There’s such a buzz around authenticity.
We’re being told to be more authentic in business, in life, and online But as we all strive for all things ‘authentic’, do any of us understand what it means? I mean, how do we live a more authentic life? How do we run a business more authentically? And how do we show up authentically online?
What the hell does ‘being authentic‘ actually mean anyway?
Like everything, the quest for authenticity has become slightly muddied by the marketing machine, social media saturation, and the good old bandwagon resulting in confusion, and a slight tarnishing of the beautiful concept that is ‘authenticity’.
Now, I’ll try not to get too philosophical on you – and do keep in mind this is my viewpoint and no dictionary definition…
I believe ‘being authentic’ is removing those masks most of us have slipped on throughout our lives. Be it expectations of others, schools, our workplaces, so forth, and ourselves. In an attempt to fit in, fly under the radar, or to outshine others, many of us have quashed our true selves in the process. And seriously, we can only do this for so long – otherwise we lose ourselves, or go slightly crazy in the process ( talking from experience…).
Living authentically is being ‘true’ to ourselves. It’s paying our self some respect. It’s living our lives, its doing business, its acting in line with our values system.
Think about it.
How many times have you had to compromise your values, in some shape or form, whether its during a lunch break gossip session, telling a lie, or being asked to do something questionable at work…
How did that feel?
Not too good right.
Did you feel anxious? Did you suffer from a stomachache or headache? Did you need a stiff drink at the end of the day, or dread getting up the next day?
Being authentic means being comfortable with yourself because you are enough. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. In a nutshell, it’s cutting out the bullshit, saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and fronting up as YOU.
I’m a reformed people pleaser.
As a reformed people pleaser, I’ve spent most of my life trying to be the person I thought people wanted me to be. Whether it was at work, with bosses and colleagues, with friends and family, with boys, or with strangers at networking events. And sure, I was a success. BUT I also did some stupid things, exhausted myself, and became horribly depressed.
Depression, chronic anxiety, illness caused by living in a constant state of fight or flight, discomfort from compromising my values. As soon as I sat down and analysed my own values system and looked at why I was so unhappy and stressed, I woke up and recognised what I had been doing. That was when I finally acknowledged that I was good enough just as I was. There was no need to change me. I just needed to change the way I thought of me.
It’s not easy.
I still have my moments where I slip back into old patters of people pleasing and self-doubt, but I’m now better positioned to recognise my old ways and to remind myself both of where I’ve been and who I really am.
Here’s a free workbook. It’s full of activities you can work through at your own pace. These will help you pin down your values and what your overall purpose is.
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