Authenticity is consistently misunderstood many people believe that by revealing and showing the world who they are it will make them vulnerable to manipulation judgment and cause failure. The sad thing is most of us know when someone is not being real or authentic, people read the micro-expressions, tremors of the voice when somebody is bullshitting and telling lies or being inauthentic or as I like to say not showing up.
Because of past judgments of them by well-meaning parents or vindictive friends or even a joke that just pokes them in their sore spot in their beliefs about themselves people learn to cloak and cover up who they really are. This starts his cycle of hiding true emotions feelings and expressions in the individual until that becomes the norm, a protective cloak meant to hide vulnerabilities and at the same time strengthen themselves.
One of the reasons I like using a zoom as a medium to connect with people is that I can watch their faces and their body language and see if there is any dissonance between what they say and what their body language and facial expression tells me, when someone is talking to me on the phone, I don’t have that I don’t have access to the full person that is talking to me.
Over the last 5 years or so being able to BS and to lie with conviction in order to win an argument or a contract or a political decision has become a highly valued skill. With the end of the Trump Presidency perhaps it will be the end of celebrating this particular skill set. Being able to lie is not a valued characteristic (at least not by me) although it may be in the list of skills for many people in business and in politics.
When authenticity started being talked about in the early 2000s it was quickly taken up by the marketing geniuses of the world who subsequently devalued it and almost destroyed the characteristics of it.
If you want to understand the true meaning of authenticity you need to go back to its root. The Latin root of the word “authenticity” is “author”, so being “authentic” it’s about being the “author” of your life. Authenticity is an active and powerful creative process. It’s not about revealing something, it’s about building something; and that something is “YOU”.
Most of us have secret thoughts and public declarations about what we want to be and achieve; is success the expression of our ambitions, is it defined by what we achieve, riches gained and power amassed. What will the end result – how will it be what will be – what is the legacy of our actions and would we pleased to meet this person?
Our authentic state gets ridiculed early and often particularly as humour or a form of humour on the playground glass siblings in family. These wounds start the process of building the armour that hides the real person and marketing/advertising exploits the very same feelings to sell cars, trucks, TV’s, facial creams, tight jeans, special supplements, make up, diet plans, and financial success, the selling all of these exploit the hidden fears of inadequacy that started early in life.
For if you think about it none of us know an anxious child lacking in confidence at birth, for the moment that we are born most of us are secure, then over the unfolding months depending upon our life circumstances and the way we are loved and treated we learn either to be angry, frustrated or to become confident and courageous.
Our economic circumstances of our birth doesn’t seem to change this, as many a poor child has become a successful confident individual contributing to society and many a wealthy child has become a villain taking from society in order to satisfy their ego.
At any time in your life ‘change’ is possible and sometimes required in order to take the next step in your life. It is possible to move to being authentic in all ways of real life, in what you want to create and how you want to create it.
One forgotten fact is you by your actions and your thoughts – you have created the life you have and you can create the life you want. It starts with the desire to live an authentic life, no longer hiding just being oneself. I will not deny but it does take courage you may discover that people like you more I want to be close and that can be very scary and difficult.
People might discover that they don’t like you and that you have been manipulating them by presenting them a character to get them to do what you want. Yes, it’s a risk! The greatest risk not to show up is too your physical, mental and emotional health because sooner or later you will be discovered and you will either love or hate it.
Is it time to make a change, are you fed up! According to Morneau Shepells Mental Health Index, 24 per cent of Canadians indicated that the pandemic has led them to reconsider their professional future and think about switching jobs. A time of enforced semi-isolation has created a space to think about life, your life – what do you want to do with it?
We can help Geoffrey
Always Show Up
Geoffrey has coached CEO’s, leaders, architects, engineers, public speakers and entrepreneurs: Here is a small collection of success stories from the different areas of Geoffrey’s background as a coach. Geoffrey has over 25 years coaching experience. He has led teams for 2010 Winter Olympic Bid, CN Financial Division, Shaw, Rocky Mountaineer, Sandwell Engineering, FKP Architects, Telus and Stantec. Geoffrey taught at the Sauder School of Business, Executive Education, at the University of British Columbia.