Authenticity vs Professionalism - to what cost?
If you're a coach, mentor lightworker, or healer and you have a professional presence on LinkedIn - this post is for you....
So - I just updated my 'about' section on LinkedIn and openly expressed my spiritual side.
Why after 2 years of starting a soul-led business that is ENTIRELY spiritual, did that feel so goddam hard to do?
Oh yes, the patriarchy....
Before I continue - hit reply and let me know, do you share your business on LinkedIn? If you don't have a business, do you share your THING (whether that's spirituality or religion, or even a hobby, passion or interest on LinkedIn? Why or why not? What do you think of people who do? Let me know...).
Yet, connecting to my spirituality has been the single most liberating thing on my journey to being a business owner.
If I had to choose this over the:
-working from home
-choosing my own hours
-choosing what I do every day
-how I do it, and who I do it with
I would choose my connection to myself, my spirituality over it all.
Yet, in so doing, it is precisely in re-building the connection to myself, my own self trust, self-agency, belief in my abilities and vision for the future through spiritual practices, connection and faith that ironically have allowed me to create precisely those things in my life....
A late and very dear friend of mine once said on the last phone call I had with her:
'what would you be sacrificing not to bring this part of yourself to your work'? I thought it was so powerful and I told her so. I'm so glad I did.
For context we were having a discussion a few months after George Floyd and the dilemma some of us face about being our true authentic self at work and what we 'should' or should not reveal on a job application for fear of safety and judgement and ultimately exclusion of opportunities to promotions and jobs.
We even discussed the most insidious side of how this takes form, such as white washing (basically changing your name or appearance to fit into Western ideals or beauty standards), micro aggressions and out right discrimination for race, gender, or any of the protected characteristics. Did you know in an experiment in the UK a study in which the same CV was sent to 100 different employers with half named Mohammed and half named Adam; Adam received 3 x MORE interviews? What is that? Unconscious bias, outright racism. When we can't even reveal our name... it actually makes me sick to write this.
I was still working in corporate at the time we had this discussion and yet, her words stuck.
Every time we hide part of ourselves, whether that's our spirituality, hobbies, family, religion, passion, interests, or even just our 'side hustle', we are not able to show up fully in our own authentic expression or in our genius.
(read that again)
Our skill, intelligence and capacity are inevitably going to be dialled down when the way we show up is controlled to blend into the patriarchal white supremist norms that we have all been subjected to, in order to not be noticed, out of fear of being singled out, not-included or worst picked on.
How on earth can you truly be expected to SHINE when you have worked so hard to blend in?
Often under the guise of 'professionalism'.
I can't believe it took me two years to write the word 'spirituality' in my bio.
My beautiful friend, and her infinite wisdom will live through me every time I show up fully.
It's the least I can do to honour her.
I'm just sorry it took this long and I'm even more sorry she isn't here to see it.
Perhaps if this world was more inclusive she would still be with us.
Perhaps if I can show up more authentically, then others can too.
And we won't feel so alone in this world sometimes, scared to be who we truly are and to be able to be our true selves in any and every setting.
It is our differences that connect us.
It is our differences that make this life so interesting, beautiful and miraculous in every way.
Fuck 'professionalism'. We NEED to rewrite what that means and the way it causes us to subjugate ourselves to white supremist patriarchal norms.
A wider discussion needs to be had, in our families, households, workplaces, communities and societies as a whole about the role we play in creating a truly inclusive space for people to be authentically themselves and accepted.
Especially in circumstances where revealing their truth is not a choice - because I acknowledge the privilege that my spirituality can be hidden if needed, whereas, the colour of my skin can not.
Do you see how essential this work is?
Every time we step into our power and face the potential discomfort and even backlash for standing in our truth we move the needle towards creating a better environment for those who do not have the privilege of being able to hide it if they wish to.
This is just one small, tiny way that we can contribute positively to dismantle the systems that oppress us and keep us small to absolutely no-ones gain.
Please remember this takeaway:
Any time you notice yourself second guessing yourself, holding back or hiding your truth, then ask yourself:
'what are you sacrificing to NOT bring this part of yourself to the table?'.
Secondly, is your discomfort to share your truth a privilege you get to choose?
Thank you for reading.
Article referenced via BBC link: HERE
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