compartmentalize-lessLately, I have been working on eliminating the compartmentalization in my life. It is something I think we all do, if only in small ways and most of the time, we aren’t even conscious of it. It starts out simple enough (and relatively healthy too). You might draw a line that seems to make a ton of sense, like: “this’ is personal and “this” is professional. Then you say, “OK, I will simply remain mindful of when and how the two mix”. That makes perfect sense right? Of course it does.

If you’re not careful though, the rules and parameters expand and become more complex. Then, somewhere along the line, things can start spinning out of control. You might start to change what you say and how you behave, depending on who you are around. You may catch yourself compromising things that are important to you. You won’t lie per se, but you remain silent when you know you should speak up. Or, you might add a little spin to your opinion to appear more moderate–I mean, it makes sense to meet people half way, right?

Lots of things feed and justify it: wanting acceptance, avoiding conflict–sometimes there are cultural/societal pressures. Other times you convince yourself that your livelihood could be at stake: “Maybe they will fire me or not hire me because I am this or believe that”. Social media and the sheer public nature of everything we do nowadays compounds these fears exponentially. No matter what drives it, as you continue to build more walls and divide yourself further and further, the process takes its toll, it is exhausting. Worst of all, you start to dilute YOU in a way that can prevent real and meaningful connections.

As you share and connect with people online and in person-this approach isn’t fair to anyone. People don’t want you to shape yourself around what they want, they want you to show your true self and then decide if you are someone they really want to connect with. In your effort to attract more people you lose the authenticity we all crave. You will have more “friends”, “followers” and “Likes”, but the numbers will be mostly irrelevant when it comes to getting truly engaged with people.

If you truly want to connect with people–especially through all the noise blasting us all day-every day. Break down those walls. Be true to the people in your life and to yourself. A truth whispered is louder than any spin or half-truth, even if it is screamed through a megaphone and broadcast all around the world. By unifying the compartments of your life, you won’t connect with all the people–in fact, you might even lose some. You will , however, connect with the ones that count in ways you never imagined and likely find the ones you “lost” didn’t have a place in your life in the first place. This holds true with friendships and with business. It is the same if you are talking about yourself or your brand.

Now if you excuse me, I have a date with some walls and a 10lb sledgehammer…

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