Authenticity is an essential part of confidence. If you’re going to be confident, then surely you want to be confidently your self, not some constructed mask you imagine you should be or others expect you to be? What is authentically you? How can you allow that to shine through and at the same time be professional, mother, father, partner, friend, colleague etc?
When I work with clients I notice they are at their most animated, powerful and confident when they are being their self. They speak about what they are passionate about in a way that expresses that passion. Consequently, they use words, gestures, body positions and energy that uniquely expresses them. When you tap into that, it animates the mask of professional, father, daughter and partner with your own authentic energy and power.
The Power of Masks
Some people feel more comfortable hiding behind a mask that does not show their real self. I understand that. To leave your self feeling vulnerable can be very threatening, particularly when life experience teaches you that vulnerability leads to pain, suffering and humiliation. Some people think they have to be a particular way, fit into a mould because that is the way it should be done. Perhaps it has always been done that way? I understand that. To break with tradition can be threatening, challenging and can lead to change. Perhaps you don’t have the confidence to do it your way, so you play it safe using other people’s methods.
When I started teaching martial arts, I basically copied my teacher. I did the best to do it the way he did it. It got good results, even though I felt a conflict inside that I had to be a certain way. In time I have learned to modify the model, so that my authenticity shines through in the role that I play. It is a choice. John Grinder and Richard Bandler, the co- creators of NLP (Neuro- Linguistic Programming), studied the qualities of people with success and found a way to get people to embrace those qualities and at the same time be their authentic selves. Learning from others is essential, yet you want to take the time to integrate the learning so that you can be you.
How do you access that power and potency?
This is what I have observed:
- Be honest. How you feel about something is powerfully authentic. Be mindful how you express those feelings. Needless expression that upsets others is not your best self. Find a way to express your experience of things that shows your human- ness. Your life is full of joy, pain, fear, moments of pride and so much more. Share that.
- Live passionately. Find the things that light you up inside. It doesn’t have to be about your career, it can be about any aspect of your life. Passion in one area leaks into all areas. And for those areas that you struggle to find passion in, try and find or create at least one aspect that allows you to feel and express your authentic passion. If that doesn’t work, let the passion from the other areas of your life flood in. That will help to get you through.
- Know thyself. This ancient aphorism has challenged people throughout time. Yet, if you can go through the process of getting to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you begin to accept your full self and develop a handle on your authenticity. Play to your strengths and work on developing the other areas of your character. Dr. Martin Seligman, a key researcher in Positive Psychology, speaks about working with your innate strengths as a way of developing happiness in your life. Conversely, all the other qualities you need to do your job well or be a great parent or partner, you want to nurture, along with your innate strengths.
- Be brave. It takes courage to be authentically you. To be visible and vulnerable can be a real challenge. Even to be honest with your self can be hard. To do so in front of others can be tough. Yet, in my experience, people appreciate and respect you for your vulnerability because they know how brave you have been to be so authentic. The experience can be quite liberating as you step out from behind the false façade and show the truth.
- Practice. Like a sapling or a shoot, the first tentative steps in growth can leave you feeling weak and exposed. As you push through the process and continue to grow in this way, you grow in strength, confidence and belief. You have all the qualities required to live the life you want on your terms. Those qualities you don’t have and you require, you will learn your self. Or you will bring someone else in to do it for you. In that you become a leader.
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So on the eve of this new year, please consider your authenticity and share it with the world. Humanity does not need a clone of another person, it needs you. It wants you to be your greatest and fullest self. You can contribute something magnificent and unique to the world. You are doing it already (for more see The Little Signs of Greatness). I invite you to embrace that and share in your greatest in 2017 and beyond.
Over to You
How do you show up? How are you authentic in the world? Do you struggle with authenticity? If there was one authentic act you would do this year, what would it be? As ever, I would love to hear from you as you offer your experience, advice and thoughts on claiming and expressing your authenticity to create an on- line resource for people who are sharing the journey you are on. If you know of anyone who would enjoy and benefit from this blog please pass it on. You can also sign up to the Potentiality Coaching monthly newsletter to get news, views and ideas from the world of Potentiality Coaching. Also, you can sign up for my new Confidence e- course which is free and full of exercises, resources and videos to help you do the work to grow in confidence. You can sign up here.
Happy New Year!!!!!!