Let’s start with the definition of authenticity.
We all have adapted certain ‘rules’ that we live by. These rules and guidelines are a combination of what we’ve learned from our parents, our teachers, religion, friends, mentors and society. Holding too strictly to rules and never questioning or reviewing them can lead to problems but we won’t deal with that today. Having a ‘core’ or foundation of ideals is necessary so that we don’t have to completely start from scratch with every decision we make. For example, most of us have decided that if we find a wallet on the ground we’ll try to find the owner and return it to them. Therefore, if we do find a wallet on the ground, we don’t need to spend a lot of time in deep thought figuring out what to do, right?
The definition of authenticity then, is consistently following our core beliefs, staying true to our influences and listening to our ‘inner voice’. As we grow older, we find that people are less affected by their peers, their external influences and more able to act with authenticity. We are more likely to have self confidence as we grow older because we’ve faced more situations and have made the decisions, right or wrong, that give us wisdom, eventually. Acting with authenticity, as observed by others, is staying true to the values others expect from us based on what they know of us and what they know of us is based not only on what we say, but what we do. It is the ‘do-ing’, the results and actions we produce, that really mark who we are and keep us from being ‘heroes in our own minds’, by the way, so remember to be ‘in action’.
Is Authenticity something you value?
As in the example above, friends and acquaintances witness and observe you as you either do-what-you-say or say-and-don’t-do. Being ‘all talk’, by the way, is acting with authenticity to an outside observer as you may have established the pattern of having a lot of great ideas but no follow through. Is there a danger in that? Well, yes, but it’s a pattern for so many people that it is almost expected. Your friends, at least good friends, might see this about you but not judge you unkindly for it. Is it the most powerful way to live? Maybe not. And that’s the value of personal introspection, personal growth courses, books and seminars, and a reason to work with a life coach. If you owned a business, you’d do inventory now and then; how much more important can it be to regularly conduct a personal inventory?
If you value your authenticity, you must take the time to investigate the core beliefs, foundation of life, decision ‘engine’ you’ve created for yourself and ask, “Is this authentically me now, or me ‘then’?” Does my present model serve the ‘me’ I have become or want to be in the future? The answer can be less important than the question, the process of questioning, and it can be uncomfortable at the beginning but the ‘payoff’ for this type of personal investigation is a renewed level of contentment, joy and satisfaction.
Is there a payoff to being Authentic?
The answer to this question has been referenced in the paragraphs above. Living with authenticity allows a sense of confidence, a personal depth of assuredness that allows, even in this unpredictable world, a solid foundation for life. The payoff can be in the level of trust and respect you experience from others; family, peers, co-workers and those you interact with only randomly. What you gain personally from it is the knowledge that you’ve lived life with a ‘compass’ and had a chance to reach the goal, the purpose that eludes so many of us in this life.
Living authentically has its reward in contentment, joy and satisfaction, as stated above, but it also has a contribution to others. Those who are looking for their own direction, seeking their own ‘compass’ who come into contact with an authentic person gain inspiration and see possibility from each encounter. They get the energy from even a brief encounter with another’s authenticity to continue on in their own journey.
Not only that but ‘like attracts like’. The more you can live with authenticity, the more you’ll attract others who are living as their own authentic selves. You will build a society where others communicate with you on a deeper, more meaningful level and where the permission granted mutually to ‘be yourself’ is closer to ‘the rule’ than ‘the exception’
There are a lot of resources, books, seminars and websites that address this material and you can find valuable materials that range from no cost to several thousands of dollars. Do they help? Yes; but you have to be ‘in action’ and self-directed. My suggestion is that you start with ‘The Game of Life’, available under the ‘Tools’ section at DoItYourselfLifeCoach.com. The courses are part of a larger program, delivered weekly to your email and can be the starting point for you to create a future life of full authenticity.
Good luck to you and to all of us in this pursuit.
James M. Lynch is a business coach working to change your business for better: http://www.JMLynchTraining.com
Buy his book, The Hamlet Secret on Amazon.