Written by Kioka Dunston of kiokacoaching, inc. We helped to edit (smile).
Oh, for the chance to be ourselves. Our TRUE SELVES. Every day. Always. Sounds so easy, but how is it possible? Our world decided long ago, before we entered into it, that in order for us to “succeed,” we need to stay on guard, and be all things to everyone else but ourselves. As a result, we go to work and put on fake voices and phony smiles; we display inconsistent behavior – inconsistent, that is, with how we really feel. This is not the real you; it’s your representative. And we have to, because we have bills, homes, families, and a lifestyle to support.
And if we could leave that guarded self at work that would be fine. But what about those of us who take the mask with us? Into our personal lives? Do your friends really know you, or do they know the “you” that is acceptable or worthy of their love? How about that special someone in your life? Does (s)he know you or, as stated before, your representative? Is it unfathomable to tell the people in your life what you really believe or how you really feel because you fear it’s not enough? You’re not enough, just as you are? What a burden that must be, causing all types of physical and emotional symptoms that eventually eat away at your mind/body/spirit. Yet it’s not uncommon, not by a long shot. Because if this does not describe you, then it definitely describes someone you know.
If our entire lives depend on wearing this heavy mask at work or home, or both, knowing that the weight of it can destroy us, what can we possibly do? Is it possible to break the cycle, live in authenticity, AND get what we want? Absolutely! Here’s how:
- Get clear about your personal values, and write them down. To avoid assumption, let’s define personal values. These are the characteristics that you hold most dear, the attributes that when they’re honored, feel right to you, and when they’re ignored, you feel crappy. Examples include serenity, adventure, play, romance, organized, (feel free to insert your own here). You get to have as many as you want, as long as they are the ones that you deem to be essential in your life. Then, write them down. Now physically carry this list with you wherever you go, perhaps even laminating them, so you can be reminded daily of what really matters in your life.
- Make time every day for what matters the most to you. That book you’ve been wanting to read but instead put off because you can get one more task done at work? Fuggedaboutit. If you need to, go out to your car at lunch and crack open those pages. That white water rafting adventure? Schedule that vacation day and sign up right now.
Living and working in authenticity does a curious thing – it ends up attracting the very people and experiences that actually enjoy you – the REAL you. Trust me, it happens every time. So go ahead and put that mask aside. Let down your guard and show us who you really are. Your destiny awaits…
Esha and Tarik’s note: we’ll be working with Kioka on some events that will help you to be more of your “true self” in the very near future. These events will include teleseminars and an amazing retreat in March 2016 where you can choose the life that you really want. Stay tuned!
Kioka Dunston is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach and owner of kiokacoaching, inc. based in Durham, NC. Kioka provides personal coaching for corporate professionals, group coaching for entry-level female entrepreneurs, and PeopleMap assessments and workshops to small and medium-sized organizations. Kioka is also a speaker and workshop facilitator who actively engages and inspires audiences in various forums including Dress for Success, Society of Human Resource Management, Women’s Empowerment Series, Women’s Power Networking, InSpire Mom Summit, Durham Business and Professional Chain, WildWackyWonderfulWomenoftheWo