Authenticity. Authenticity. Authenticity. Like a yogi chanting an inspirational mantra, so too should we each focus on this idea in all aspects of our lives. It’s not a nice to have. It’s a MUST DO! Personally, professionally, and spiritually.
Those who know me know that the topic of authenticity is likely to get me worked into a frenzy, at times of excitement and at times of frustration. I’ve devoted numerous blog articles and given many talks on this particular topic, not because I just find it fun to address, but because it’s critical to every person with whom I interact.
Authenticity. It’s a fancy word for being true to yourself, to doing what you say, for practicing what you preach. As a leader, your effectiveness and the trust with your followers depends on it. As a parent, your effectiveness in guiding your children to the “promised land” of a fruitful, successful, and fulfilling adult life requires it. As a couple your long-term evolution and sustainability insists on each partner being true both to themselves and accurately portraying a picture of this (including needs, wants, desires, as well as intolerances) with your partner.
Trust and truth. That’s what it boils down to. It’s about consistently remaining steadfastly aware of how the decisions, actions, and reactions one makes toward others may either build or degrade the trust they have in you. And it’s about truth, the alignment of values with actions. No matter the role you’re playing in any relationship (leader, follower, parent, peer, partner), ensuring that alignment may not prevent mistakes from happening, but it will allow you to bounce back with greater understanding of the circumstance and their relation to your inner person and spirit.
Along those lines, several days ago, I read a Harvard Business Review blog article by Dan Pollata entitled Never Lie About Who You Are. While Dan’s focus was on being true to his sexual orientation, the message is applicable to all walks of life. In particular, the following excerpt was particularly germane (and inspiring) with regard to our ongoing exploration of success:
“Identify your truths. Write a personal values manifesto. You can’t know if your values are being violated if you’re ambiguous about what they are. Second, learn to develop a sixth sense for when your line is being crossed. It may be a gut feeling. A nervous laugh. A habit of rationalizing.”
After all, being true to yourself and about who you truly are, your values, beliefs, personality, your strengths, and, yes, your weakness, scars, and skeletons, is critical to finding success in your life. So, as you evaluate the success you’ve experienced over the past year and plan for those you’ll achieve in the upcoming months and years, consider Dan’s message. As a straight man, his message speaks just as powerfully as if I was gay. It’s not an issue of sexual orientation. It’s an issue of being human.
I hope it speaks to you as it did to me……Because success flows from authenticity.