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Being yourself triples your success rate.
“Fitting in is overrated.” So says wildly successful magnate Melinda Gates regarding professional prowess—intel also shared by Oprah Winfrey. Turns out that advice is solid gold. And it could be the key to your success in the workplace.
According to recent Harvard research by Harvard Business School’s Francesca Gino and colleagues, you are 3 times more likely to be successful by being yourself at work—a notion that sparked conversation and inspiration at this year’s Wake Tech IGNITE, an annual celebration hosting upward of 750 local businesses and showcasing the college and its life-changing partnerships.
“Don’t bury your inner badass. Embrace your authenticity,” says Gino, the award-winning expert on the psychology of organizations instrumental in the Harvard series of studies who recently co-taught an intensive MBA course on the “Anatomy of Badass”—because, she says, embracing your inner “badass” (aka “to bring your full self forward” rather than “checking our identity at the door”) is the new key to success, naturally.
Translation: Being authentically yourself is more than just a TikTok trend for the “kids.” All that pressure to filter or bend or cater is, well, crap. Authenticity instead translates to success across the workplace—from being more likely to get the job to having VCs fund your pitch to better engaging with your job and even forming deeper connections with your colleagues, says the beacon of innovative leadership and author of Rebel Talent.
“It’s really thinking about what makes you, you,” says Gino—“what are your personal strengths and talents, to make sure you are leveraging them in the work that you do, or in your personal life, rather than quieting them down.”
With workplace identity a trending topic as the generational chokehold begins to pass—think super-populous boomers retiring and Gen Z’s growing presence—the new research from Harvard is more timely than ever.
But being authentic doesn’t mean thinking your ideas are superior, lends Gino. It means “not stopping ourselves by the stereotypes that are out there and just being who we are.” So next time you start to stress over success, remember, it truly does all come from within—especially in a world where sometimes just being yourself is the hardest job of all.
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