Before I decided to work for myself full time, I was an Art Director at a Fortune 100 company. We were an umbrella company for 25 smaller ones around the world. There were a lot of meetings, presentations, and pitches. It was a male dominated industry and company, with only 10% of our company being women. I have to say, it could be really intimidating sometimes. While being friendly and building relationships with co workers and clients, I was very concerned about being taken seriously and seen as a professional. As a result, I formed a mask that I wore to do my job. I prepared for those board rooms in the clothes that I chose, my posture, and my speech.
You may be wearing your own mask; a veil over your true self to present a version of you that feels safe, more professional, or what you think people want to see. As I type this, I am watching Vikings, drinking cranberry La Croix, and wearing pajamas. There is no mask, I have dropped the veil, and you should too.
Why? Because it feels so damn good to let it go! Also, one of the greatest things (besides working in your pj’s) about running your own business is having the power to create the job you want. You make your own company policies, including who you work with, what you value, and how you define professionalism. These are the things that make you stand out and form lasting client relationships. By being yourself, people will want to work with you. And really, life is too short to waste time trying to be somebody else!