Most companies have diversity programs and spend huge sums of money each year encouraging employees to be authentic in their work life. So why then are we not? I think it all comes down to one fundamental human experience that brings us back to our middle school and high school days - fear of being different than everyone else.
When I started at my current company in early 2018, I made a promise to myself. I would be authentic about who I am, what I like, and where I want my life to go. So, I brought in a turtle Himalayan rock salt lamp (turtles are my spirit animals) and a few crystals, and made a small space for them on my desk. Over the next few days and weeks, I was surprised at the results. I learned a lot about my co-workers and about myself. What I learned can be summed up into three things:
1). People genuinely are interested in who you are as a person. I received many compliments about my new decor and my coworkers started asking me questions about why I brought them in and what they meant to me.
2). Bringing a part of my authentic self into the office opened up other people to be authentic about themselves. Not only did my coworkers ask me questions, they started telling me stories about themselves. Come to find out, there are other people in the office who are champions of holistic healing and the metaphysical.
3). My own happiness at work increased dramatically. By not hiding who I am and what my belief system is, I was able to be a more engaged and productive person.
We are a part of something beautiful. We are able to look at the world in ways that others cannot. Our love of things holistic and metaphysical is something to be celebrated, not hidden away for weeknights and weekends. Even though corporate America can be cutthroat, we don’t have to lose ourselves in the process of earning a living. And, along the way, just like I was able to do, we might just even be able to introduce a few people to the benefits.