Coming Back to Your True Self
Updated: May 12
In this week’s episode of the Impostor Syndrome Files, we look at how important it is to feel special and unique in our workplaces. We also talk about how challenging that can be when we feel pressured to conform and fit in. My guest, Taylor Short, shares how she helps professionals return to their true selves by understanding what makes them unique and how to best engage with others in their workplaces. She also advises that, while there may be times when it’s best to leave your job, our power comes from looking at what we can control and re-defining our relationships with our work.
About My Guest:
Taylor Short is a Job Reset Coach & Consultant, as well as author of Reset Your Relationship to Your Job.
She’s fired up about disrupting the narrative that work is meant to be stressful and knows what’s possible for employees and companies when they shift their relationship to their job.
Taylor helps people move from feeling stuck and overwhelmed to energized and fulfilled, without leaving their job. Having spent 15+ years climbing the corporate ladder herself, Taylor discovered a missing piece in Corporate America. The entire focus was on external success, but most employees were experiencing a significant internal struggle. Through her own work, she learned what it takes to balance these two and eventually left to start her own business – Harmonious Return – to help people reset the way they relate to their jobs. She knows when people are fulfilled internally, they tap into a goldmine of energy, passion and worth that positively impacts everything they do.
Her credentials include: MBA, ICF Certified Coach, Nature Connected Coach, Yoga Instructor, Human Design Reader
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Kim Meninger It is so great to meet you, Taylor. I’m so excited for our conversation. Before we jump in, I’d love to invite you to introduce yourself.
Taylor Short Yes, thank you so much for having me. And it’s always so refreshing to hear about others doing amazing work in our careers and our workspace, but so thank you for having me. And so my name is Taylor Short, and I am what I call myself as a job reset coach. And I kind of have three pillars that I work with. So I partner with nature, I use mindfulness-based techniques, and then also integrate human design into the work that I do. But essentially, what I help people do is find their way back to harmony in their jobs in their life. And so I’m sure we’ll get into more of my background, but that’s like the, the highest level and then we can go as deep as you want, into all the good stuff. So yeah, that’s who I am.
Kim Meninger That’s perfect. And I’m curious what you think the big pain points are right now when people come to you. You’ve mentioned coming back to harmony. What are they struggling with? What brings them to you?
Taylor Short Yes, I love diving into this right away. So it changes. But I think what I’ve been seeing, and then based on just my own intuition, I guess that’s telling me, you know, we saw what we call the Great Resignation, and then we were calling it the Great Reshuffling. And there’s terms that I’m hearing now, “quiet quitting,” and all of these things. And really, I think it’s, first of all, I would say, when you’re seeing this happen so globally, especially like massively in the United States, you know, I think at one point I saw upwards of 90% of people were looking for another job, which you know, how those numbers come about. But it’s, that, to me is an indicator that it’s not just one industry, like, it’s not just our healthcare system, right? But it’s kind of indicative to me of a broken workforce system overall. And that’s not to say that it’s bad, I just think we’ve gotten to a tipping point, especially through the pandemic, of people really having a chance, whether they wanted to or not, to pause in their life and then do a little bit of soul searching. And what I think we’re really seeing is this result of people coming back to who they truly are within. And what I talk about a lot in the workplace is we’re kind of used to showing up as a different person, as maybe we have like our home selves and then our work selves. And I think people are tired of that kind of pull. And so my real belief is that a lot of what we’re seeing is people truly wanting to be who they are at their core. And so they’re kind of rejecting these workplaces that don’t see them as their true selves, if that makes sense. So there’s so many different things. But I think for me, one of the main things that I really focus on is helping people feel individually unique because you’re all so beautiful, and perfect and complex as an individual within an organization. But, how do we do that in the workplace is kind of what we work on.
Kim Meninger So I have so many questions. I feel like we could go down so many roads, I want to pick up on what you just said about feeling individually unique, because one of the things that I think a lot about, especially in the context of imposter syndrome, is this tension that we have between wanting to be like everyone else, and conform, not stand out too much, but also to feel special, right? We don’t want to get lost in the shuffle. But we also don’t want to be too different from the people around us. Because then we start to doubt ourselves. So when you think about helping people to recognize what makes them unique, what does that look like?
