The HR Juggler

Day 17: On Bravery, Blurry Lines and Being Yourself

Posted on: December 17, 2011

Most of the posts published this week have been from established Twitter friends, nearly all of whom I have met face-to-face. So, it is a particular pleasure to introduce today’s post from Alix Passage, who I have very recently connected with online. Her enthusiasm for contributing a guest post has been fantastic and I am really enjoying getting to know her better.

You can find Alix at @AlixPassage on Twitter and over on her website.

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“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”  -Thomas Jefferson

Being yourself, putting yourself out there and letting people see into your soul: it’s an idealistic concept that many may believe in, but how many of us actually follow through? Many times it’s because we don’t want our professional lives getting too personal, or vice-versa. Countless articles circulating the web debate the topic of how much of your personal life you should expose in your  professional life; some say lots, some say none and many say a little bit of both. In the age of social media, particularly for those of us that do much of our marketing, advertising and sharing on sites like facebook and twitter there is a constant battle over where the line between work life and family life lies. Some are purely professional and won’t post anything about their personal life, some share only glossy, happy times. I’m sure many don’t want their clients to think they are too busy frolicking with their family and not enough time editing their photos. However, my line between work and home is very blurry, or even non-existent and here are a few reasons why.

It humanizes you. I am not a screen name, an avatar or made up of code. I’m a real person with a heart and soul and DNA. I have good days and bad days, likes and dislikes, as well as my own life, family, interests and obligations. It’s the things outside of those long hours editing and color-correcting in front of my computer that make me the photographer, artist and person that I want to be and that people want to hire. I’m quirky, sarcastic, empathetic, pensive and believe in equality for ALL; are these things to be ashamed to share with the world?  I think not.

It’s rewarding. It’s easy to feel alone in an unforgiving world, head swirling with nagging thoughts, notions, ideas and questions. It’s also easy to feel ashamed, embarrassed and self conscious by these thoughts. By nature NONE of us want to be the first kid to ask that seemingly stupid question in class or say that statement that everyone is thinking but no one voices. What we don’t realize is that once we DO ask that question in class there is a collective exhale as 10 other kids were thinking that same thing. For example a few weeks ago I tweeted “Why do I always default to the notion that people don’t like me? #thingsIdothathurtmyself” alluding to how self-conscious I get when I first meet people. Not only was it liberating to get it off my chest but the response was humbling and inspiring as tweeters responded saying “Me too!” “It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!” and even “I asked my MOM this morning if she liked me!”. And these are people who I deem confident, successful, well-adjusted entrepreneurs!  Wow, maybe I’m not as crazy as I sometimes think! Letting people in is rewarding on both sides of the conversation, too. Not only is it comforting to know that there are others out there who have the same wacky thoughts as you, but it is also rewarding to know that you have eased someone else’s conscience. You get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside knowing that someone out there feels a little less alone because you were brave enough to speak up first.

It helps you feel closer to others and them feel closer to you. Building on my last point, opening up to people is a bonding experience. People feel closer to you when you let your guard down, it makes them feel secure and safe to let theirs down as well. Again with social media, so many of our relationships and connections are virtual that people don’t get the chance to see who we really are as people. Putting some of you inner thoughts and emotions on your blog or website gives the appearance of personal connection in a virtual world. You could end up learning some pretty magnificent things about your colleagues, friends and even your competition!

In the end we are all just humans on this earth trying to make the best of 100 years, so go ahead and be brave. Reveal a thought today that you might otherwise keep inside, be as open and honest as you feel comfortable but try to push yourself into that scary unknown world of sharing. It may seem like a small step, but its all those small steps together that add up to a giant leap. Follow Thomas Jefferson’s poignant advice, wear your heart on your sleeve and see what kind of positive impact it has on all aspects of your life.

1 Response to "Day 17: On Bravery, Blurry Lines and Being Yourself"

On authenticity, Lou Reed once said “I do me better than anyone else”

Indeed it is more rewarding than ‘faking it’. It can also get you into trouble occasionally.

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