Bring Your Whole Self to Work

Can you be yourself at work?  Your real self?

If you’re like many people, you probably keep parts of yourself private, away from your colleagues, especially your boss.

In the past, people were actively encouraged to split their personal lives and their professional lives, especially in corporate jobs.  When I was in my first job a mentor told me to refrain from talking about my hobbies or personal life because it would “Make me seem unprofessional.”

Times have changed.  Mark Zuckerberg takes paternity leave.  Arianna Huffington talks about her yoga.  Forward-thinking companies encourage hobbies and a personal life.  Authenticity is now a recognized requirement for successful leadership.

Yet the question still remains.  Can you really be your true self at work?  It might seem professionally risky to bring your flawed, vulnerable, less than perfect self into your work setting.  Yet recent studies reveal, not being yourself can be costly to your organization and your spirit.

Author Mike Robbins says, “My research and experience have shown me that when we bring our whole selves to work in this way, not only are we more likely to create success and fulfillment for ourselves, but we’re able to have the greatest impact on the people around us.”

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg, The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook says, “If I believed in bringing my whole self to work before David died, what I learned after is that I have no choice.”

In his newest book, Bring your Whole Self to Work, Robbins writes “Bringing our whole self to work means showing up authentically, leading with humility and remembering that we’re all vulnerable imperfect human beings doing the best we can.”

Think about that statement in the context of your colleagues.  Would you relate to your co-workers differently if you saw them as the vulnerable imperfect human beings they are?  Would Ned in accounting be so annoying, if you knew he was doing his best in spite of his fears and insecurities?  How would your colleagues relate to you if they knew more about your past sorrows and losses?

Robbins, a keynote speaker who travels the globe ( says bringing your whole self to work is “about having the courage to take risks, speak up, ask for help, connect with others in a genuine way and allow ourselves to be truly seen.”

Sadly, most corporate cultures are the opposite of genuine connection.  In a 2016 Edelman Global Trust Barometer survey of more than 33,000 people worldwide, only 27 percent of leaders were seen as behaving in an open and transparent way. When people don’t trust their leaders, creativity and innovation are stymied.

Robbins outlines five principles to unlock more creativity, connection and performance:

  1. Be Authentic
  2. Utilize the Power of Appreciation
  3. Focus on Emotional Intelligence
  4. Embrace a Growth Mindset
  5. Create a Championship Team

While the principles are easy to understand, Robbins says, “Like many important aspects of life, growth and business, it’s not the understanding of them that makes the biggest difference, it’s their application.”

Trying to be someone you’re not doesn’t make you more successful, it just makes you tired.  You spend a large part of your life at work; you ought to be able to show up as yourself.

Here’s some important information on ordering Mike’s new book.  By purchasing here, you’ll get free access to three new audio programs:

  1. Create Success and Impact as an Individual Contributor.  This program gives insights and tips for how to thrive as an individual contributor.
  2. Authentic Leadership.  This is an audio for managers with ideas and techniques for how to build trust and coach team members authentically.
  3. The Challenge of Entrepreneurship.  This program gives tangible suggestions and examples for how business owners and entrepreneurs can work, lead, and succeed courageously.

These programs were created specifically with bringing your whole self to work in mind and exclusively for people who order Mike’s new book.  They’re each about an hour in length and contain stories, insights, and techniques for how to create greater success and fulfillment for you and those around you.

To order Mike’s book and receive the above bonuses, Click Here!