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Finding Time to be...Authentic

Authenticity is a hallmark of leadership. People follow others who "have it together", who know where they're going and how to get there. If professional development is the ocean, authenticity is the wetsuit!
Written Oct 18, 2010, read 1734 times since then.
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Authenticity. This word is one of the most over-used buzzwords of the century.  It seems everyone is in search of their authentic selves, looking for authentic jobs, finding authentic purpose or seeking authentic mates.

What happens when a noble concept slips into buzzword territory? We tune it out. The meaning is lost. We cease to care…which is a shame, because authenticity is so vital to success in our social media-driven world.

Let’s get back on track, shall we?

Authentic is defined as, “Not false or copied; genuine; real.” Seems simple enough. Yet even the most ‘real’ among us may lose our authenticity from time to time, given the pressures of daily life and professional development.

How can we develop more authentic selves? How can authenticity move from buzzword status to an intrinsic mode of behavior?

Here are several useful tips to help you get started.

Listen to Yourself

Have you ever forced yourself to do or say something, then felt miserable about it afterwards? Perhaps you assumed it was a guilty conscience coming into play. Actually, that feeling is your authentic self letting you know you’ve betrayed the ‘real you’. Whether  taking on an unwanted project, saying yes when your heart says no, or telling a little white lie to avoid hurting someone, expect to feel the reverberations of avoiding your true beliefs and desires.

Feelings or intuition are there to guide you, in the same way the body’s pain receptors keep your hand off a hot stove. Your happiness, in life and professional development, depends on listening to these signals.

Learn to Say No

On every airplane flight, regardless of its destination, the flight attendant stands before passengers and says, “In the event of a crash, secure your own oxygen mask first, before trying to help someone else.” This is true in life as well. You can’t help others if you’re barely breathing! If you tend to do things out of obligation or fear of others’ opinions, follow the axiom, “What others think of me is none of my business.”   

Feed Your Self

Take time for yourself every day. Ten quiet minutes with a cup of tea, a quick stroll in the sun, some time before bed to catch up on a book or soak in a hot tub (bubbles, of course!)…these rejuvenating actions create needed time to get back in touch with yourself. Explore new interests, take a class, visit a new city… but whatever you do, open yourself to the amazing possibilities. They fuel creativity and growth.

In professional development, as in life, staying true to one’s self is essential. Like an automobile, you can pour in all the gas you want…but if the starter isn’t working, you’re going nowhere fast.

First Things First

If it feels like your day is so jam-packed with activity you don’t have a moment to think, we encourage you to think about this:

“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.”  (Barbara de Angelis)

Learn more about the author, Victoria Ipri.

Comment on this article

  • Writer 
Jacksonville, Florida 
Bette Arnold
    Posted by Bette Arnold, Jacksonville, Florida | Oct 18, 2010

    This article is so timely. I have discovered that tolerating the crazy makers in my life have caused me to drift far away from my authentic self. I have to stand up for myself. I have said yes to a crazy maker when I should not have contacted them. I stay in a toxic friendship; just talking with this person makes me a little nuts. My creativity is rotting because I have recreated myself and lied to myself. Preach on Jason and Victoria! You’ve helped one person get freer today.

  • Teacher/Entreprenuer 
Atlanta, Georgia 
Vince Autrey
    Posted by Vince Autrey, Atlanta, Georgia | Oct 19, 2010

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article. I particularly liked the part about listening to yourself. I can look back on times in my life when I didn't take heed to signals that were glaring me in the face but I did it anyway knowing it was wrong. Being authentic will lead to a happy life due to always listening to your intuition. Great job Jason and Victoria!

  • Business Catalyst 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Jim  Matorin
    Posted by Jim Matorin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Oct 19, 2010

    I do agree that authenticity is the buzz du jour these days. Outside of your point to take time out for ten minutes (why only ten minutes?) a day everyone does need to find their inner voice, to be authentic to themselves. To be authentic to others is a whole different ball game. It depends on what people view as authentic behavior. Example: Eliot Spitzer - preaches ethics, acted unethical, but now has a TV show. People behind him must think he is authentic if they are putting him on TV. Does that make Eliot authentic? To some people he is, to me he is not. One last thought - Those people out there that are truly authentic were authentic pre-web 2.0 and don't have to worry whether they are being authentic, since they have been authentic all along. They most probably are the true networkers in our network society.

