What Masks and Identities Do You Bring to Work?

What Masks and Identities Do You Bring to Work?

Rachel Dolezal, former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP. Dolezal was discovered to be Caucasian after identifying as black for some 10 years. (Image: Vibe.com)

The reality is that shifting between all of these masks is tiring, confusing, and burdensome. However, because of our strength, need to achieve, and high expectations of self, we suppress the heavy weight and ignore the effects of this load that we carry.  The reality is that the process of tapping into different identities, presenting different selves, and wearing multiple masks at work is mentally taxing, and creates a set of emotions that can lead to anxiety, stress, overload, and burnout.

The question that I charge you with asking yourself on a continual basis is: How do I begin to think about the masks and identities that I wear in a way that allows me to authentically and effectively navigate my personal and professional life?

Here are five things to remember as you begin the journey of unmasking and understanding your many identities:

1. Identity management is a human experience that everyone lives. You are not the only person experiencing this. Don’t beat yourself up about the frustrations or uncertainties about your journey.

2. It is up to us to determine whether we will be passive or active in the management of our many identities. The success of your journey is directly connected to how you actively and consciously engage in consistent and frequent self-reflection.

3. We must understand that we are not alone in this journey. Aside from coming from a legacy of people that have walked this journey and persevered, you have a community of people, here in the present, that are here to support you. As humans, we are social beings, and must embrace the idea that we weren’t made to walk this journey alone.

4. We must realize that there are tools to make the journey smoother. The amazing thing about the way we were designed is that we have the ability to change and adapt. To believe this, is to also embrace the idea that there are strategies that assist us in transforming our thought processes, emotional profiles, and behaviors.

5. The most important part of the journey is the process. This process of self-discovery and identity exploration is very revealing and transformative. We should not simply focus on the destination.

For more information about identity management and the process of unmasking, visit here.

(Image: Twitter)

Do you have more questions about how to navigate the masks you wear at work? Share your comments and tweet me your perspectives at @DrAtiraCharles.