If you hear someone say, “Be Authentic,” it’s time to seriously reflect on your life.
“You need to work on your authenticity.” Or, “Be more authentic.” I have a problem with these statements. If someone says this about you, it’s time to take a step back, reflect, and change.
Authenticity is a desirable trait. I’m not at all disagreeing with that. But, if you NEED to work on authenticity, that means … you’re NOT authentic. You’re fake!
Dictionary.com defines authentic as:
- Not false or copied; genuine; real
- Entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy
An authentic person is genuine and real. Not false. Everyone has opportunities for development. Yet, if you hear authenticity as one of them, I challenge you to think about a few things.
Ensure your development opportunity is authenticity and not something else
First, if authenticity is an area for development, maybe it’s not actually authenticity. I recently watched a video from a "TEDx Presentation Consultant." She was outlining 5 Steps to Better Presentations or something like that. She mentioned authenticity in one of her 5 steps. She explained her reasoning, but her statements sounded more like “passion.” Not authenticity. So if someone tells you to be more “authentic,” challenge him/her a little. Ask questions and dig a deeper. Maybe it's something else. It might be passion, transparency, or empathy.
If it is authenticity, ask yourself ... why?
Why are you perceived as fake, unreliable, or untrustworthy? Is it perception or reality? Are you not in the right job? Maybe you just don’t like your current position. You need to find out fast! If you don’t like what you’re doing, then change. If you fake authenticity, you must be miserable hiding all the time. Figure out who you are, what you really want to do, and go do that. Stop faking it! Faking it sucks for you ... and the people around you. There are plenty of careers out there. But, there’s only one person stopping you … YOU.
Define a path with goals and dates. Make changes and learn
Oh, so you hate your job, but you have to do it for XYZ or ABC. I get that. Getting what you want and where you want takes time. We all have obligations like family. Sometimes this means we accept roles that we don’t like. If this is the case, then take the time to ensure you have a defined path to what and where you want to be. List out your goals with solid dates.
Discuss your path with anyone that can impact progress. Hold yourself accountable. Find someone that you respect to help keep you on track. Allow for feedback and give them some of the ability to help you “refine” your path. Even if you disagree with their recommendations, learn from them. Learn the why behind his/her recommendation. Understanding why is powerful information.
Stop learning be to authentic and start being authentic
First, ensure authenticity is your correct development opportunity. If not, then determine the correct one. If it is authenticity, reflect on why you aren’t currently authentic. You always have a choice. You always have the ability to change. It might take time, but find a role or path that leads to your true north. Your authentic self.
Last, it won’t be easy. If it was, you’d already be doing it. This will require sacrifice, hard work, and perseverance. That’s the fun part and where you'll grow the most.
Good luck on your journey. I offer leadership and executive coaching as a service. Happy to help you define your path and coach you along the way. If this post helped you, feel free to share it with your friends and network.