“Knowing your true self will help you work more effectively to reach your goals. It will lead you down the road to success. It will bring you a calmness that will improve your attitude and your relationships with others. – Author Unknown

What a great quote, huh? I agree 100%. When you show up to work (and life!) every day, strive to be your best, truest self.

One way to show up authentically is to be aware of the language you’re using. Are you using words that are helping others? Or are you saying things that can be construed as hurtful? Nothing is ever accomplished by using hurtful and mean words with someone else. Plus, this is bullying behavior and can open you up to disciplinary action. Why risk it?

When you are at work, try to avoid:

  • Cursing openly and often. Nobody needs to hear that language. If you can’t communicate without having to curse, then you need to consider removing yourself from the conversation until you’re in a better emotional place where you can use calm, “G-rated” language to get your message across.
  • Gossip. What an ugly word, huh? Talking about your co-workers when they aren’t there to defend or explain themselves is gossiping, and it brings everyone down. It’s often done out of anger, frustration, or a dislike for someone. But there is absolutely no benefit to – or reason for – discussing someone behind their back. If you have an issue with someone, then you have two choices: discuss it with the person, or get your nose out of their business.  That’s it.

If you’d like to improve your professional work attitude, here is a list of several things you should do in order to be seen as a mature professional worthy of respect (and keep in mind you can apply these to both your professional and personal life):

  • Be in the present. Eliminate the distractions around you and take a few moments to notice and enjoy everything around you. Put down your cell phone. Look people in the eyes. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them with your full attention. Make them understand they are getting 100% of your focus. This does so much to break down barriers and help improve attitudes.
  • Be on time. Yes, things can get in the way of expected schedules. But if a situation occurs that prevents you from being on time, then have the decency and professionalism to let others know about the circumstances of your tardiness. The same goes with calling in sick. Don’t wait until the very last minute to call in sick. If you know the night before you aren’t feeling well, and probably won’t be able to go to work the following day, call, text, or email whoever needs to know. This is basic, common sense. Nobody should be left wondering about your absence. Unless it’s a dire emergency that needs your immediate attention, make the effort to reach out.
  • Dress for confidence. Do you have a personal preference for “flare”? Great, there is nothing wrong with that. Just keep it out of the workplace if your organization’s culture doesn’t provide you with the appropriate opportunity to express yourself.

Here’s a true story:
A client of mine works for the military and is constantly interacting with higher-ups who have very strict dress codes and expectations of their subordinates. One day out of the blue, my client walked into a meeting with bright purple hair and took her seat at the table. Imagine how distracted everyone was at this sight!

That’s why it is important to dress appropriately for your position and environment. You don’t want to be an unnecessary distraction in the workplace. Keep your work and private life separate. Be unique, but do it on your own time.

The Four Agreements is a book by Author Don Miguel Ruiz, and his advice is very useful when considering your professional work attitude:

Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements

By following these four agreements, you will always be seen as professional and well-respected by your peers. These agreements aren’t that difficult to follow. They just require being present and aware of how you are presenting yourself to others.

Everything you need to succeed is within you. You just need to bring it to the surface.