How to work more effectively by being your true self

By Martin Thoolen,
Published at 21 June 2017.
Read in 3 minutes.

It’s your birthday. You unwrap your gift and find a pearl!
Have you ever been surprised when you unwrap yourself and find the real version of yourself?

What is the as the real version of yourself?

If you work as the as the real real version, you take your thoughts, feelings, intuition and choices seriously. And you express (carefully) what is actually going on inside you.

You then show, for example, what you are good at and what you are (as yet) unable to do, what you enjoy and what irritates you, and you are open and define your limits. This means that you are honest to yourself, find courage and go for what you believe in. It is not the perfectversion of yourself, in which you conceal and improve all kinds of things.

You are in a meeting and think: ‘I don’t agree with this. Say something about it, or am I being Mister say-nothing again?’This is how IT manager Peter puts on his please mask when things become tense and authority shifts around the table. An executive Board member growls that it really is time for Peter to implement the new computer system in the departments. Because time is pressing. Peter’s inner yes-man is ready to go, but something inside him screams no. He actually wants to say no, but he finds it very difficult. Because when an authority has a problem (and especially with him) he has the tendency to make himself smaller, or he sticks his head in the sand.

Why does he do that? Because he has been doing this all his life! His parents argued frequently, and he tried to calm things down and ease the tension. That was the origin of his recipe: Mollification, placation or just walking away. The most normal thing in the world for him.

Normal? Until he discovers that this can sometimes work in exactly the wrong way during a deepening course. He also discovers how he can as the real work as his real version in difficult situations.

How do you work as the as the real version of yourself?

As the real as the real of yourself? You work as the real version of yourself when you, for example, express what you really desire or what really bothers you.

Peter talked with the department heads again, and this time with fresh eyes and ears. “You should have stood up for us better”, is the accusation heard from some people. And he wants to minimise and justify again. But now he doesn’t do it. He just sits there, listens and asks questions, so that everything is discussed.

A little later, at the coffee machine, a succession of images flashes by – frowning, growling department heads with robust feedback in the test phase. An impenetrable 300-page manual provided by the supplier that will take a couple of weekends to read.

The new system is on the agenda again tomorrow and Peter asks himself: ‘What should I do?’

Next morning, he walks into the meeting feeling self-confident, and says “I just do not support top-down imposition of the new system, while the departments are do not unable to work with it”. He lays out the collective concerns and wishes with calm assurance. He demands that the supplier make adjustments. Even though he knows that the supplier is a friend of one of the Board members.

What does the as the real real version give you and your organisation?

Personal and professional strength, clarity and increased effectiveness.

Peter now uses his own strength to make it clear that significant amounts of money and time will be saved if a change is made. Then everyone will be able to work with the new system without a frown. The executives change their minds. The supplier is put on the spot and alters his plans.

Result: a larger base of support amongst the employees and effective implementation of the new computer system. Peter is happy with his as the real real version and the department heads want to start working with the new system.

How can you you work more as the real version of yourself?

1- What social mask do you put on when things get tense?
2- What would happen if you show as the real the real version?

© 2017 Martin Thoolen & Wendy Hobbelink

Martin Thoolen

My 30 years of professional experience as an awareness coach, clinical and organisational psychologist has enabled me to help thousands of clients in Personal or Collective Leadership. Both groups and individuals, in coaching sessions, training courses, leadership development and organisation development programs, retreats and seminars.
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