What do we know about ourselves with certainty? I have always believed in the power of the mind and urge my clients daily to take time for reflection and understand what they want from a career and their lives. Knowing your authentic self leads not only to better decision making in career and personal life decisions but ensures we are on a path to job satisfaction. So watching the news this week has me questioning if we can indeed understand our authentic selves. If you “identify” as male or female or as black or white does this make it real or authentic? Or are there some things that do not change and we must ultimately integrate ultimate truths about authentic selves into our decision-making?
Rachel Dolezal, the adjunct faculty member from Eastern Washington University and President of the Spokane Washington Chapter of the NAACP, stepped down from both jobs this week. These big career steps occurred because she had misrepresented herself as a mixed race individual and there has been criticism from every side of this event. Being authentic and knowing oneself are critical elements. If you misrepresent some of the basics does this mean that other items like values or ethics are also negotiable elements? What does a lack of transparency about self have to do with how you will solve problems, work in a team situation, or the quality of your leadership?
I have counseled many people after loss of a job. This work always begins with processing what happened, understanding and learning from the event, finding the positive elements in a negative event, and then deciding what the next career steps will be. The chances of future success are directly related to self understanding and being honest about the issues. Ms. Dolezal is going to have a lot of work to do to regain her personal and professional respect. I suggest all of my clients take a time out for personal self-reflection every year to review what has been accomplished and where you are going next. It is a gift to ourselves. Don’t forget being honest with yourself in those reviews is critical.