Taylor Short Yeah, I love that. I… this has been like, you know, we get on our little kicks of like things that was lighting us up. This has been my recent one. I’ve been just loving this. Like we want to fit in but we also are so special and cool and perfect as we are individually. And I feel like that’s a mix of our very ancestral brains that we have, like we literally need to survive, which I’m sure you’re so poised around this idea of like we have to fit in, especially around impostor syndrome, holy cow, like we don’t really want to stand out. But then it’s like, we are having this shift of like, how do we stand out and how do we feel special? And I talk about that too, because it is such a balance and some people don’t want to actually be seen in the traditional sense that we say are acknowledged publicly, right? But I think at our core, it’s really a human need to be acknowledged and seen for all of the gifts that we have and all of the pains as well, that we come with. And so the way that I’ve been bringing this into my work is really through the pillar of human design. Which I don’t know whether or not you’ve heard of it or not.
Kim Meninger Can you say more? Because I don’t know a lot about it. And there are probably other people who are listening who don’t either.
Taylor Short Yeah, yeah. So if you want, I have so much on this, because it’s a massively complex system that’s comprised of five to seven other complex systems. But essentially, what it is, is, if you’ve all heard of like, the different types of personality tests that we usually see, your aptitude tests at work, we’ve got like the DISC profile, we’ve got the Enneagram, Strengths Finder, all of these different types of things. Those are all great, but they typically put us into a category of like, okay, you’re one of four types, or you’re one of seven types. Human Design is a system that is based on your individual design. So not one chart, there’s a chart that we all have, will be like anyone else’s. And like I said, it’s… It’s made up of multiple different systems. But what it does is it shows us how we are energetically aligned to be and interact with others in this world, so that we can find the path of least resistance and most ease. So without like bombarding this whole interview with what human design is, the reason why I love it so much is because it shows like, even if you were a twin, it would show how different you are than your twin. And this is so massively beneficial in the workplace because we’re craving that, like you were explaining, that individuality kind of helps us to see like, Oh, yes, this is me, and then also to help us figure out how to interact with others in that kind of community of our workspace. So I hope that helps.
Kim Meninger Yes. And that’s so fascinating, too, because I think that there, those points are really important in the sense that you want to understand who you are. And that’s really powerful. But it’s also really important to understand who’s around you, and how that influences you. Because so often, when I’m talking to people who are struggling in the workplace, they blame themselves, and they think there must be something wrong with me, why am I not more like my colleagues? Why does everyone else seem to have it all together? And a lot of times, it’s not about you being wrong, or even about them being wrong. It’s a lack of fit. And I think that we don’t necessarily, we might intellectually recognize that. But that’s not something that we necessarily attribute the challenge to, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation at work. And so it becomes this thing that undermines our confidence and makes us feel like we’re not good enough.
Taylor Short Oh, my gosh, well said. Truly, I mean, so felt, I think, for probably all of your listeners that are listening to this right now of really like, is it me? Is it them? Maybe it’s a mix of both, I think, but the thing that we can fall into thinking as humans, we need to be perfect. And just as I partner with nature as well, when you look at nature, like nothing in nature is perfect, but it works out perfectly well, you know, so we’re perfectly imperfect. And I think that, yeah, we can fall into this. And that has been, I got into human design myself just for my own personal growth, and then started learning more about it and seeing how massively beneficial it could be for people in the workplace. But that was a side effect that I was not anticipating was how much compassion and how much heart I had for seeing individuals. Even in my closest, like my husband, my son, all of these things. I’m like, Whoa, they’re actually not doing this to drive me crazy. Or I’m not doing this to drive them crazy. Like, this is actually how I’m designing. And I just saw a meme not too long ago that I’m like, I’ve got to repurpose this somehow. But it said something like, when you know, you can’t be mad at anybody because, you know, understand so much about the different types of people.
Kim Meninger It’s so true. I had so often used that and when I’m arguing with my husband, who just has a very different way of thinking and operating than I do, and so I’ll be like, he’s not doing it to me, right? That’s just that part of his personality and it’s so empowering when you get that when you know yourself and you know that what people around you are doing is not intentionally targeted at you, right? You just feel like you have more choices, you have more empathy, the situation just becomes more tolerable inherently.
Taylor Short You Yeah, it does really more tolerable to and I think the point that you are making earlier on, it can be so empowering to also understand that we’re not all meant to be salespeople. We’re not all meant to be the detailed person, you know, and we’re, you hit on this earlier, we see that so much in the workplace, like, okay, Susie does this amazingly, I want everybody to do it just like her. Or we can just think that internally, right? She’s getting these results. Now I have to fit into her mold, which isn’t correct for any of us, you know. So I think I wanted to mention, that was a super awesome point as well, that you had said there.
