In an interesting post at HBR Peter Bregman talks about attending a conference as yourself instead of as your role, although roles are far easier, because we feel more comfortable and safer.
It’s why, within a minute of meeting someone, we begin to define ourselves by our roles, our status, and our relationships to others. We think it’s because other people need that information to know us.
But standing alone at that party I realized I’d been fooling myself. Other people don’t need that information to know me. I need that information to know myself.
I would go further and suggest that you attend life as yourself as opposed to your roles.
Roles make it easy to interact with strangers, but they also allow us to hide from our bosses, colleagues and even serve as barriers between us and our families—but the greatest disservice roles perform is allowing us to hide from ourselves.
If you define yourself internally by your roles you preclude exploration and the chance to discover new depths, travel new paths and learn what you are really capable of.
Putting yourself first and your roles second is scary and makes you vulnerable, but it also opens the door to a myriad of possibilities.
Flickr image credit: sxc.hu