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Unlock your authentic self

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Ayesha Murray from The Parent Equation® podcast shares some useful insights into authenticity

We are the same person, whether at work or at home, so why do we feel the need to create a persona and how can we start bringing our authentic selves to work? Three factors come into play, amongst others. Knowing your purpose, living a values-led life and practicing self-compassion

Find your purpose

"Ikigai is a state of wellbeing that arises from devotion to activities one enjoys, which also brings a sense of fulfilment." Japanese psychologist Michiko Kumano (2017)

If we’re better acquainted with what we’re on this earth to do, then we create a sense of self that we can stand behind with confidence and conviction

The Ikigai framework is great for getting you started

Look at each section - ‘what I love’, ‘what I’m good at’, ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what I can be paid for’. Think about each part in isolation and list everything that comes to mind. It can be helpful to think back to your early career days or even your childhood to get some sparks of inspiration!

The goal is to find your Ikigai - the central intersection - although I appreciate that may take time. But just being more conscious of these areas is a step in the right direction.

Align with your values

How often do you stop and reflect on your values, what you stand for, what you believe in?

Understanding our values and living our life, intentionally, by them gives us the confidence to make better decisions, to have conviction in those decisions and to put stronger boundaries in place (so that we learn when to say yes and when to say no)

You can download values lists online, but before you do that, think about which three words instinctively sum up what’s important to you and how you want to live your life

Then find examples of when you live by those values, and when you don’t. How do you feel if you don’t consider your values. What discomfort comes up for you and what could you do differently to be more values-led?

Consider putting your values somewhere you can always see them, on the fridge, on your phone or laptop screensaver. Then when you’re next faced with a decision or a choice to make, think about how your values influence how you’re going to respond

Practice self-compassion

If we practice self-compassion then we’re kinder to ourselves, rather than judgemental. We recognise that failures are an opportunity to learn and develop

We can be more balanced when we fall short, and don’t let negative emotions take over. And we’re more motivated to improve ourselves

Having a positive outlook on life makes us more willing to take a chance —such as being more authentic and opening ourselves up to others

Here’s a quick exercise to help you reframe how you treat yourself:

1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really bad about him- or herself or is really struggling in some way. How do you respond to your friend in these situations (if you’re at your best)?

2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations?

3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?

4. Write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself when you’re suffering in the same way you typically respond to a close friend

5. Next time you are struggling with something, try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens

To learn more about how you can work with Ayesha or to listen to her brilliant podcast head over to

For more ideas to help you make your return to work experience a brilliant one, read these:

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