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Authenticity: What Is It And How Do You Embrace It?

Source | | H.V. MacArthur

Authenticity is such a hot word but what does it actually mean to be authentic? There are many definitions but they all usually boil down to having our actions match our words and our words lining up with our beliefs and values. It’s a long-winded way of saying that we are who we truly are without imitating or mimicking someone else. We’re not being who we think we “should” be. Instead, we are showing up as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I have literally found myself laid off from a job for being too authentic. The feedback was, “you’re just too opinionated.” So how do we reconcile this mixed message of be authentic but be professional? Well, I’ve come a long way in my career since receiving that feedback. The biggest realization I’ve had that the reason authenticity matters so much in business because it’s critical to building trust not about showing off how “right” you are about a subject or situation.

Below are some tips I’ve collected that have helped my clients and myself navigate that thin line between professionalism and authenticity.

1.    Take the time to know who you are. We are all bombarded with messages from childhood on about how to behave, who to become, what to do with our lives, etc. The list goes on and on. You add to that the deluge of messages we receive from media on what our lives should look like and what success means, it’s tough to hear that voice inside of us that speaks our truth. It is critical to make time to commune with yourself. Whether it’s a solo vacation or a relaxing evening walk, make the space to allow yourself to spend quality time getting know yourself.

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