Twice this week I’ve been bowled over by messages of appreciation. Neither occasion was it expected. I hadn’t tried to please or garner such feedback. In fact I’d not even been sure that I was right.
However, I had trusted my own intuition, thoughts and experiences and had spoken from the heart. I had just been myself – my inner self. I had also been willing to risk being wrong.
Authenticity suits you
Sometimes the question of “being authentic” at work feels a little abstract. How do I achieve authenticity, the real me, my inner self?
Looking to Wikipedia there’s a great initial definition which for me captures the broad essence of authenticity :
“Authenticity refers to the truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.”
Not your common business parlance is it… However, doesn’t it capture the essence of how we’ve been raised to live our lives? I’m not talking about righteousness but about being true to ourselves; being sincere; upholding our commitments; ensuring our intentions are good.
So actually being authentic is very straightforward – we’ve been raised to be authentic. Most of us will live our social lives exactly in this way. All it requires is for you to speak and act truly about your own feelings, thoughts, and intentions. That can’t be hard can it?
Am I willing to risk being wrong ?
Often what stops us being authentic is the fear of failure, the fear of being wrong.
In today’s business environment the immediacy of knowledge and the “fight to be right” can sometimes suppress instinct and even wisdom. We strive to eliminate errors and reduce risks through carefully planned processes and procedures. Failure is seen as weakness not a learning opportunity achieved.
As a consequence, we are cautious, we conform, we find safety in numbers. We are less willing to risk being wrong.
Yet all our learning has been through trial & error. We have learnt through taking risks and trying to get it right but willing to be wrong.
Ask yourself “Am I willing to risk being wrong?”. Check that you are not suppressing your own intuition, thoughts and experiences with the fear of failure.
When you take that risk not only will the authentic you be more apparent but the chances are you won’t be wrong!