Taking Off The Mask

Anytime that you are trying to behave or speak in a way that is inconsistent with who you really are, you will create a competitive disadvantage for yourself.
— Carla Harris
Image via Creative Commons

Image via Creative Commons

By: Lauren Broussard, Co-founder, The Memo

While I was out running errands this Halloween weekend, I noticed a sign in a store window. The sign asked patrons not to come into the store with their Halloween masks on or costume weapons in hand, out of concern for the safety of its other patrons. Since I didn’t have a costume on, and still hadn’t decided on one, this sign didn’t phase me.

However, long after I left, I began to think about it. I wasn’t thinking about the literal message of the sign, but rather about the idea of taking off our masks when we show up places, especially when it relates to our careers.

My sister and I got into a conversation later about this idea and about authenticity. She shared with me one of her favorite videos, which completely resonated with me. It’s a speech from 2014 from author/leader/singer Carla Harris, who gives her “Pearls” of wisdom for creating success in your life and career. In one of "Carla's Pearls," she talks about bringing all the parts of you to a business situation, because you never know what piece of you will connect with someone.

The entire video is worth a watch, but if you are pressed for time, make sure to check out the first 6 minutes!

For a long time, like Carla Harris describes in the video, I was very intentional about separating my work life and my life-life. I thought that I worked at a place where it wasn't possible to bring my entire, authentic self.

I had a work mask/work face that stayed on until the minute I walked out of the office, to be replaced by my non-work mask. I was perceived as hard to get to know by some of my early colleagues. (If I’m being honest, I had about three different "non-work" masks, too, that would change based on who I was interacting with.) Once I started intentionally leaving my masks in the car, though, I noticed how much easier it became to connect with colleagues, friends, and clients.

Never forget that the sum of your experiences makes you unique. Don’t forget to bring all of you to the table (I'm not talking about "telling everyone all your business," either).

This week, consider how you can take off whatever mask you may have on, and show people the real you!

Here’s to another great week, ladies!