Kim Meninger One thing I’m wondering, and I don’t know if this is beyond the scope of your work, but I wonder how you think about how this fits into workplaces when so much of workplaces are driven by efficiency and results and outcomes. And there isn’t, I believe a sufficient level of attention to humanity, I think that is slowly changing as a result of everything that’s happened over the last few years with the pandemic. And my hope is that pressures, like the great resignation and even quiet quitting are going to push companies into really thinking about what do we need to do, at a human level to engage our most valuable resource, right? But when we think about all of this insight is so empowering to us as individuals and even as a collective. But what happens when workplaces don’t value that when they still have those very antiquated views of leadership and how to get things done? You mentioned upwards of 90% of people looking for a new job, if they just go from one dysfunctional place to another, it doesn’t solve the problem. So, how do you think about the system that everyone’s operating within?
Taylor Short Yeah, I mean, it’s a, it’s a huge mountain to climb, right? And so there’s, there’s a few different thoughts that I have on this. First of all, it’s like, when we have what we’re seeing indicative of a broken system, it’s like something’s going to have to change. And I’ll say, in the beginning of this, I think there are going to be those companies like that, quote, you know, if you don’t adapt, then you’ll fall behind there, I think there will always be those type of companies and maybe leadership that just say, it’s my way or the highway, but I think there will always are, excuse me, also start to see other companies and we are seeing it, who are becoming what I call kind of employee obsessed. If you focus and you hyper-focus on your employees, and really putting your time and your effort there. That is like leading from the ground up, and you’ll see it trickle throughout your sales throughout your, you know, your clients, your customers, all of these things are going to be so much better when you focus on your employees. So I think it’s already kind of happening. And also to your point of, you know, jumping from toxic, or I can’t remember the term you use, but or dysfunctional company to company. The part of the work that I do, and I believe so strongly is, is when we focus on what we can do internally, regardless of what company we’re in, then that’s where we see our external start to shift as well. So it’s not as glamorous and fun to say, like, oh, I want to do all of this self-work for me. But truly, I’ve seen it time and time again, is, is there. The dysfunction doesn’t really touch you as much when you have done your work internally, if that makes sense.
Kim Meninger Yeah, that’s a really powerful insight, because I think about that a lot to what it what can we control within our own environment. Excuse me, and what is sort of out there that we just have to either let go of or adapt to? And so I think that what you’re saying is really powerful because if I can control what’s within my control, I’m not as affected by the environment around me.
Taylor Short Absolutely, and it doesn’t mean that, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be this word comes out a lot. I don’t really particularly love it but toxic leadership or toxic workplace. But I really think that it’s very, a lot of Less out there as, as we’ve been, you know, I just think it’s a kind of a touchy subject, right? I think that there are time in place that you should move. And there are companies that might be challenging. But again, when we start to look at the individual level, and how can I create a successful workspace for myself, then we’re not putting so much of that challenge, I guess, on the actual workplace that did not come out. Well, but I hope you’re saying no.
Kim Meninger And I think that makes perfect sense, right? Because if we’re stuck on the environment, we’re never going to feel like we found the right fit. Because like you said, there’s is there, everything’s imperfect? And so if I’m choosing to focus on what’s not working within every environment, and certainly there are, you know, like you said, right, there are times when you need to leave and times when you can better navigate an existing imperfect environment, right? But really, where the power comes from is recognizing, what do I need in order to be my best self and to do my best work? And how can I apply that wherever I am independent of whatever the environmental conditions are?
Taylor Short Yes, exactly. Thank you for wrapping that up. So beautiful.
Kim Meninger Well, I’m wondering, too, so I guess how to, if there are people listening and thinking, maybe this is me that she’s talking about? Right? Like, what are the indicators that maybe I could use some of this work?
Taylor Short Yeah. Who? Um, are you talking specifically about just overall, what we’re talking about are specifically around like, Is this my environment? Or is it me?
Kim Meninger I was thinking more generally. But I would say whatever comes to mind for you, in terms of a response, I’m just thinking that people are probably processing like your thing, saying and thinking, Hmm, I wonder if this is something that I can really benefit from spending some more time working on or thinking about?
