As children, we all wanted to stand out and be seen for our individual selves. You later get a sense of wanting to belong the older you get. Now in my post-graduate life, I work for a company that has a very unique culture and a professional look is demanded. It isn’t like working at the local coffee shop anymore—where there is no uniform or specific dress code. It isn’t like working at the mall—where you can get away with showing your tattoos and dye your hair any color you want.
In a way, I love the idea of wearing office clothes and looking very “put together.” So much that I did everything to blend into this culture and for a while, I was seen for what I wanted to be portrayed as. I have never been one to stay quiet, and I very much do like to express my ideas—but for the first time, I really believed that going unnoticed meant that I was doing things right. I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I chose to blend in. I would get praised for how professional I look, and what a respectable woman I have become.
It took me five months to realize that if I wanted to claim who I was in this world, I couldn’t hide or pretend to be something I’m not. I forgot that the very reason why I was hired was because I already stood out in my resume and in my interviews.
Since then, I have started letting myself take up a little more space in this culture and everything has shifted. I feel powerful. I feel confident. I feel like I know what I am doing, because I am being myself. My newly redefined self.
I always thought it was a matter of changing myself to fit in, but it’s only another version of me. Just like when I am with my friends, or meeting with my parents. We all have different versions of ourselves. It’s not about being fake, but rather about acknowledging that you can feel fulfilled no matter what environment.
You’re worth being seen. Whether it’s at work, school, or just in general—when you are out socializing. You should never have to change yourself to fit in, if you do, you will never feel truly happy and valued. Being fulfilled with yourself is reflected in everything you do.
Because of this newly discovered empowerment, my work has gotten better and I have regained my voice. My strength as a leader. I jotted down my values and asked myself, what do I want to represent? I already thought I knew myself, but apparently not. Had I not reflected on my values, I wouldn’t have started this blog to share my experiences with you.
Nothing gets done without a solid foundation. Do you have a solid foundation? I want to encourage you to think about your values, and if you are already standing by them. If not, what is stopping you? You are the only thing holding yourself back.