The Journey to Authenticity


Do you ever speak with a prospect while carrying on an internal dialog with yourself, asking yourself WHY they’d want to work with you or buy your product?

In some situations, do you find it hard to describe what you do with any energy or enthusiasm?

What’s sucking the energy and joy out of you in those moments may be that you’re feeling inauthentic. You might feel you’re overstating your value. You question why someone would want to work with you.

Experiencing yourself as authentic is key to your entrepreneurial success! Here are the stages you’ll pass through along the way to full authenticity.

The Journey to Authenticity Starts With BOXES

When we’re young, we can be labelled and put into boxes. We’re the special child, the athletic child, the good kid or the bad kid. Right away, we get labelled and pigeon-holed in our families.

In school, we also get labelled. You’re hanging out with the jocks or the nerds or the cute girls – again, the labels.

After-we get out of high school, we can feel societal/family/cultural pressure to follow a certain path.

This is what my path looked like.

greenyellowcheckmarkI went to college, so I got to check the “college” box.

 

greenyellowcheckmarkI got a great job straight out of college. I checked the “great job” box.

 

greenyellowcheckmarkI got married. I checked the “marriage” box.

 

_____   I decided not to have kids, so I chose to not check the “kids” box.

I felt like I’d checked all the boxes I was aware of.

At that point, I had my first midlife crisis, at age 28. I looked around at my life and thought “IS THIS IT?” Will my life be just like this til I retire? Because retirement was the only other box I was aware of. And it was way far off in the distance. This was a horrible feeling – I wasn’t enjoying my own life.

Phase 2: Exploring Options

Clearly things had to change. However I wasn’t 100% sure of the right thing to do. I just knew change was MANDATORY. I left and divorced my husband; I left my job and started a government contracting firm with a colleague. Things got better. I wasn’t all the way into full happiness and full expression, but I was way further along than when I was 28.

Exploring options is often uncomfortable. You’re watching everyone else do things a certain way and it looks like it’s working for them. You try it, but it doesn’t work for you.

That leads to stress. You ask yourself: “Doesn’t everyone else know what they’re doing? Am I the only confused one?!

Despite your reservations, you may feel like you’ve got no choice. You’ve got to leave your existing path and find a different path.

In the midst of exploring other paths, there’s a lot of uncertainty which we humans hate! We don’t like not knowing what the heck is going on in our own life.

In this phase, you can experience moments of stress/uncertainty and occasional flashes of “Yeah – this is right – everything is working perfectly!

Exploring options phase is followed by ….

Phase 3: Coming Home to Your Authentic Self.

What is this mysterious authentic self? We’ve all had experiences of it and it’s hard to verbalize.

Elements of your authentic self:

  1. Know your values and live according to those values. You will be very uncomfortable when you do work that’s against your core values. Being authentic requires knowing your values and living in accordance with them.
  2. Understand and live in your strengths. You understand your strengths and feel confident you can rely on them. You use your strengths in your important work and life efforts.
  3. Be with like-minded people. When you’re following a societal or family script and checking the boxes, you end up hanging out with people who may or may not be really aligned with you.

When I look back – my first husband was a good guy. We were good buddies but not a lifelong match. For me, that’s a profound example of not being with MY people.

When you’re living authentically, you spend a lot of time with your like-minded people. They‘re part of your company, your career field; when you go to conference you’re surrounded by them. You have like-minded friends in your social and spiritual lives.

  1. Serve a purpose bigger than yourself, benefitting other people. You’re engaged in work that benefits not only you, it helps other people. This happens in your work and outside of it: in your spiritual, social and volunteer efforts.

In authentic phase, feelings are TREMENDOUS.

  1. Confidence! You feel solid and grounded on the inside because you’re living in accordance with your values and strengths. And there’s lightness as well. There’s less stress. You’re less affected by other people outside you. It’s not that you don’t care; but your focus is on your sphere of influence vs. sphere of concern per Stephen Covey.
  2. CLARITY. Decisions are much easier and you have much less 2nd guessing because you’re getting strong clear internal guidance.

That guidance from your clarity on your values and intimate connection to your spiritual source. You’re connected into something bigger than yourself. Combine your inner guidance with strong spiritual guidance and you’re receiving you big downloads.

  1. Satisfaction and significance!

When you’re doing great work in the service of a purpose bigger than yourself, you feel a huge sense of significance. You see how your efforts contribute to this larger end. You feel satisfied and significant.

CALL TO ACTION

Four key elements of living an authentic life are:

  1. Know and honor your values
  2. Know and use your strengths
  3. Be with your like-minded people
  4. Serve a purpose bigger than yourself

If you’re not clear on these, I invite you to start exploring one of these four elements.

If this feels too large and you’d like support on the way, I invite you into a complimentary call with me, where we can discuss your life and career goals and explore whether coaching together will help you get to your authentic life faster and more easily than you would on your own. Simply email me and we’ll easily set up a time to chat.

Speak Your Mind

*