To be authentic is to be genuine, original and real. I have had many interactions where people feel authenticity to self is not an option, given the pressure to be a certain way in our ever-changing world. I, however, believe it more critical than ever before to be your authentic self because of the world we live in. We should adapt to our experiences, situations, and circumstances. The key is to know and decide for ourselves who we are and what we want to be. Demonstrating authentic behaviour is not just speaking about values but acting our values.
As humans, we naturally respect and follow authenticity. Think about why we are so easily drawn to success stories about others who started from nothing. We either resonate with past experience, feel inspired, or simply just appreciate authenticity. Why then do we fear the judgment of our own shortcomings, our failures and work so hard to hide our insecurities when all this is part of who we truly are? Too often we allow other’s view and opinions to affect what we think of ourselves and how we portray ourselves.
To be authentic, we need to know who we are – we need to understand ourselves. We need to acknowledge and accept there will be parts of ourselves we will need to work on. We need to be mindful that what we allow others to see in our actions and behaviour is what others use to determine what they think of us, valid or not. But we also need to stop placing so much value in what others think instead of being real. It is up to us to determine what the best version of our self is.
I have found in the last ten or so years that being authentically me makes my life feel more meaningful. I don’t live with regrets of not being able to feel and not being able to do. Yes, I have challenges and moments of feeling really low, but I can honestly say – NO REGRETS. I feel free to be – and loved, supported and respected for who I am. I am confident being just me. I have also experienced in the workplace that displaying authentic leadership earns you trust and loyalty amongst your peers and the people who report to you. It is important though that this authenticity is not a deceptive outward appearance because it’s not sustainable. Your true self will show itself, especially in the workplace. One of my most proud moments was being described as authentic when I left a company after 16 years. It made me feel appreciated for being just me and made me feel confident about the impression I made in my treatment of others.
I often use the phrase NOBODY CAN DEFINE YOU FOR YOU, and that’s because nobody can tell you how to be your authentic self. Remember there is no such thing as perfection in who or what we are, so don’t try to be. Just be comfortable being you, just be perfectly you. So embrace all of you, demonstrate authenticity, and just be.
“Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good.” – Alan Cohens
Until next time…
Yours in Adapting & Being