of the time and trust that in any moment you are enough, you’ll spend less time hiding, strategizing, managing, reacting, blocking, “dealing with it” and more time acting, choosing, engaging, responding, connecting, and shaping your world and relationships in a meaningful way.

The authentic self aspect of speaking your truth without blame or judgment is highly personal and far-reaching effects on your life.  So how does it translate to work? Why is it important for us as leaders to explore this idea? To look at it through that lens, please read this adapted excerpt from the book An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey:

“In an ordinary organization, most people are doing a second job no one is paying them for.  In businesses large and small; in government agencies, schools, and hospitals; in for-profits and nonprofits, and in any country in the world, most people are spending time and energy protecting themselves by covering up their weaknesses, managing other people’s impressions of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics, avoiding conflict, subtly enforcing a separation between “the me at work” and the “real me,” hiding their inadequacies, hiding their uncertainties, hiding their limitations.

In a never-ending quest to keep ourselves safe in the workplace, we allow gaps to form between ourselves and others, between plans and actions, and even between parts of ourselves.  Gaps are most often defined by the conversations we’re not having, the things we’re not discussing, the synchronicities we’re not achieving, and the work, people, or situations that, because of some self-protective fear, we’re avoiding.  Gaps may arise between:

What we do and what we say

What we feel and what we say

What we say at the water cooler and what we say in the meeting

How we assess someone’s performance at the time and how we later provide feedback

What we know about the organization’s principles and how we apply them

Gaps are part of natural human defensive routines, and so organizations that care about the development and well-being of their team seek to create the conditions for safely working through these gaps in ways that prioritize speaking the truth about what is going on in a setting of trust – one that assumes the continued growth and good intentions of all involved.”

The time and attention we all spend on discovering and embracing our authentic selves increases our ability to speak our truths without blame or judgment in even the most difficult circumstances.  How would your life and relationships look different if you could communicate in this way? What would you gain if you could lessen the gap between who you actually are and who you present yourself to be?

I’m all yours if you’ve got ideas or feedback to share about all of this, and also if you’ve got some missings or challenges to it.  Email me or let’s talk to face to face – I’ll make time!

Take care!  -Becky


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