My little secret: How to be yourself at work, without scaring off your clients.

Have you ever been in a business or professional situation where you feel like you just can’t be yourself?

You know, like you’re wearing clothes that aren’t really “you” and you’re trying to think of the “right” words to say… but secretly you’re wishing you could just let your hair down, kick off your shoes, and relax at home on the couch…

If only that person you were trying to impress would still recognise your value, skill and professionalism when you’re in your tracksuit!

I was re-reading the book Creating Heart-Centered Websites today (which is awesome, by the way… ) and the author, Mark Silver, was talking about the importance of showing some colour in that part of your website where you write about yourself.

Here’s the excerpt (p37):

Of course, it’s not all about personality. But that’s the part that gets left out most often when someone in your position thinks they have to leave their heart behind to be successful in the so-called ‘business world’.

And the so-called ‘business world’ is poorer for it. Here’s a question for you to take action on: What part of yourself are you hiding from your business, because you think it will scare people off? And, how can you begin to introduce it into your presence in the marketplace?

Good question, huh?

When I read it, my first thought was – “Wow, I’d love to share this in the Find the Spark! Newsletter and Blog, because it might help you in your business – and plus, I’m really curious about what your response would be…

But then I thought about it – Why am I so curious?And the answer probably proves the point: I’m curious because it’s such a personal question. It’s also the kind of question that not every one feels ready to answer.

Exposing your true self is always a risk… It could pay off bountifully… but, then, the fear (and the reason this part of you is still is a secret) is – it could backfire badly.

Well, because I find that Mark is generally right about things (sometimes to my chagrin), I’m going to take the risk, and start some true confessions here… In the hope it might create some safety so I get to hear back from you.

What part of yourself are you hiding from your business, because you think it will scare people off? And, how can you begin to introduce it into your presence in the marketplace?

Actually, my big secret… which I thought might be too personal to tell you, is… I’m pregnant (!)

When I started Soul Business last year, I really felt that I had found a business (or perhaps it found me) that I could commit to for a long time. I imagined every effort I made in the business steadily gathering momentum to the point where (as one dear friend suggested), I’m sitting on Oprah, holding the first Soul Business book in my hand and sharing this work with millions of people…

An unexpected pregnancy hasn’t exactly dashed those dreams (how could I give up on Oprah? :)) But it has changed the nature of my steady trajectory of business progress. That trajectory has to be more flexible now, a little more round-about, to include the “eat-sleep-rest”-focussed early phase of pregnancy, the month or so devoted to birthing later this year, and the many months of emotional and bodily attention for the helpless and gorgeous little person who’ll be joining our family after that.

I worried that if I told you, you’d think I wasn’t dependable or committed to the business. Now that I’ve said it, I have a feeling that’s not the case… but only you can tell me that.

And for my own part, I’m thinking this pregnancy could be exactly what I need, to remind me of what Soul Business is really about:

  • Surrendering to the deeper call of the Soul
  • Being true to the needs of the moment, and
  • Trusting the divine intelligence to show us the highest and best way forward in any business situation… even if (especially if) it’s unexpected!

So, perhaps there’s a lesson in this for all of us.

Anyway, now I’ve told you mine…Will you tell me yours?

First, of course, I’m desparate to know: Did I scare you off? Or did telling you my secret make you more interested in me – not less?

And then I’m longing to know: Is there a part of your life that you’ve been holding back from your business? And could that hidden factor in fact be the key to liberating your business and attracting more clients?

What do you think? You can comment under this article, or send me an email….



5 Responses

  1. Marian says:


    I have been able to be more myself since taking over a business ( now my business) in July, a New Age shop in Ballarat Victoria. Being myself has scared a few folk as this town can be very conservative so it is about finding a balance. Being more myself has attracted customers as well … I can wear the clothes and COLORS I like after working in office jobs all my life. I am happier and enjoy smiling instead of grimacing! I like to chat to the customers and hope my business will build as a result of my attitude, as I genuinely feel happy it is not a false happy put on for customers benefit.
    My challenges are how much of myself do I show ? Have a great day from Marian

  2. yollana says:

    Hi Marian, thanks so much for your response. I’m delighted to hear about your new position in your business, and the Freedom that has given you. You’re right… “How much of myself do I show?”… That is the question!

