What Is Authenticity? 3 Ways To "Keep It Real"

Jun 03, 2021

"Work tirelessly on revealing who you truly are."

I bumped into Authenticity as I applied the finishing touches to the first draft, unedited version, of my new book this week. Still a long way to go before we can get it out, but there's one story I can share with you now.

It's of a small boy who is dressed up and pretending to be Woody, his favourite character from Toy Story. His grandfather, keen to show he has some knowledge of the film, greets the young man and says, "Howdy Woody".

The boy replies indignantly, "I'm not Woody".

Confused, the grandfather asks, "So, who are you then?"

"I'm Ben" says the boy (for that was indeed his real name.)

Realising his mistake the grandfather responds, "Ah, I see, so you're borrowing Woody's horse for the day are you?"

"Yes", said Ben.

The lesson from this toddler is we can live in our imaginations occasionally, but we should never forget who we really are.

Who you are matters

How often do we look at other people and assume they have it made? They're more talented than us; more coordinated, more cool, more witty, more everything!!!

The fact that just about everyone in the world has probably felt that emotion at some point means, someone once thought that about you too!

Sometimes we benefit from remembering that there was only a 1 in 400 trillion chance of us ever being on the earth in the first place. We are unique. No-one has, or ever will, shared 100% of our DNA.

Authenticity is our opportunity to take ownership of this fact and share every aspect of our unique and wonderful self with the world. We don't need to pretend to be anyone else. In fact, it's a lot less effort and more liberating to just be YOU.

Rediscover You

I ran a programme recently for an amazing group of individuals who were dedicating their lives to support and care for their loved ones.

Amongst the many challenges they faced was a loss of identity. Regardless of their many achievements before taking on the role of Carer, most of them saw themselves as "just a Carer".

There were two elements of this we explored in great detail:

  1. Being a Carer was a complex, challenging and often exhausting role. It's a role that deserves greater understanding and respect. The breadth of skills they deployed on a daily basis were way beyond most jobs.
  2. They wanted to rediscover their full identity. Yes they were incredibly competent Carers, but they were also managers, chefs, designers, photographers and coordinators.

To be completely authentic, they needed to embrace every aspect of who they were.

The most amazing result of these conversations came when one of them was specifically hired for their dream job because they had acquired the depth of experience that being a Carer had given them. Up until that point, they had been tempted to downplay this critical element of who they were.

3 Ways To "Keep It Real"

Most reasons for breaking authenticity are linked to feelings of lack. Lack of self esteem, lack of courage, lack of perspective or lack of gratitude for the many blessings we already have in life.

Here are 

None of us get it right all the time and that is why No.3 on the list is so important. Reflecting on our actions provides an opportunity to check alignment with our values. Sometimes that can be achieved with some quiet meditation and sometimes it needs a bit more "unpicking" to really understand what is going on in our heads. That's when a personal coach can help.

For more on this topic, check out this week's video:

 

If anything in this blog has resonated with you, do get in touch. It's my mission to develop Change Makers, people who are focused on supporting the people around them through all of life's changes. Get in touch via social media.

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