The Upside

Here’s What You Need to Unlearn from Your Corporate Days

When I worked in the corporate world, I was taught to conform to what they considered to be the epitome of a professional.  

But all of that changed when I started my own business. I slowly realized that conforming…

Didn’t help me stand out.

Didn’t shine a light on my personality.

Didn’t build real relationships.

Didn’t attract clients.

Didn’t lead to anything big.

Didn’t help me make an impact.

So instead, I slowly started leaning into being myself

I started sharing personal anecdotes on LinkedIn.

I threw away corporate lingo like “per my previous email” and replaced it with a more human voice—my voice.

I began to share more about my family and hobbies, like painting, which helped take down walls and spark fascinating conversations beyond just business.

I started writing my weekly newsletters in a style that felt more conversational, even if the grammar wasn’t always Harvard Business School-approved.

I started to show up as my full self, unafraid of saying the wrong thing or making mistakes. In fact, I leaned into making mistakes. After all, mistakes are human and relatable.

I recently had a conversation with a consultant who scoffed at the idea of being anything but the ultimate professional and never straying from the box that corporate taught her to stay in. She justified this by explaining that in her industry, this is what her client base expects and so this is what she must do.

I promise you this: 

Whatever your industry, you not only deserve to show up as yourself, but it’s actually good for business to do so. 

You’ve earned it. 

Remember: clients are hiring you because they want to work with you. If they don’t connect with you as a person, no matter how great your work is, it’s less likely they will move forward in working with you.

Plus, I assure you that by being more human and by showing clients who you are as a full person, they will be drawn to that authenticity and will appreciate you even more.

No one is YOU, and that is your superpower!

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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