What Did You Leave At Home Today?

As you showed up at work today, what did you leave at home? Every day, consciously or unconsciously, we make a decision about how we want to show up. For most of us, within that choice we simultaneously choose to hide a part of ourselves; to leave something at home, hidden from the view of others. But isn’t this what everyone does – should it matter?

Yes, it matters! The parts you’re leaving behind quite probably would have made your contribution spectacular.

As you’ve grown professionally, your skills and capabilities have increased, and you’ve become a top performer – maybe among the best. This is all good, right? But let’s consider what you potentially leave at home every day. Think about who you are beyond your work persona. What defines you beyond your skills or a list of competencies that anyone could Google under your professional title?

They’ve reached a point in their lives where priorities or motivators, have changed and they want something more out of life or to make a difference in the world. The topics they’re passionate about, the things they really care about, are not where the bulk of their time is spent or something they display in public. Perhaps you’ve tried to show these hidden parts of yourself but weren’t supported when you stepped forward or worse yet; you may have been ridiculed or rejected. As a result, you retreated, shut down, or tucked those pieces of yourself back into a drawer or locked them away on your way to work.

Here are some questions to determine if you’ve left too much of yourself at home:

  • Do you feel like you have a split personality between the “home” you and your “work” version?
  • Think about the things that give you energy and excite you; whatever fires you up and fuels your passion. Do you let this part of you show up in your workplace?
  • Consider that part of you that caringly deals with friends and family members who are facing insurmountable personal challenges. Is this a well-guarded secret that you keep hidden?
  • Or maybe you’re someone who listens intently to others when you’re away from the job; not jumping into problem solving, just listening to the other person and being there for them. Does this side of you ever make an appearance at work?
  • Perhaps it’s your fearless ability to make your point and lead friends or members of your social network to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons – regardless of the cost. Or do you keep everything closed up inside at work?

Our lives can be full of rich interactions but what happens when we split the private from the public? A body of research performed by Google found the following:

What Project Aristotle has taught people within Google is that no one wants to put on a ‘‘work face’’ when they get to the office. No one wants to leave part of their personality and inner life at home. 

We feel most expanded and whole when we’re not afraid to show whom we are; where there’s no rule book dictating how we should act or what’s right or wrong; where we feel free to be ourselves. When you’re clear about your personal “North Star,” you’re more likely to let it guide your actions and behavior.

If you consider those who have impacted your life the most; it probably wasn’t that person’s quarterly or annual metrics or the awards they have won. Their impact on your life was most likely a direct result of your respect, appreciation, and gratitude for them.

Imagine if you could bring that degree of freedom and power to your work life?

And what would happen if your colleagues did the same? The possibility for real cultural shifts and breakthrough performance would be mind-blowing. #Best Advice

What do you think is possible if you brought ALL of yourself to work each day?


Carly Vivian
Carly Vivian
CARLY is an expert in leadership development and organizational change management (OCM). Her mission is to reinvent how people think about change, replacing fear and inertia with clarity of direction and forward momentum. Carly loves to work with leaders and help guide them and their teams through major transitions with agility, connection, and commitment. As a leader in Slalom's Business Advisory Services practice, she leads strategic initiatives to bring new levels of transformation and change management to clients. With 20+ years of consulting experience and deep expertise in executive coaching, organization effectiveness, strategy, and team effectiveness, she has a proven track record for delivering solutions that drive growth, accelerate innovation and result in improved outcomes. Carly can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. Interesting topic.
    I basically believe that it also depends a lot on the character of people. Who is more reserved tends to keep private life out of work, without giving a major professional contribution.
    Certainly what negatively affects is “putting on a mask” at work, not giving space to authenticity, not exploiting the positive characteristics of one’s own character, in their own interests and in the community.
    It is perhaps appropriate to recall that the combination of knowledge, the right amount of resourcefulness and organizational skills, proper reputation with own professional community, a prestigious network of knowledge with which to exchange information and experiences, ensure the right amount and quality of customers if you are self-employed professionals and of appreciation if you are an employees. But in addition to these substantive factors, our society also rewards the image, formal factors such as physical appearance, elegance, savoir faire good manners.