What is the difference between our social selves and professional selves and why would it ever be bad to be social? What do we need to be successful financially and professionally? Melissa Ford, a business and life coach helped us develop an outer focus leading to success and better outcomes.
The social self is the self that is created as we grow up. It is likely created by authority and is reactive, self-focused and needy; sometimes even to the point of being creepy. It represents the inner fear and doubt we might feel when our manager indicates they want to talk to us or when we are in a new group and want everyone to like us. Our professional aura concentrates on serving, contributing, being confident and creative. At the center of the professional self we find power, focus and energy. We are the creators of our professional selves.
So if the professional self is better for success, how do we shift to it and what should we be aware of? It is a doing versus being problem. Tips that can help us get into this mindset and stay there are as follows:
- Work on active listening skills. Move out of broadcast only mode.
- Put yourself in situations with people who are in professional mode.
- Work on empathy and give yourself a break. This may take time and practice.
- Notice how you feel and when you catch yourself in social mode, move to professional mode.
- Roleplay your professional self and then make adjustments based on feedback.
Melissa told us that the best thing is to just “flip the switch” and turn on the professional. We will know that we are in our professional mindset when we start overriding pre-programmed responses and we can do this easily on difficult days like Monday mornings. It’s all about getting out of the comfort zone.