Thursday, February 12, 2015
I’ve written about the topic of authenticity before – how to be an authentic leader, sharing your authentic story, and several other posts related to this idea of being authentic in all areas of life. Yet, here I am writing about it again because I find it to be something many of my clients struggle with (and something I too find difficult at times). We often don’t feel comfortable being who we truly are and allowing that part of us to shine through because we worry about what others will think. There are four ways I’ve found to honor and live your true authenticity. These also help you give up worrying about what others will think of you and those life choices that you make from living in that authentic place. By the way, this was number five on my list of what’s out and what’s in for 2015: What’s out is fearing what others think of my choices, my lifestyle, or me. What’s in: honoring my true authentic self and proudly living from that place. So, how do you do this?
First, get a clear picture of who the authentic you is. What makes you unique? What do you love about yourself? What do others love about you? What do you value? Sometimes it’s not easy to come up with this information on your own so I suggest you ask others – take a poll of your close friends, colleagues, and family members to find out the things that they most love about you and consider your unique abilities and character traits. Then, ask yourself: which of these resonate the most with me? Which align with my values? These answers are a big piece of the ‘authentic you’.
Next, embrace this uniqueness. How? Start being more of the person you uncovered in step one. Start doing more things as the person described in step one. For example, when one of my clients did this exercise one thing she uncovered that others saw as part of her uniqueness was her need for and ability to take time each day to relax and read a book. At first she felt like that made her appear lazy when, in reality it was something others admired and respected about her. Instead of fearing that it made her appear too laid back, she realized her relaxing and reading was a huge part of each day that enabled her to be motivated and energized. It also aligned with her valuing the arts and literature. This was something she not only began to embrace more but also share more with others. She stopped hiding this part of who she was because she realized it was not only something she loved to do and valued but also something others admired in her. What can you embrace about your own uniqueness?
The third way to start honoring and living your true authenticity is to bring more of who you are into what you do; start bringing those values that you identified in step one into what you do each day. For example, one of my clients is a huge animal lover and passionate about rescuing a certain breed of dogs. As she began to embrace more of her own authenticity, she felt pulled to get involved with a nonprofit group that was in support of stopping puppy mill breeding of this particular type of dog. By doing this, she began integrating her value of service to animals and humane treatment of animals into her everyday life. Not only did she have a huge impact on helping stop the puppy mill breeding of these dogs but also felt a huge increase in her overall life satisfaction. This happened because she was living and expressing her authenticity through living her values. When we do this, our passion and energy create a positive ripple effect of goodness in the world because we are honoring who we truly are. When we live from that place, the results are astounding.
The last way to start honoring and living your true authenticity is to let go of your fear of what others might think of you or your choices. Many years ago I had a mentor tell me: what other people think of me is none of my business – it’s their business. We each view the world through our own filter that is created from our individual life experiences and history. Therefore other people view you and your life choices through their filter. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Whenever that age-old thought arises – what will everyone think if I do this? – I remind myself that what they (whoever the proverbial “they” is) think of me is none of my business. It’s their business. That simple reminder puts things back in perspective and helps me continue to honor and live my own true authenticity – regardless of what anyone else may think.
Those are my suggestions for honoring who you truly are and living from that place. Why is this so important? Because you were created as a unique person and are here to share your unique brilliance with the world. Honor it. Embrace it. Live it. Not only will you be living a much more satisfying life but will be creating countless positive ripple effects around you.
What do you do to live your true authenticity? Can you add to this list? I’d love to hear from you – please share your comments!