Today was no different than most mornings where I rush to do a workout at the gym before beginning my work. Walking out, feeling like I was being good to my body and mind, I hopped into my car to head home. I turned on the radio and started listening to a talk show. It caught my attention as the individual being interviewed shared:
“I was a hard worker in my technology job. I did well but was the guy in the lunchroom who made jokes. My co-workers got together and signed me up for a local comedy show. I couldn’t believe they did that but I decided I would try it out, especially because they believed I was funny. So I performed at the show and something inside of me clicked. I felt like this was what I should be doing. And from that point I never looked back. Comedy was what I was meant to do!”
Wow! I just kept thinking about this “awakening” of sorts for this tech guy and wondered how that must have felt to finally pursue the life work he was meant to follow.
Has this ever happened to you? Did you have a pivotal moment or a situation that made you realize you were not leading with your real mask?
I had this experience years ago when I was a bank-lending officer, fresh out of business school. The job was fine but I felt something was missing. After speaking with a colleague who was a human resources director, I started to get excited. Something inside me was screaming out- “Take a chance”!
Are you ready to explore these five questions to see if you are leading with your real mask?
Is my job or career energizing me?
Although we all have good days and bad days at work, we should take stock in whether our jobs are making us feel vital, relevant and fulfilled. Are we still growing so that we don’t feel we are at a standstill? We may be seasoned SME’s, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new things to learn.
What parts of my job aren’t working?
Next look around your work world and see what keeps you in the flow and what keeps causing friction.
- Identify the tasks that can be delegated or shared
- If we are feeling a bit disconnected from the people we work with or collaborate with, it may be time to get to know them in a more personal way
- Decide how to manage your day differently if you are constantly overwhelmed or out of time
What have I always wanted to try?
Even though I had a particular degree, I needed to explore other possibilities to bring fulfillment to my career. Ask yourself what areas have you always wanted to learn more about and how can you make that happen. You might want to research a particular course or certification. You might want to attend a webinar. You might want to talk to someone in a different field that fascinates you. Don’t delay. Your dreams are worth it. And it may not be so difficult to switch.
What would colleagues and friends say are my real strengths?
Just like the man in the radio interview, what would the people you work with say about your talents? Our friends know us more deeply and probably could give us meaningful and honest feedback about what they see as our strengths. Give it a try and ask a teammate or someone important in your life about your hidden gifts.
Am I open to a change?
To swap out an inauthentic mask for the real one requires courage. It begs us to confront our truths and possibly follow a different road. This does not mean we need to make huge moves. I stayed with the same bank and just jumped to a different department.
- Choose what the next step might be
- Carefully lay out a plan
- Find a buddy to help hold you accountable
- If the first move is rocky, don’t give up
How do you lead with your real mask? What stories can you share to help us see the importance of wearing our real masks?
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