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E2W Coaching Partner Kat Hutchings: Are you shrinking to fit in?

E2W Coaching Partner Kat Hutchings: Are you shrinking to fit in?

Katie.Dix / 10 May 2021


Kat is a Career Coach who works with successful, driven professionals to identify their perfect-fit next career move and build high performance teams through authentic leadership.

Kat has held various leadership roles in Financial Services and has latterly developed her coaching practice over the last 4 years, working with leaders to transform their careers and business results.

If you would like to arrange an introductory call with Kat to discuss how you can work together, and support your career ambitions, please register on the website or contact Katie.

Are you shrinking to fit in?

1) Flexibility and adaptability are highly valued skills, particularly in the current environment.
But it’s possible to be too flexible. Perhaps you’ve been complimented on your ability to get on with everyone. Or how you know when your team needs you to be a certain way - more energetic, or more calm or more engaged. Perhaps you’re so good at adapting to the needs of others that you overlook your own - it is possible to become so chameleon-like that you lose your sense of self.
I certainly felt this way when working in business development roles in my early years within banking - I’d unconsciously ask myself ‘which version of Kat will this particular client like the most?’ and that’s who I’d be. I still catch myself doing it and have to actively intervene in my own behaviour.
This could also be considered a gift, we just have to remember that it’s not a problem until it becomes a problem. It’s a tiring gift, so do make the time to reflect - it’s your call on whether you’re okay carrying on with this.

2) Are you being so ‘professional’ that you’re distorting or hiding parts of your personality?
Being professional is important to me and I’ve been guilty lots of times of dialling down my natural energy to ‘fit in’. And it’s worked well - I often did fit in - but When you see it working, you can get addicted to the behaviour. For example:

I have a LOUD laugh. There’s times I’ve made it quiet, more soft and more ‘polite’ so it doesn’t stand out

I smile a lot. I thought that might make me look too young/ junior

I’ve chosen not to reveal interests of mine during client social events in case other people think I’m weird (like being a Harry Potter fan).

Whilst a lot of this has loosened over the years, these are still traps I fall into because I want to be liked! But what if you were yourself, and people still respected you as a professional?

What if you share more of yourself and build even stronger relationships? What if you show a crack in your armour and an amazing opportunity pours in?

In light of this, my own actions for this week are:

Where are you watering yourself down?

Is that ok with you or do you want to be a fuller expression of yourself?

What’s one small thing you can experiment with at work this week?

I’d be interested to hear any of your experiences and your reflections, so do hit reply and share. Cheers to becoming more you!

P.S. I'm trying to be 'done' with shrinking to fit in, but it involves active effort. As my self awareness has grown I've seen more aspects of myself where I behave this way to work on.

It’s your choice how you want to move through life, but isn't it a shame to hold back on your full expression? This is a crucial element of my 1-1 coaching - let me know if you're looking to create a deeper connection to your work.

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