  • Business development advice for early stage creative entrepreneurs to create more impact, influence and income.  
Ojai, California 
Thomson Dawson
    Posted by Thomson Dawson, Ojai, California | Oct 20, 2010

    Victoria---

    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful article...

    I think the important thing to remember about "authenticity" is its close relationship with "leadership"– which I define as the "the quality of your presence". One cannot become authentic. You are or you're not. Authenticity is an expression of who you really are in the present moment. The quality of your presence requires a disciplined mind.

    I ask my self daily "how's the quality of my presence today"? This little question always puts me in a frame of mind to act from my white hot center–the very place where I am most real and "authentic". I have lived long enough to fully understand when my ego is running the show called my life, I know I am not being authentic.

    to your inspired success, Thomson

  • Writing & Publishing Coach, Business & Marketing Consultant 
Bellevue, Washington 
Deborah Drake
    Posted by Deborah Drake, Bellevue, Washington | Oct 21, 2010

    Victoria,

    As much as I know what is key and as consistently as I strive to always practice these ABCs, I never tire of being reminded of the "basics" and the fundamental truths that make all the difference in any situation.

    The meaning of words and how we assign "context" comes from how they are expressed by us and through us in large and small ways, spoken and otherwise.

    The bulk of communication is in fact non-verbal. And our actions speak volumes, yes? I so appreciate people with "authentic presence" and I ask myself similar questions daily Thomson and it's a good thing to make a habit as often as a day requires in my experience.

    Weekly, I gather with others in business for themselves, to encourage authenticity in writing for business and other creative outlets. My deep held belief is that authentic writing provokes not by being loud or too colorful or attempting to draw attention to itself. When we write from our heart and express in a way that is the real us, well that is when people can't help but respond.

    Each week a person from our gathering embraces a willingness to write from that core center and their true voice, they not only report how fun it was, they report it was easier. And as they grow more at ease with writing as "themselves" and what they care about, the writing they do for the sake of themselves and their business is just that much more impactful.

    It "should" be much easier to BE our true selves in how we show up in all forms of expression. For some that means re-examining what we were told was the best way to be "professional."

    And to me, being clear with oneself feels like the origin of leadership, personal leadership first, that then impacts every life we get to touch, from the inside out.

    Thanks for the article Victoria and Jason.

    Thank YOU Both Very Much.

    Deborah Drake Authentic Writing Provokes http://deborahdrake.wordpress.com

  • Business Consultant 
Torrance, California 
Carolyn Ziel
    Posted by Carolyn Ziel, Torrance, California | Oct 21, 2010

    Thanks for sharing...yesterday I was on Blog Talk Radio and we were talking about how Authenticity is the NEW COOL...that is cool!!!

  • Copywriter and Marketing Consultant 
Auburn, California 
Therese Pope
    Posted by Therese Pope, Auburn, California | Oct 24, 2010

    Victoria, As always, I love your articles and this really hits home for me as I am on my journey and it comes down to being true to yourself and listening to your gut intuition. I will pass along to my holistic/welllness clients and friends - I know they will enjoy this article and very timely in all of our lives right now.

    Jason, Victoria has mentioned you in other articles she's written - such great advice. Thanks for sharing as well.

    Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • CEO 
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 
Victoria Ipri
    Posted by Victoria Ipri, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania | Nov 18, 2010

    Thanks for all of the encouraging comments and thoughtful insights.

  • CEO 
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 
Victoria Ipri
    Posted by Victoria Ipri, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania | Dec 07, 2010

    If you are not already on it, may I have your permission to add your name to my mailing list? We don't spam our subscribers, we don't share our list, and if you find the information is not valuable to you, you may unsubscribe at any time.

  • CEO 
Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 
Victoria Ipri
    Posted by Victoria Ipri, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania | Dec 07, 2010

    Thank you very much for your kind words about my Biznik articles. Your comments give me the "shot" I need to carry on!

    I wonder though...what types of articles would you like to see in the new year? My business specialties are social media and copywriting. I also coach online business owners, and am trained in SEO and CRO (Search Engine Optimization & Conversion Rate Optimization). These days, it seems everyone wants to know how to use LinkedIn and Facebook...and my writing partner, Jason Womack, is a time management expert. But I want to know what you want to read! Please share your thoughts when you have a few moments.You can write to me directly at victoria@modellomedia.com

    Have a fantastic day!

    Victoria CEO, Modello Media, Inc. 484-454-5731

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