Why being ‘too nice’ at work can hold you back

Nice is a word many of us want to be associated with yet being nice often stops us connecting into our true self and authenticity

Why being 'too nice' at work can hold you back

Nice is a word many of us want to be associated with. And in business ‘nice’ can be what we want to be known as – the nice boss, a nice colleague, the person everyone agrees is just so nice. Yet being nice often stops us connecting into our true self and authenticity. This impacts how we show up. It stops us connecting fully into our creativity, into our uniqueness into the many facets of who we are which in turn gives us the unique edge.

To behave nicely is engrained in us from an early age and this continues into adult life. Nice means to please and to be agreeable but this isn’t about being unkind or unpleasant. It’s about acting from a genuine place of love and being empowered to say no if it doesn’t work for us. All too often though, it is what we think is expected of us – unconsciously – so it influences how we show up. It influences how we behave and what we take on at our own detriment, not giving the genuine helpful feedback to co-workers or the unreasonable deadlines you agree to. Then, we feel disempowered, spread too thinly and irritated at the extra load on our shoulders that has added to what we already need to do. 

Cost of nice

Nice stops us being authentic. It stops us listening and honouring what we feel inside because we fear we won’t be liked and accepted if we said and did what was truly in our hearts. 

We turn away from what we feel inside, and bit-by-bit we lose touch with the wisdom we hold within. The connection to our authentic selves.

And with this losing touch, we lose the connection to our strength, to our courage, to our sense of worthiness. We feel disempowered by not speaking our truth. 

Tune into your inner world

What thoughts and feelings do you have on repeat? Are they supporting you in being your most empowered self in the workplace? Often, we have beliefs that keep us stuck in behaviours.

Start every day taking some time to connect into silence, get to know what thoughts are on repeat in your head and ask your heart what you truly feel. When you listen to what is happening inside of you and not turn away from it, then you start becoming aware of a gentle nudging voice within that is always there to help guide you to being your authentic self.

Practice saying no – an empowered no

We are never taught how to state an empowered no. No, means saying yes to something else, be it more time, be it more space to concentrate on the work project you haven’t had a chance to complete yet. 

Practicing saying no or using a holding phrase such as ‘I need to check my commitments, can I get back to you?’ means we can override the part of ourselves that is used to saying yes, without thinking through the impact on us and our reserves. To help with this, practice speaking these words when standing in the pose that connects you into your strength.

Be heart-led in how you show up in the workplace

Yes! be heart-led. Nice keeps us small, there is another way. When we speak and act from our hearts with love we are empowered and strong. To do this, set the intention every day to speak from a place of love, even with the annoying co-worker or bullying boss. By acting from this place you show up differently, you may still do the nice gesture, but it is from a different place within you- from a place of genuine love- how do you get there? Make sure you are looking after your needs, so you give from a place of genuine love. Not because you have to, but because you want to – truly want to. This will be felt by those around you. 

The next time that you’re asked to do something, take a moment, do you feel that tug of incongruency inside, where you know that it’s not what you want to do? Stop and ask yourself what your heart wants to do. Use a holding phrase to give you time to respond and work out what feels true to you. When you are true to your inner self it shines through, people feel it, there lies the strength and gravitas to make an authentic difference in work. 

About the Expert 

Jennifer Soran Boon is an inner wisdom coach, speaker and author of Be the Change: A Healing And Empowering Handbook For Women on sale now. For more information about Jennifer see www.jennifersoranboon.com.

Jennifer Soran Boon
Jennifer Soran Boon

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