Getting Naked at Work
Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" is often quoted for what he says about children: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself..." Recently I happened to open the book to a part I didn't know existed--about clothes. Here's what Gibran says:
"And the weaver said, "Speak to us of Clothes." And he (The Prophet) answered: Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful."
That got me thinking; imagine if we all walked around naked, even in corporate work environments. After all, our clothes are one way people judge us as the cliché says by the “book cover:” most sales people dress great and look like a million dollars; engineers wear shorts/jeans/t-shirts; executives in some organizations still wear a suit daily, even internally.
You often dress a certain way at work based on the company culture. Even with jeans, in some cultures the norm is expensive designer jeans and in others those brands are looked down upon. Fill in the blanks with the many stereotypes.
Beyond the literate about clothes at work, Gibran's statement gives us much to ponder.
Our clothes conceal much of our beauty
· Do your clothes reflect your true self or one that you feel you need to project for others?
· Are you shining your true beauty regardless of the clothes you wear.
· Are your words in integrity with your personal values?
· Are you willing and able to reflect your unique self or tend to conform?
When we can truly first recognize the beauty in each of us, without fixing anything and expecting people to confirm—then we welcome true diversity and open up to taking risks that lead to innovation. Being vulnerable (yes, even at work) and accepting yourself first, just the way you are, opens you up to stand confidently to contribute to a company. And when senior leaders, founders, owners model the way—others breath more freely.
Yet they hide not the unbeautiful
· Ever experienced someone dressed immaculately behaving like a total jerk?
· Clothes don’t hide actions and how people show up in situations.
· What’s it like to receive that condescending look, even without words?
So what would the world of work look like if we were more open with each other—willing to get naked and vulnerable with our truth?
- People say what they mean (and have shorter meetings)
- Focus on what's most important to each person (instead of dancing around agendas)
- Laughing with raw joy at being so liberated (and not so politically correct)
- Truly celebrating differences, beyond diversity “initiatives”
- Calling out BS of others and owning our own shit
- Being vulnerable to admit not having all the answers or knowing what to do
- Expressing and owning our feelings and judgments without needing to be right
If this resonates with you, go take it for a test drive. Share it with others and sign-up to receive my blog when I’m inspired to write next. Sign-up for my infrequent newsletter.