How to Be Awkward and Confident at Work

We are told by almost everyone these days that we should be our authentic selves. But there is still tremendous pressure at work (and in society) to conform and be like everyone else.

On The Small Business Radio Show this week, Henna Pryor, Professional Executive Coach and Workplace Performance Expert, shares how to be the bravest you when she discusses her new book, “Good Awkward”.

being awkward and confident at work

Henna says that feeling awkward is a nudge from our brain saying “careful, there’s risk ahead and people are watching you” and tells us to play not to lose. It leaves us stuck in an approval mindset (when you decide to change to meet someone else’s expectations). Henna believes that our brains developed this around the age of 8, when we learn to adapt to social norms and peer acceptance is very important.

This  explains why Henna never corrected her boss for calling her “Helen” (instead of Henna) and why she was more afraid to correct him about her name than tell the team their audit report would be delayed by two weeks. At this cringe-worthy moment, she was at risk of approval or risk of identity.

Henna discussed that there is so much people-pleasing and why we chase external validation, especially at work, which leads us to feeling awkward. That nudge tells to not speak up for what we really want like raises, more responsibility and name corrections.

Henna also shared:

  1. Understanding awkwardness’s purpose and how to use it to frame it in a good light to help you personally and professionally
  2. What we tell ourselves matters.
  3. How to view the self-identity gap.
  4. How to benefit from awkwardness – even if it feels cringey.
  5. Letting go of approval.
  6. Learn to wield your awkwardness as a weapon, incorporating new tools and activities to strengthen mental muscle
  7. Create your own personalized plan to be braver in the moments when it counts

Listen to my awkward interview with Henna on The Small Business Radio Show.

Image: Henna Pryor

Small Business Radio Show As a small business expert, Barry Moltz gets owners growing again by unlocking their long forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures as well as consulting countless other entrepreneurs, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners unstuck and marching forward. As a small business expert, Barry applies simple, strategic steps to facilitate change.