This article is some sort of hybrid between book review and self-help piece. I could start with the usual cliché’s — “This book will change your life…”. I won’t, though. I will say that every so often, you come across a concept that is epiphany inducing. Something that makes you think, “Yes, that’s what’s missing.” For me, that concept was Self-Fidelity.
Cassandra Goodman coins the term Self-Fidelity in her new book ‘Self-Fidelity. How being true to yourself uplifts your working life’.
If you’re into the likes of Brené Brown or Simon Sinek, I suggest you add Cassandra to your reading list.
I’ve had this hidden gem sitting in my pile for a touch too long. I’ve been on maternity leave and avoiding anything and everything work-related. Living in a state of blissful denial.
Recently, I’ve caught myself deep in moments of self-reflection. Wondering who exactly I am, where I want to be in life, how I’m going to achieve it. After a few weeks of procrastinating, I thought to myself, “You really should read the book”…
For as long as I’ve been working, I’ve been able to move interchangeably between ‘work Jessie’ and ‘life Jessie’. Like two separate beings. I’ve always viewed work as a necessary evil. A means to an end, something you do so that you can live the life you desire when you're not there. Which is fine… until it’s not. You can’t spend 5 out of 7 days of the week pretending to be someone else. It’s exhausting for one, and it’s completely confusing. Upon reading the book, I now know I view my work as “Work as a job”.
‘Work Jessie’ is a no BS, efficient employee. She succeeds in the corporate arena because she works ethically, she works hard, and she works fast. Why? Because she cares enough about getting the job done well but wants it done as efficiently as possible so she can get the hell out of dodge and back to the part of her world she lives for. ‘Work Jessie’ also doesn’t care too much about making friends. She was created over time by what she perceived she needed to be.
‘Life Jessie’ takes things a little slower. She’s still strong-willed and efficient, but she’s softer, a little more empathetic, patient and kind. She’s creative. She loves reading, writing, music and art. She has a good sense of humour. She loves to play. She wants to be liked and respected. She is my “essential nature”.
It wasn’t until I stepped away from my work and started maternity leave that I started to settle into permanently operating as ‘Life Jessie’. It didn’t take long for me to realise that instead of being two separate entities, ‘work Jessie’ was just all the worst traits of my personality, manifesting themselves daily because the environment I was in was toxic, and that was how to survive.
“Conforming happens little by little, driven by our desire to fit in or by internalising other people’s incomplete and inaccurate assessment of our potential” — Cassandra Goodman, Author, Self-Fidelity.
I had been pursuing career paths that would deem me ‘successful’ and slowly crushing my essential nature at the same time. I was moulding myself into someone I barely recognised to find ’success’. I was telling myself that was how it had to be, that everyone was in my boat, no one truly loved what they did, we were all just doing what we had to, to get by.
In a perfect world, I could quit my 9 to 5 and pursue something that truly uplifts me. But, like most people, I have responsibilities and would have to think long and hard before I walked away from a steady income in pursuit of a pipe dream. So, the reality is that in one year, when my maternity leave is up, I’ll be returning to my job. That means I have one year to be so in tune with my self-fidelity that when I walk back through those doors, I’m walking in as ‘Life Jessie’ because she is all that exists. That doesn’t mean I won’t be susceptible to falling back into old habits, but I intend to be more aware and capable of reconnecting with my essential nature.
“The practice of being true to ourselves invites us to continuously remember who we really are and to keep connecting back to that truth. Over time, this process of reconnection becomes easier.” — Cassandra Goodman, Author, Self-Fidelity.
Please note I am not for a moment suggesting that anyone should give up on their pursuits and stick with something that doesn’t serve them long term. I’m merely suggesting that for those who don’t have the option right now, then Self-Fidelity may well be the key to finding fulfilment in any job because we can be true to ourselves. Self-Fidelity also includes a wonderful chapter on redefining work and success, which I would recommend anyone take the time to explore.
You see, our workplaces shape us, whether we like it or not. It’s impossible to spend such a huge portion of our lives at work and not have that impact on us. Over time we have been conditioned to be part of the herd. A cog in the machine. And that often results in us acting or behaving in ways that undermine our core values or beliefs.
To reconnect with our essential nature, we need to follow the principles of Waking Up, Letting Be, Letting Go and Letting In.
Through developing an awareness of our current perceptions by waking up and beginning to let be by recognising our worth, being vulnerable, embracing our creativity and learning to play, we can begin to let go of our long-held and often damaging beliefs. We are then in the unique position to let in our emotions, love, vitality and aspirations. We can seek connections to link with others. Then we can truly uplift and embrace our Self-Fidelity.
“Our goal is to commit to practices, habits, thoughts and actions that grow our faith in ourselves — our worthy, vulnerable, caring, creative, playful selves.” — Cassandra Goodman, Author, Self-Fidelity
Like me, if you feel disconnected from your essential nature at work (or in life), and are seeking something to help you feel uplifted, then add Self-Fidelity to your reading list.
For more information on Self-Fidelity, including where to purchase the book, click here.