Do You Bring Your Soul to Work?

LennonThis may sound strange: from time to time, even accomplished professionals need “permission”.

I spend my day speaking to leaders of all stripes. Huge organizations and small; C-suite, middle management and early careerists; for profit and nonprofit… this is what I do. And one thing comes up again and again:

“I’m one person at home, another at work.”

So I ask you now: does this describe your situation?

  • At home, I’m generous and giving
  • At home, I trust the good intentions of those around me
  • At home, when I’m with my friends, we let loose and simply enjoy each other’s company, typically with no agenda at all
  • In my off-time, when I volunteer, I get lost in the work; when I’m done, I feel good for hours
  • At home, I’m joyful
  • At home, I’m the real me
  • I wish I could be the real me all the time


  • At work, I’m analytical and objective; if it can’t be measured, it doesn’t count
  • At work, my attitude is: “if you can’t prove it with hard data, don’t bring it up!”
  • At work, I’m guarded (watch your back)
  • At work, I make the tough decisions – just part of the gig
  • At work, I only give to my peers in strategic ways, if it’ll benefit me, too
  • At work, a lot of my time is spent on pointless tasks (that’s why they call it work, isn’t it?)
  • At work, I work my tail off (that’s why they pay me, right?)
  • At work, I’m a stripped down version of the real me

Does this ring a bell? Does any of it strike a little too close to home?

The fact is: at some point we’ve all felt it – and many of us have felt nothing but these feelings our entire careers.

With 70% of workers disengaged and disaffected, we are all screaming out for positive, uplifting change. We know there must be a better way, and we’re constantly on the lookout for companies that are living it – then we’re polishing off our resumes so we can make the leap.

Many of us don’t yet realize: there’s a better way, and that some are already living this way.

The permission I referred to in the opening paragraph? Many of us crave permission to be our whole selves at work, our real selves. We crave permission to be generous, trusting, giving, and joyful at work as we are at home.

Of course, there are those who won’t give permission – to themselves or anyone else. Forget about them. No one can help those who refuse to be helped; who would rather be “right” than happy; who would rather do it “the way it has always been done”.

On the other hand, some are already on board with this message of “whole-self-all-the-time” at work. They are all in, they’ve given themselves permission. And it shows, every day. Maybe that is you… but you are having trouble convincing others this is the way to go; the way to live?

Those in the middle of this debate…  those I like to call “willing skeptics”… they are the ones that need to hear from you. No, they aren’t sold on the message yet, but they’re open to being convinced – if you can back your claims up with success stories. Gather those examples of those living their life at work, too! And then…

Be what every compelling author, speaker, teacher and leader is: a storyteller.

Statistics won’t get you where you need to go; you won’t change the world – or your culture – with percentage signs. You need stories. Human success stories. That’s what the willing skeptics are looking for. Put your willing skeptics in the position where they start thinking, “If the people in these stories can do be their giving, caring, collaborating selves at work, we can do it, too.” Then show them how. Be an ambassador for change… one person at a time.

How about you?

Would you like to be the complete you, the trusting, generous, moral, joyful you all day every day, and not just at home?

Here is your permission…

Bring your soul to work. Go ahead. And do so knowing that being the whole you is essential to your happiness, at work and at home.


The title of this post is “borrowed” (*ehem*) from our friend Scott Mabry’s blog elumn8, whose tagline is “Bring your soul to work.” It’s a great blog, from a terrific leader… highly recommended for workers and leaders of all experience levels.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Switch and Shift!



Ted CoineAbout the Author: Ted Coiné is co-founder of, where he is host of Switch and Shift TV, weekly interviews with extraordinary thinkers focusing on The Human Side of Business. One of the most influential business experts on the Web, Ted has been top-ranked by Forbes, SAP Business Innovation, and Huffington Post for his leadership, customer experience, and social media influence. An inspirational speaker and author, his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, co-authored with YouTern’s own Mark Babbitt, will hit bookstores in August 2014. Ted consults with owners, CEOs and boards of directors on making their companies more competitive by making them more human-focused. He and his family live in Naples, Florida, where Ted is active in the local tech startup community.



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