    I guess one way to approach it could be… to make a list of those things that you “might want to, but are hesitant to” share with your customers… Just putting something out of the head and onto paper can sometimes help get perspective on it.

    Another really enlightening exercise is to take any one of those things and ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen if I shared this?… Again, you can write your answer down on the left hand column of a piece of paper… And ask “If that happened, what’s the worst that could happen then?”, and so on, until you have really emptied out the absolute worst possible scenario. Sometimes this brings up real fears… Other times it brings up ridiculous ones. It’s good to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

    Then, in the right hand column of the same page, ask yourself: “What’s the best that could happen if I shared this? … And record your answer. Then ask, “And if that happened, what’s the best that could happen then?”. It’s good to keep asking until your list of “bests” is longer than your list of “worsts”.

    When you’re done, you should have more insight into what it’s really about for you, and what the real nature of the risks are… As well as the potential benefits.

    From there, the only thing left to do is to take some quiet time to listen to your own soul and let it show you the way forward.

    Let me know if you give this exercise a go… I’d love to hear how it works for you!

    Many blessings for your business. May it flourish! (And if I’m ever in Ballarat, I’ll be sure to come visit 🙂 )

  3. Natalie says:

    Thanks Yollana, your advice is very useful for me as I prepare myself to return to the workforce after travelling travelling around Oz in a campervan for a year. I’ll be back to an office job in the corporate world soon…a little confronting since I’ve been living in shorts and crocs on the beach for so long! I don’t believe in the need for corporate suits and high heels anymore (provided you look presentable and professional) so it will be interesting to see how my transition goes. I plan on wearing bright clothes and flat shoes and we’ll see how that shakes things up in the typical black and grey workplace! If only people knew the impact of the colours they put on every morning 😉

    One thing I am still a little concerned about is how to manage going from the wide open spaces of nature back to four grey walls and a blue screen. I really will miss the natural beauty.

    Do you have any other advice for managing this transition?

  4. yollana says:

    HI Natalie… how to manage going from the wide open spaces of nature back to four grey walls and a blue screen… This is such an important question, for your own health and wellbeing.

    There are little things you can do to bring nature into your life at work – assuming you have your own desk, a small live potplant on your desk, or a larger one on the floor by your desk, a photo or poster of a natural place on your wall and your screen saver, and eating your lunch in a nearby greenspace, rather than in the staff kitchen, at your desk, or at a cafe…. All of this is a good start. Other natural elements that can adorn your desk, shelves or wall include smooth beach stones, gemstones, driftwood, or some other carved wooden object, and a candle in a protected space (fors fire safet y- like in an aromatherapy oil burner… you could even put something fresh smelling like pine essence or lemon gum in the oil burner – check with a local aromatherapist or the perfect potion about it)… just simple things that your eyes can rest on to remind you that you are actually still on the earth, even while you are in this building.

    Another thing you can do is conenct with the earth through a simple meditation – close your eyes and imagine – even if you are a few stories up – that there is an energetic cord running out through the bottom of your feet, like roots, tapping down deep into the earth. And imagine branches reaching out through the roof to soak up the sun. The earth beneath us, the sun or stars above… It’s always there, even if we can’t see it. So you can always close your eyes and feel it. This practice is probably healing for the earth as it is for you.

    Finally, your breath is the ultimate place of connection with the entire atmosphere of the planet. Just to close your eyes and remember that the oxygen you are breathing initially came to you via a tree somewhere! And the carbon dioxide you are breathing out will eventually find a plant to breathe it in and transform it again. The relationship continues, no matter where we are. Being “stuck in an office” can help us to appreciate that relationship so much more deeply 🙂

    Thanks for asking… Let me know if any of this helps, and how it goes!