Talking about authenticity is a heck of lot easier than actually being authentic, believe me – I know. For the past few years as I’ve been working on my new book and talking about authenticity in my workshops and keynotes, I’ve done a lot of talking about what it means to be real, authentic, and vulnerable in life. And, while I always do my best to model what I teach as I am teaching it, I know that it’s not the same thing to talk the talk, unless I truly walk the walk.
With this in mind, I want to recap the key principles of my book, Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken, which I’ve written about in each of the past seven newsletters and then challenge you (and me) to put these things into action in our real lives, today!
Part One: Why It Can Be Hard to Be Authentic
Being authentic and real can be challenging for most of us for a variety of reasons. There are both external and cultural factors (parents, teachers, family, school, religion, era, and more) that play into this, as well as personal reasons (fears, insecurities, perceived weaknesses, lack of practice or courage, wanting people to like us, etc.).
It’s important for us to acknowledge, tell the truth about, and take responsibility (with compassion) for these external and internal factors of our lives and personalities that make it difficult or scary for us to live in a way that is authentic. By confronting these things directly, owning them, and making peace with them, we’re able to move beyond what normally stops us from being who we truly are.
Part Two: The Five Principles of Authenticity
- Know Yourself – A commitment to growth, self-discovery, and brutal honesty with yourself.
- Transform Your Fear – A willingness to admit, own, express, communicate, and take action in the face of your fear.
- Express Yourself – Fully and honestly expressing yourself and your emotions, all of them.
- Be Bold – Going for it, all the way – even if you’re scared.
- Celebrate Who You Are – Loving, appreciating, and celebrating yourself in a genuine and generous way.
Part Three: Authenticity in Action
This is where the rubber meets the road. Of the many action ideas, practices, tips, suggestions, and techniques I outline in my new book and that I’ve shared my newsletters over the past seven weeks, which ones have spoken to or resonated with you most? You’ve probably put some of these ideas into action, which is great! And, there are probably other things – either that you don’t think you have time for (not true) or are not sure how to make happen (more honest) – that would make a difference in your life, your work, and your relationships.
Below I’ve listed three additional possible action ideas – taken right from my new book and my workshops. My challenge to you is to pick one (or more) of these and do them today…no waiting around or putting them off. And, if none of these actions resonate with you, use them as a catalyst to think of something of your own that would be a stretch and would challenge you to be more real and authentic in your life, right now!
– Do something that scares you. Pick something big or small to do today that will scare you. Ask someone for something, get up and speak in front of a group, make a phone call you’ve been putting off, take a risk, or do anything else that you know will take some real courage on your part.
– Make a list of current conflicts/issues that you have with other people: deal with them or let them go. There are only two ways to deal with a conflict effectively – directly until it is resolved or let it go completely. Once you’ve made your list – see if you can make a choice, one way or another (deal or let go), with each of these conflicts. With the ones you aren’t willing or able to let go of, stop avoiding this person and pick up the phone, send a note, or go and talk to them – directly, honestly, and vulnerably – and see if you can resolve this conflict once and for all.
– Write a bold mission and vision statement for your life. There are lots of different ways to do this, don’t get too hung up on the process – just do it. Your mission is about who you are and how you live on a daily basis. Your vision is about where you want to be and what you want your life to look and feel like in the future. Make them both clear and specific, paradoxically, don’t get too hung up on the details. And, when they’re done (not perfect) post them so you see them all the time and share them with others in your life.
Which of these (or other) authentic actions will you take today? Share your thoughts, ideas, actions, and more here on my blog.