Taylor Short Okay, yeah, great. So I would first of all, say, this type of work is how you have to have so much grace for yourself, right? Especially when we’re talking about things like impostor syndrome, these things we can beat ourselves up so much. And also the, when we start to get into I call, like blaming our boss or blaming our work for our unhappiness, that is kind of a survival technique that we have, and it can be a lot easier. So I would first off, say, if you, if you’re kind of raising your hand and like, ooh, this might be me, you know, it’s not going to necessarily feel very good. And that’s, that’s totally okay. But what happens when you start to do this internal work? And I will get to your, your question, for sure. But when you start to do this internal work, you totally take your power back. Because when we’re focusing on what is going wrong, outside of us, we are completely powerless, because like you’re saying, I do a lot of work around what we can control and what we can’t control. And when we’re focusing solely on the company, and what they’re doing wrong, what our bosses doing wrong, or what we don’t like about X, Y, Z, it’s really, honestly a waste of our time and energy, because there’s nothing that we can do about that. So we bring it back to ourselves. So this is such an empowering tool. And I really feel that if you’re being called to it, it’s probably for a reason. Probably, you know, if it’s lighting something up, what I love about this work is it’s not about consistently trying to find the next best thing in your job, right? It’s not looking for something outside of yourself. But it’s really doing this work that will last you for the rest of your life, that you can find how you want to be happy, how you want to be successful, how you find balance, specifically for you, that will carry you through any job that you have. So I think that that’s if, yeah, I would say if that’s like, Ooh, yes, I would love that, then yeah, trust that and know that, you know, it’s not this is not the work that’s going to be overnight, but it is going to be much more lasting than just continuously jumping, or feeling like you want to jump from job to job to job.
Kim Meninger And the empowerment piece is so interesting to me too. Because to your first point when you started answering this question, you talked about how it can be uncomfortable to look at ourselves as opposed to there’s something I think satisfying at some level to be able to point fingers at something else and there’s a self-righteousness that comes with that and it can be, it can be temporarily granted. Fine, but at the end of the day, you absolutely give your power away. And so I often struggle with how to articulate this idea without sounding critical of people who might fall into that category. Because I don’t, don’t want to use charged language, right? Like, I don’t personally think of victim mentality is a useful one. But I don’t like you know that language can sometimes be triggering to people. So I think that it’s really important for everybody to ask themselves, like, if I’m unhappy, in the circumstances that I’m in what responsibility or opportunity do I personally have here, to create a different outcome or have a different experience? Because I think it is so instinctive sometimes to just blame other forces?
Taylor Short Absolutely. And sometimes we just don’t know anything else. Because we’ve been doing it like, it’s been kind of our pattern. And that’s what, you know, kind of the work that I do is helping you get out of your own way. And I was that exact same way. It was like, Screw everybody, screw everything. You know, I just, I was so mad. I was so mad because I felt unrest inside. And I didn’t know to look at my own self in the mirror, right? And like, Oh, I could be holding myself back. So yeah, it can be really uncomfortable. But that’s why I say this is not for people who, you know, the time is right. Like, I guess that’s to, you have to kind of be like, Okay, I’m ready. And a lot of times, we don’t change until we’re sick of our own crap.
Kim Meninger So true. I remember, I made a pretty major career change at one point in my life. And I was so angry all the time. And I was just not sleeping well. And I was constantly tense and anxious, and just really blaming everyone around me. And I would vent to my husband all the time. And finally, he was like, what are you gonna do about it? And it was one of those moments where I was like, oh, yeah, this is actually a problem that can be solved. There, there are options here. And at the end of the day, my choice was to leave and to go someplace else. But I had spent so much energy looking outward instead of thinking about what was it within my control that it finally felt good to say, oh, yeah, like, I have choices here. I can do something about this.
Taylor Short Yeah, and I think that’s a great point is a lot of times it’s people outside of us, that will reflect something back to us, because we’re so you can’t see the forest through the trees. Right? Like, wait, what do I mean, this is the viewpoint that I’ve been seeing through? Yeah, absolutely.
Kim Meninger So do you think then, I don’t know, know if you track this, but would you say that people who come to you generally stay in the jobs that they’re in and just have a new relationship with them? Or do you think those people leave and decide there’s something better out there for me, like, what would you generally see in terms of outcomes from how you’re working with them?
