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Take the Mask Off: How to Get Real with People

With Halloween upon us, let’s talk about what it means to remove the masks we wear, how it helps your business, and how to do it.

We all have many different masks we wear. But do they actually help us? Or do they hurt our abilities to be impactful, productive, and fulfilled?


While there are a great many reasons we mask our true selves, a few stand out as the primary causes.

  1. Fear - Many of us fear we won’t be accepted by others. We all have a fundamental need to belong. If we feel our authentic self won’t be accepted by other people, we often hide parts of our true selves behind a facade that we think allows us to belong.

  2. Self-Deception - We often lie to ourselves to avoid facing our flaws. For example, when someone lacks the discipline to get something done, they may convince themselves of a reason why they couldn’t get it done that was outside their control. They don’t want to face their own faults, so they cover them up with self-deception and pretend that they don’t possess certain characteristics.

  3. Coping Mechanisms - Masks can also be used as coping mechanisms to hide insecurities or trauma from others, or even ourselves. The mask serves as a survival tool to help us avoid things we perceive as threats. An example of this can be when people are hypervigilant about the things they say and always make sure that they never ruffle any feathers. They may say things they don’t actually mean to make sure they are avoiding confrontation of any kind.

These can all lead to one of the biggest and most troubling causes of wearing a mask.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome is what happens when we feel that who we are isn’t good enough. People do this in all aspects of their lives, from personal relationships to their working lives.

When people suffer from Imposter Syndrome, they always dwell on the negative. They may feel they didn’t earn or deserve something when they do. They pretend to not be angry or hurt when they are. If they do a good job on a project, they don’t enjoy the success as much as they should. They pretend things don’t matter when they are in fact very important to them.

Oftentimes people suffering from this condition hide their true feelings and adopt a character that they play. This character is known as the saboteur. This new identity is pervasive and can trap people within it, which prevents them from having the freedom to just be themselves. Examples of this can include turning to humor to hide certain feelings (becoming a comedian), lashing out at others to keep them at a distance (becoming a bully), and becoming extremely extroverted to avoid your insecurities (becoming a social butterfly).

All of this leads to burnout, unhappiness, stress, and a lack of fulfillment. In fact, one study found that job satisfaction, engagement, and performance are all raised when employees have greater feelings of authenticity. If you want happy and effective employees, fostering a workplace that promotes authenticity is a great place to start.

Remove the Barriers

Now that we have talked about the causes and problems with mask-wearing, the next step is understanding how to take those masks off.

One way to start revealing the real you is by identifying your saboteur. Positive Intelligence has a great Saboteur Assessment you can use as a resource. Find out what characters and behaviors you adopt to mask your true self. Once you learn what those are, you can start taking action to eliminate them.

Another thing to do is focus on yourself; your drive, your inspiration, the things that make you the person you are. If you want help to rediscover yourself and your passion, check out our Reclaiming Your Vitality Package. You can also sign up for our Ignite Your Power Retreat, which offers guidance and coaching on how to unlock your leadership potential over the course of three days. Don’t miss this opportunity and sign up today!

Taking the mask off is imperative for a healthy workplace. People feel free and authentic in an environment that promotes it. They have less stress and more satisfaction in their work, as will you.

Being authentic is knowing who you are, what’s important to you, why it’s important, and living congruently with those things. You choose to live in alignment with what you say you are.

So get comfortable with the leader within you. Get comfortable with joy and passion. Take the mask off and start to thrive.

Though feel free to wear one tonight.

Happy Halloween,

The Keen Alignment Team


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