You know that feeling you get when you’ve been fake – the one that leaves you with an “I’ve just compromised myself” sigh?
It’s once I’d reached my quota of such sighs that I became passionate about pursuing authenticity in myself, and I hope to encourage it in you too.
It’s a rush
I find myself totally drawn to authentic people. Don’t you? And it’s when I’ve been real that people have shared their vulnerabilities with me. Inevitably, face-locked conversations follow. I just love those! It was during a girls’ break-away in Swellendam, South Africa in December 2016 that the penny dropped for me: exploring authenticity and living it is what I want to do – as a way of life, and as a means of life. And I committed then, to taking along with me on this journey as many women as I can.
I felt like I’d come home during that cathartic break. My heart raced during some of our no-holds-barred conversations. And it made me realise that we’re all wanting, imperfect beings trying to navigate our way in this complex world. No-one has conclusive answers. So, the sooner we come clean about our shortcomings, the sooner we can get on with life – accepting and dishing out help as we go.
It’s true that women can chat easily, and sometimes go on for hours (even when they’re perfect strangers). This, while reticent boyfriends (or husbands) look on, whilst transferring their weight restlessly from one foot to another. I totally appreciate that there’s a time and place for everything, but you can simply not spurn genuineness when it comes to you like a rich slice of chocolate cake. And a supermarket aisle is no exception: I once saw two women face-locked in conversation with tears streaming down the face of one of them. While most people would have felt embarrassed for her, I felt a surge of inspiration. It was authenticity in motion.
Not for the faint-hearted
I recently attended a funding fair, and a certain Paul Kim related in the most authentic, down-to-earth way his failures whilst working as CEO at a previous company. His simple, yet engaging manner shone through as he came clean about his shortcomings during his tenure. His was by far the most impactful speech of the various speakers on the bill. And speaking to other attendees afterwards, his name was mentioned several times as the most engaging speaker. It would have taken a lot of courage for Paul to be so forthright – so authentic.
Being authentic certainly has far-reaching benefits. Yet, we often insist on mimicking others at the expense of our own growth. Why?
Allowing people a glimpse into who you really are (and what’s really going on) takes a lot of courage. But it will leave you feeling empowered every time; and those looking on are bound to be inspired in turn.
Go on, dare to be the true you, because you can.