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by Jennifer Thompson

Or, why you shouldn’t be afraid of being yourself.

Work engagement is at an all-time low and I think I have figured out why.

People aren’t showing up as themselves at work and it is their own fault.

I watch it as I work with my clients every day. Clients don’t feel comfortable or confident showing up as their uniquely wonderful self.

So why not?

For starters, they are following the rules. You know, the ones that say you should show up a certain way, should dress a certain way, and should act a certain way.

Who made these rules anyway?

It is interesting as I talk with clients, they can’t even tell me why they are acting the way they are. I often get told, “I thought that was what I supposed to do.” When I push, and ask if anyone has actually told them this rule, they almost always say, “No.”

So how do you start breaking these rules and getting more engaged?

1. Know thyself! Have you taken the time to know what is important to you? What are your values and how do you enjoy using these values? Now I want you to really consider what YOU value, not what you are supposed to value! Yes, team work is a hot topic today, but if you don’t like team work, don’t fool yourself into believing it. And if you love working as a team, don’t try to find a job where you work independently. The cool part about our values is we all have them, they are all different, and they are all correct. You can’t be wrong about what you value!

2. Question your assumptions! Notice when you assume something has to be done a certain way, or when you assume that you have to show up a certain way to be accepted. What is the impact of that assumption? What is holding you back from doing something?

3. Give yourself permission to be you! You aren’t like Jane, so don’t try to be Jane. We all have our unique path, and that path gives us our power. Your experiences make you uniquely qualified to be you, so quit trying to be someone else.

4. Find a company that loves you for you! Show up genuinely in your interview, your online profile, and your resume. Be willing to take the time to find a company that likes you the way you are. You both will be much happier in the long run.

There it is! You hold the power of engagement, not your employer. You have to show up as yourself and start doing the things you value, not what you should do. I promise you will be more engaged.

Jennifer Thompson is a writer, international speaker, coach, and external provocateur who champions Deviant Thinking! She challenges her clients to uncover their “Unfair Competitive Advantage” to allow them to be “Remarkably Different” vs. just “Marginally Better” than the competition. To learn more, check out Jennifer’s website at:

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