How daring greatly can lead to an authentic life
‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’ A powerful quote by Oscar Wilde which I used when I hosted global train-the-trainer courses during my corporate days. To encourage others to be themselves with style.
It doesn’t mean you can’t learn to train and present with more confidence, amplify your voice or control your body language to support your message. It means you don’t need to be someone else. Or wish you were. Or compare yourself negatively with others. Although it’s OK to use them as a role model.
I live a life with hearing loss. And used to be embarrassed about it. I’ve spent too many years hiding it and developing exhausting strategies to keep up with sound around me. Pretending to follow to avoid attention. Ironically, my journey to hear the world has helped me lead a more authentic life.
I knew I had turned a corner when I shared my personal fear and worry about not hearing the questions during my trainings. By being vulnerable, I showed I was human. My support strategies included being open and honest as well as creating ground rules at the beginning to help me hear. I asked participants to help me to help them. For example, raise their hand when they had a question.
Showing up and stepping into the arena is scary for everyone. Whether it’s on stage or online. Embracing imperfection is the name of the game.
What does authentic look like?
Being authentic means being genuine. In every situation. Expressing your feelings and showing others your true self. It means embracing your unique self, warts and all. This does mean you have to work with yourself, to know yourself. And a journey to self-acceptance is usually involved. If you are authentic, you usually score high on self-awareness too.
Authentic means telling your story to inspire and motivate others.
Why be authentic?
There are both personal and professional benefits. In short, it’s easier to be yourself than someone you’re not. Pretending is hard work!
- You’re more likely to live a happier life in congruence with your values and beliefs.
- You’ll have deeper relationships with those around you. People will want to be with you, because you are you.
- You’ll find your tribe and discover others who have similar stories, fears and challenges.
- You’re less likely to feel disconnected and isolated.
- You’ll feel more fulfilled and spend your time doing things you love.
Authenticity has become a bit of a buzzword in business. The famous words from Simon Sinek remind us, people buy your WHY not WHAT you do. And when you have a clear WHY, people will follow you. Even more reason to really know yourself and what you stand for. And live a life according to your values and beliefs. And not someone else’s.
Authentic means going down the path less trodden.
How to live an authentic life
- Live your life, not someone else’s. Follow your Study what you want to study. Choose a job / career that lights you up.
- Don’t say yes, when you really mean no.
- Be clear on your values and live them. Even if it means choosing the lonely road.
- Do what you say and say what you do. Integrity makes you a force to be reckoned with.
- Show up when you promise to do so.
- Be honest and share your opinions, feelings and all you stand for (with kindness). Don’t agree with someone else simply to impress or be liked.
How do you know if you're not living an authentic life?
Your body and emotions will tell you!
I’ve been pretty miserable in several jobs throughout my career. Sometimes due to misaligned values, sometimes due to boredom. I know I’m not alone. Feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction accompany questions ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘is this it?’ And propel you forwards to your new future.
To be true to yourself and the right path for you, you might have to take a leap of faith and make a drastic change. If you are authentic, you will pursue your new path with more ease.
Authentic means daring greatly in an uncertain world.
What has helped you lead an authentic life?