authenticity (noun) the quality of being real or true
Recently I gave a presentation to some lovely people that involved some talk about authenticity. Granted, it was in the context of marketing, but the message was/is, in my view, still very important. In the beginning steps of learning more about myself, both my personal and professional selves, I found that I was often being called on to be someone I really wasn’t. Always eager to please (people pleaser, here!), I worked harder than ever to be the person I was “meant” to be. But, the question I never asked myself was “who says I have to be that person” and “why that person and not the person next to them”. Ultimately, I found myself questioning why…. and, more specifically, why I wasn’t asking myself who I was and who I should be… It was this question that made me think deeper and more meaningfully about who I really was, deep down, and intentionally not taking into account anyone’s views of who I should be. This was a difficult process because it required me to think about and engage with comments from others about me.. the good, bad and the ugly. Whilst difficult….
I found this immensely empowering.
I found myself learning more about myself and, through that, found more confidence and pride in that person. Something that I had really struggled to find before. Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of moments, but some of those moments have just become more enlightened and, perhaps, softened by a self-awareness. What I found in my professional world was that people responded much better to this person I truly was. My conversations flowed better and I didn’t feel as awkward trying to be this other person. I was just being myself. To me it demonstrates the invaluable nature of authenticity. How much it can impact on your daily experience, both professionally and personally and how darn empowering it can be. Through this, I have found a new approach to what I do and how I do it and a new type of confidence. If you feel a bit out of step and awkward, perhaps give some thought and ask yourself are you being your true self, and if not, why not? What have you got to lose?