Do what works for you
Anne George | May 18, 2018 | Photograph by: Bianca Lucas
“You do you” is heard often these days. What it means is that you should be as authentic as possible and make good use of your distinctive talents. It’s good advice because there really is no-one on the planet quite like you. As is often said – you’re as unique as your fingerprints.
Where this gets challenging is finding out what actually works for you.
It can take quite a lot of enquiry and self-analysis to discover who you truly are and where your abilities lie. Ask yourself: “What do I really want? And how can I best put my talents and skills into action in a style that truly suits me?”
One of the best clues is to find out what you’re passionate about. A good way to do this is to explore what attracts you deeply. For some people this is obvious, and they’ve known it since they were children. Others might have a range of interests and have to explore more fully.
A good rule of thumb is to find something that you just can’t stop doing and which energises you. On the other hand, are there activities that drain you and leave you feeling unsatisfied and exhausted? For example, nature lovers who enjoy conservation and working outdoors may find their energy depleted if they work in an office cubicle. Another good indicator is when you find something that you would happily do whether you were paid for your efforts or not. That’s when you know you’ve found your passion.
Have the confidence to be true to yourself
Once you know who you are and what you love, it’s much easier to do what works for you.
If you’re in the business world, this might be challenging as a woman. Traditionally, business culture has been constructed on male norms because senior management continues to be male-dominated. As a result, women have often felt the need to adopt male behaviours to fit in and to gain respect or be promoted.
Fortunately, this is changing fast as the world of work moves into a new phase. Working in teams and group decision-making is now considered much more effective than having a highly assertive, charismatic leader who’s completely in charge. Women tend to consult more, to be highly intuitive, and to involve others in making decisions by gathering opinions, which is a real strength. With this in mind, feel free to be yourself and to do what works for you in your leadership style.
What is right and authentic for you is probably exactly what the workplace needs.
Your happiness will be influenced by doing it ‘your way’
There’s a wealth of research that shows that a good culture match is hugely significant when it comes to succeeding and thriving at work. Too often when someone is looking for a job, they focus more on getting employed than making sure that the organisation is a good fit for them. You may get the job, but you might need to pretend to be someone you’re not. This really is a recipe for unhappiness and lack of fulfilment.
As much as it might be tempting, avoid being a chameleon. If you try to ‘fit in’ and to please others at the expense of your own personality and values, this will harm you in the long run.
You will never perform consistently in a manner that is inconsistent with how you see yourself, so be truly authentic and know that this is enough.
There’s one caveat – you’re part of a society so there are always group norms and behaviours. Doing what works for you doesn’t mean that you ignore the feedback from those around you. Unless you’re living in isolated splendour, you need to be open to listening to other people’s points of view too. This is part of consultation and could help you develop better self-awareness.
Just listening to others doesn’t mean that you have to compromise what’s important to you – but it might help you to develop better qualities. That way you can keep doing what works for you, while also continuing to learn and grow. When you’re truly happy to simply ‘be’ who you are, you’ll find that your life can really take off and the things that stress and challenge you will be so much easier to deal with.
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MEET THE FOUNDER Natalie Hughes
Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.
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