One of the greatest gift of working for myself is that I can create client relationships where I am able to bring my whole self to work.
Bringing my whole self makes things easier as I can just be me. I don’t need to pretend to be who I am not. This enables more authentic relationships. I am the same person at work and outside of work. And with authenticity comes trust and respect.
It is also much easier to be creative when I am being myself. When I don’t have to constantly monitor/modify my behaviour or censor my thoughts, I have more mental space to focus on project problems.
So often, work demands our wholesale sacrifice. Some of us even see whole-self engagement as unprofessional and even threatening. I am certainly not advocating turning up to work in pyjamas, with the cat, and telling off-coloured jokes to all and sundry. A level of self awareness and discipline is still required for respectful and appropriate interactions with others.
The advocates for wholesale working are usually the ones who demand absolute control over how their people think and act. Unfortunately for them, humans are not robots and tend to respond poorly to despotic dictates. As a narcissistic person once said to me, in dead seriousness: “I don’t want you to bring your whole self to work. I just want you to do exactly what I say when I say it.”
An environment that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work is one that is inevitably flexible, supportive, inclusive and thus more innovative. A whole-self friendly environment acknowledges and celebrates our humanity.
Regular laughter is always a good sign!