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How to Bring Your Whole Self to Work


In a recent LinkedIN post I offered the four (4) socio-emotional aspects of self that I think we bring to work, often unconsciously...and I suggested we take more conscious responsibility for these.

The post so far has received over five and a half thousand views, over 50 comments and nearly 500 reactions which I suspect speaks to a widespread longing for more care and awareness about the energy we and others bring to work.


The four aspects of self that I'm aware I bring into a room, that I shared in the post were;

1. My thinking. My judgements, opinions and beliefs.

2. My feelings. My emotional state, my energy. If I'm feeling jovial, worried, sad or mad.

3. My unspoken longings. What I value or not. If I'm longing for fairness, compassion, consideration and perhaps not sure if I'm safe to speak for them.

4. My unspoken requests of other people and my organisation.


My inspiration and awareness about these aspects comes from my long time study of Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication. Over the last 10 years I've been practicing with these aspects of my communication, not only so that I can more effectively express myself, but also so that I can listen more effectively for what isn't being said and be able to ask questions that matter.

These four aspects of communication are central to the training in Self Advocacy that I'm passionate about. Each of the four aspects presents an opportunity to shift from the "conditioned" way we express ourselves to a more engaging and connecting way that actually connects with the energy behind the words.


Have you ever noticed how quickly you might "tune out" when someone is speaking only from their thoughts and judgements without connecting with you and sharing from their heart? It can sound like "blah blah statistics blah blah opinion". However, when someone speaking to us can connect with what they emotionally feel and how that feeling is an expression of their values, then we are much more likely to be able to feel the healthy "alive" energy in what they have to say. We are "moved" by their "communication energy".


This to me is bringing more of our "whole selves" to work in a wonderful, life-serving way.

One commenter on the post wrote "Love this personal response-ability".

I posted back that "I'm a fan of that meaning myself "ability to respond"...it's a SUPER SKILL considering so many of us are 'programmed' to sigh with frustration at work when something isn't working for us, yet we are likely to comply without speaking up.

Self response-ability means breaking out of our own patterns of passive agreement or discontent in ways that empower us to bring our full selves to work in life serving ways...more preferable to the sometimes reactive (angry) blaming ways that are often feared as outcomes when the "whole self" is welcomed in the workplace.


Self-advocacy skills means being curious and bringing these four aspects to our conscious awareness as we engage at work, and at home, so we can connect our feelings to our own values (rather than blame another person) and take a greater self responsibility for the quality of warm positive regard for ourselves and others that we're bringing into the room.

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