6 Traits of “Authentic Professionals”

These traits allow you a glorious, giving, and insightful way to live life. And they (you!) deserve to be celebrated. Here we’ll highlight the positives while looking a bit deeper into how you can grow your genuine nature and serve yourself even more kindly.

Future posts will expand upon each of these with more detail! Let’s go:

    You seek to be genuine, truthful, and kind in all you do. Whether with colleagues, friends, or strangers, you exemplify all that good Brené Brown mindset of late. And whether you trust it or not, you truly are good at being good-natured. You are present and a great listener for your friends, and you are sincere in you hard efforts at work. 

    Ironically, being authentic in terms of voicing your opinion or sharing hard feelings may prove tough at times. Many genuine-seeking folx mask these for fear of being “too much” in someone’s eyes. You might fear being seen as “too emotional,” “too loud,” or as the team player who’s suddenly “too negative” with a dissenting opinion. To truly be authentic, including at work, it takes learning that authentic + genuine mean showing up, as you are, who you are, with all your inherent thoughts and feelings.

    As an Authentic Professional, you already wonderfully succeed at and want to excel further in your career, yet you don’t subscribe to the competitive mentality of climbing the ladder. In fact, you may find it intimidating or have doubts about asking for a raise or a new project. Your work is exemplary and you’re a true god-send to your team and company. You see a job well-done as an A+, plus (hopefully!) your true grit effort & know-how showing through.

    A word of caution, however: Authentic Professionals fall easily into the trap of seeking external validation and praise, finding work or academics a primary method to define their personal enoughness. Be passionate about what you do, but watch out for the “shoulds” — more on that soon!

    One part of work and life that doesn’t always feel easy is your often-present friend Emotion. Authentic people usually are skilled at caring for others because they readily recognize others’ emotional needs, thanks to being deeply clued into feelings in general. But then emotional self-care can go by the wayside when your own emotions pop up: tearfulness from work stress, anxiety during social gatherings, disappointment at someone not supporting you.

    Learning to better care for your own feelings rather than pushing them down is a key skill to nourish, especially as an empath, Highly Sensitive Person, care-taker, and the like. Therapy is a beautiful place to cultivate this and receive the nuance of care you’re wanting.

    You care deeply about others’ well-being and that they feel cared for around you– one of the many areas where you try hard to do a good job and maybe even (the dreaded) “not mess up.” You’re like a ninja at honing in on their needs. And without realizing it, you might find it easier to ignore your own wants by thinking of theirs. If so, here’s a fresh, needed idea to consider: boundaries.

    Boundaries are compassionate ways to say what works for you and what doesn’t. You might think at first this sounds “selfish, pushy, demanding,” when really 1) you’re the only person who can precisely take care of you so it’s your job…rather than hoping someone can read your mind, and 2) sharing your boundaries (needs/wants) with someone lets you both know the expectation and possibly how to make a situation better for both of you. Don’t worry, more on the Magic of Boundaries soon!

    Ah, perfection. How very…attainable, right? Perfection is a trap countless Authentic Professionals inevitably fall into, or live their lives stuck in. The above #1-4 beautiful ways of living with thoughtfulness, kindness, consideration, and wanting to do well, can have shadow sides of needing to do these all just right, all the time. When firstly, there is generally no one or exact “right” way. There are infinite ways to approach a project, a conversation, caring for someone, or overall “doing well.” But when you fear failing, fear disappointing, or fear coming off as anything but immaculate, there isn’t room to breathe or be more truly you. 

    Maintaining your values of whole-heartedness and conscientiousness can indeed be upheld without striving to be perfect. I promise! Perfection is not the altruistic motivator it claims to be; in fact it is robbing you of your creativity, confidence, and most likely your joy. Reflecting on this solo or with a therapist can free up your life to do things how you truly want, without the underlying fears and over-efforting. 

    Not taking care of your needs, masking your true self, and perfectionism tend to grow from deep, old beliefs of not trusting you are enough: smart enough, skilled enough, nice enough, busy enough, good-friend-enough, you name it. You probably have all kinds of strategies to protect against these showing up in your day– everyone does! Otherwise you’re faced with a shame response, that gut punch of embarrassment and wanting to hide, or a tsunami of demeaning self-talk.

    Giving yourself the permission to look at all these traits grants you the opportunity to make the fantastic most out of your generous traits. While bolstering YOU much more in the balance.