This is another word that is bandied about these days because it sounds sexy and cool. Words like this often lose their real meaning because when it gets “branded” we start to associated the word with whatever has made it popular. And that is all fine, but it is good to sometimes look up the word and to see what it is about the word that is stirring us.
So what does Authenticity mean? And more importantly what does it mean to you and your business, team or life? Well i am glad you asked…..
The definition of Authentic
- worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.
- conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features.
- made or done the same way as an original.
- not false or imitation : real, actual an authentic cockney accent
and my favourite:
- true to one's own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions
One of my top five Cliftonstrengths is WOO, this stands for Winning Others Over, I have a natural knack for connecting and building rapport with strangers. I walk into a room full of strangers and think “oh goody, look at all these new friends I am about to meet” I can strike up conversations with people quite easily.
I also like to be liked and this can be a bit of a chink in my armour, because growing up, I learned to fit in with the group by becoming a chameleon in my pursuit to belong. I became whatever people needed me to be so that I would be accepted. I would even start to laugh like them. Thank goodness I now know the difference between belonging and fitting in. Thanks Brene Brown. ;-)
The problem with fitting in, it is often at the expense of being authentic and when we are “being” someone else, it is an act we have to keep it up and it can be exhausting. Because when you "fit in" you have to be whatever they are expecting you to be. The danger is also that the longer you act the part, the more you start to forget who you really are.
In business we think that we often have to be all things to all people in order to get and keep the business. Or we have to “BE” this or that kind of person for our team. As well meaning as this is, it is unsustainable. It is a good idea to figure out why YOU are not good enough and then either up skill, learn or develop yourself to meet that expectation or you need to manage the expectation.
Managing people’s expectations is incredibly powerful and time saving too. If you are not able to meet expectations that people are putting out there, it is better to let them know up front rather than pretending to be someone that you are not. Be authentic! It is a brave thing to do as a leader when the expectation is that you are bullet proof. Or when your clients think you are a magician.
How can you be authentic with your team today? What does the authentic You look like? When is the last time you sat down to figure out who you really are, at home, in business and in life?
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. Oscar Wilde