Taylor Short Yeah, it’s a, it’s an interesting point because I came into this really hoping that I could help people in the jobs that they have now. So that’s really kind of all about the work that I do is how to be happy in the job that you have. Now, the book that I have is called reset your relationship to your job. But as a coach, what I’ve seen is that first of all, I will say about 95% of the people that come to me are female-identifying. So I tend to, I think it’s just you know, you, you work with who you kind of were or you are. And what I’ve noticed over the years of working with kind of the same type, I guess, like very successful achieving women in the workplace is we hold on for so long. And I think that has so much to say about her amazing tenacity, but I also am so hopeful like, we don’t have to be at the very end in order to make a change. But what I will see is, most everyone who comes to me does not want to shift their relationship to their job now and they’re really want to move on. I will say the majority of the people that I work with ended up staying and that’s not even to just toot my own horn. It’s just based on the work that I do. I And then some do move on eventually as well. But I have no motivation to whether you stay or whether you go, what my real hope is that you can find a way where you feel really good. And your job overall, regardless of where you are. Where you feel like you have enough confidence to be able to have difficult conversations when you need to, when you can have that healthy detachment where you can have that balance, work-life balance that works for you, when you can find the way that work doesn’t run your life, and that you are really, again, that word empowered in your career. So, I see, I see both, but yeah, I would say most people come to me when they’re at kind of their wit’s end.
Kim Meninger Is there a first step that people listening can take on their own?
Taylor Short Mm-hmm. Yeah, of working with me, or just in general, like what to…
Kim Meninger In general, just thinking more about moving in this empowered direction.
Taylor Short Yeah, I mean, I would say, for sure, like, I, this is like a little plug for me. But I post content about this stuff all the time. I’m on Instagram and LinkedIn, and my website, which I’ll talk about probably at the end, but I think, a first step, trying to think like, because you can you tell it’s hard for me to like give one thing for everyone. I work so individually with people, but if I’m saying it to the masses, I would think like so much if I could say something to you is like, in your heart, like speaking not from your amazing, beautiful brain that likes to think everything through a million times. But like, in your heart, are you satisfied? Do you feel like you’re in a place in your career and your job that feels good to you? Like could would you be happy if you were still doing the same thing, 10 years from now, or having this relationship with your job. And for some of us, we may like tools that we journal this out, and you just kind of write it all out. For some of us, I like to really am a nature-connected coach. So I like to invite going on in nature wander with this question, which means you just go out onto land, if you’re in an urban area, you just go out on a stroll without your device. And you asked this question, Am I happy? Am I content? And really trust that because what happens is like, it’s so noisy out there, like even us talking, you know, we’re telling you different things. But what I really hope for everyone is that we can come back to our true selves. Because only you know, what you really need. So I could tell you like, yeah, if you have these things, but I think if you can just tune into yourself, when it’s not so loud, when you don’t have a spouse telling you, a boss telling you a friend, a co-worker, whatever. But what do you truly want? Sometimes that voice can be really, really quiet because we’ve quieted it over the years. So I think that that would be that feels good to me. And answering that for everyone is like go back to yourself, and what do you really think?
Kim Meninger I love that I think that’s a really powerful starting point. And just something for us to I were to offer up as something to do regularly, right? I mean, to have a annual or twice a year, check in with yourself to say, Am I happy? Am, I am i doing my best work? Am I where I want to be? Because like you said, Too often we wait until things are really bad. And then it gets that much more complicated. Whereas if we can pick up on some of these signals earlier, we can intervene earlier and hopefully prevent some of the pain and crisis that might come down the road.
Taylor Short Absolutely, yeah, I, I encourage a seasonal check-in because, you know, just going with nature of seasons and we do we have different points in our life. And I think that’s important is just because we are somewhere today doesn’t mean we’re going to have the same wants and needs five years from now. Me for example, like our son’s almost 16, he’s… We’re kind of learning this new empty nester way and we have more time so I’m like, I would love to take on more, you know, as with five years ago, it’s like I need a little bit less and have to figure that out. So I think yeah, checking in regularly is so important.
Kim Meninger So um, where can people find you Taylor, you mentioned having a website and also that you post a lot of content so if others are interested in following you or learning more, where can they find you?
Taylor Short Hmm. So I have kind of three different places I regularly post content to Instagram, LinkedIn, and then YouTube as well. And those are all under my handle Harmonious Return and, and then my website is harmoniousreturn.com
Kim Meninger Perfect! Well this has been such an amazing conversation thank you so much for having it with me and I am really excited to share it with the community
Taylor Short Yes, it’s been so fun thank you for having me.