Don’t you love Halloween? It’s not just because of the sweet treats. It’s so much fun to dress up in costume and take on the identity of someone or something else for the day. The holiday festivities give us an excuse to put on a mask and adopt a new persona. Perhaps we choose to be someone funny, or maybe we become a scary monster. Maybe we don some sexy clothing that’s totally out of character for us, or maybe we become a super hero who possesses super natural powers.
Halloween is fun. No doubt about it. As I was thinking about the holiday this year, it dawned on me, however, how scary it is to take OFF your mask, to look in the mirror and challenge yourself to be YOU; to be your authentic self.
In actuality, I think many of us hide behind masks all year long. We adopt different personas in our personal and professional lives because we believe we need them to be successful or be more like able. We create stories about ourselves and these stories become who we are. We lose our authentic selves in the process.
To me, the process of stripping away all these stories and personas we’ve created is far more frightening than any Halloween costume. We choose to hide behind our masks because we feel the need to protect ourselves; because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that if people knew who we really are, they wouldn’t like us or we wouldn’t be successful.
Many of us don’t even realize that we have taken on different identities and the effect this has on our lives. We don’t realize how much MORE successful, personable, and powerful we would be without the mask. And how much stress does hiding your authentic self cause in your life?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel you are being authentic at work?
- Are you being rewarded for being authentic at work?
- Have you adopted a management/leadership style that doesn’t feel comfortable because of your company’s culture?
- What type of “mask” are you hiding behind in your personal relationships?
- Are you more authentic with some people than others? What does this tell you?
Choose to connect with your authentic self.
Take OFF your mask. It’s the most empowering thing you can do for yourself.