4 Ways to Be Your Authentic Self in the New Year

things I wish I'd known

When was the last time you thoughtfully articulated what success looks like for you? Certainly not the version of success you see on social media. Not the version that your parents instilled in you. And not the versions that your friends adhere to. 

We tend to get so caught up in the noise of the outside and online worlds that we forget to pause and clarify our own metrics of success. But your values, and yours alone, define what it means to achieve success in your own life. If you’ve been chasing external, inherited values, chances are that you feel lost, unfulfilled, and in need of a jumpstart for your career. 

I spent years missing the truth of who I am and what I care about. I clawed my way through four years of undergrad, chasing perfect grades all the way to the dean’s list. After college, I accepted an offer to start my career in a high-paying corporate position. On paper, everything checked out. I had twisted myself into a perfect pretzel, succeeded according to everyone else’s standards, and was living some version of “the dream.” But I felt like a fraud. I’d finally arrived at the final destination, where I was supposed to find “happiness,” but I felt… nothing. I got there by chasing others’ values when what I really needed was to experience inspiration and fulfillment in a calling that was uniquely my own.

re-create yourself

So how do we move forward when we’ve fallen into a rut? Well, when it comes to your career, your values impact every aspect of your journey. They determine what kind of roles you go after, the hours you put in, how you prioritize your day-to-day schedule, and what you do or don’t do to get the results you’re after. The only way to ensure that you’re moving towards your authentic version of success is to get to the crux of what you value. Your metrics of success. Your evaluation criteria. 

To start the exploration process and get a sense of what your core values are, ask yourself:

  1. What brings me the most joy? 
  2. What gives my life meaning? 
  3. What makes me come alive? 
  4. What am I truly focused on? 

Create a list of values based on your findings. There’s no right or wrong answer, and you can always edit your list later on. This is just a starting point. 

Clarifying your values will create momentum where there was once stagnation in your career. For me, clarifying my values created a powerful cycle. It looks like this: 

 My values allow for more confident and aligned decision-making…

  1. …which leads to increased satisfaction with my life…
  2. …which leads to greater confidence, self-worth, and fulfillment…
  3. …which reinforces and strengthens my values……

When I got to the core of what I believed and what was driving me, I realized that identifying my values could help me create real meaning in my career. When I began to peel the layers back, I discovered:

  1. I valued authenticity.  
  2. I valued connectedness.  
  3. I valued vulnerability. 

The more I focused on these three elements, the more connected I felt to the real me. I realized that my corporate career wasn’t aligned with what I truly wanted, and I decided to move past a life that wasn’t serving me. Of course, there was a ton of anxiety and fear along the way. But I made the leap, and I haven’t looked back. 

follow your own truth

I used my values to align my career goals with what I truly wanted. I searched for opportunities that allowed me to be myself, wholly and unapologetically, at all times. This helped me form meaningful relationships, where I found inspiration and learned about opportunities I may never have considered on my own. And by strengthening these relationships, I was able to practice showing up and being seen as myself and creating space for others to do the same.

When you become consciously aware of your values, you can use them to make more informed decisions about your career instead of just winging it and hoping for the best. Yes, the journey is always going to be complicated, but if you can align yourself to your values, you’ll be far less likely to veer off track. It’s an ongoing process. You need to define your values, then refine them again and again until they become the yardstick by which you measure your goals, decisions, and actions.

If you feel like your own dreams and desires are buried way down, like mine were, then now is the time to tap into your core self and revive them. It’s time to stop chasing someone else’s version of success and start paving your own messy, authentic, and beautiful road.

This guest post was authored by Sonia Jhas

Sonia Jhas gave up her skyrocketing corporate career and began searching for a new path that resonated with her core. Eventually, she transformed her life through deep analysis, education, determination, and willpower. Through her journey, Sonia uncovered a deep passion for wellness, as well as a driving desire to help others. Sonia has made it her mission to help people live their best lives through online talks, speaking engagements, television appearances, and coaching. She has appeared on TEDx and has accumulated an impressive 80+ million media impressions. She is the author of the forthcoming book, I’ll Start Again Tomorrow (And Other Lies I’ve Told Myself).


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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.