It is nice when you feel yourself. In fact, they all say you have to be yourself (unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman). But "being yourself" and "being professional" seems to collide sometimes.
They have spent a lot of time telling you to be "professional", to "act professional", to "separate your personal and professional life", "to leave your emotions at home".
You are a whole person, you cannot be broken into pieces, you are not able to choose how to feel or when to feel. Unless you are some kind of humanoid robot or have a disorder. Be proud of this in fact.
"You are a punk", a friend, former peer, told me this week. "He already was", added another one. "He is just being himself". Do not take too seriously about the adjective. I do not know if I am a punk or I am not. I do not care. But pay attention to the point: I am being myself (because I cannot be Batman).
Twenty years of professional carrier (you should read twenty years of shared time and space with some folks working towards the same purpose, unless not every time has been this way) gives you some perspective about how hard is to split your life into pieces and compartments. I have tried. I did it. Maybe you too. You are putting effort on the wrong task.
Be careful, I am not telling you that you should act at work exactly like you act at home. Leave your pajamas there, get dressed and comb your hair. Be respectful, cooperative and transparent. Listen and participate on meaningful conversation. Deliver value and enjoy doing so. But live it altogether with emotions and, above all, with love. That is being professional.
You have right to have a bad day, on the other hand. Do not punish you or try to deny it.
Every morning I wake up thinking about how much I am going to enjoy my day at work. Reviewing my schedule, finding the spaces to breath between hard work and difficult meetings. But, at the end, the promise I make to myself and I have not broken, at least yet, is to be myself at work.
Cover photo by Paul Gilmore