Noodle on This: Are You Authentic – The Real Deal?

Noodle* on this…
orange stick with 100% real deal printed on it

You are the real deal!

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen – Brene Brown

Do you sometimes feel like you are playing a part in life or that you are hiding behind a mask – “going along to get along;” “telling people what they want to hear;” “keeping your head down;” or “flying below the radar?” Probably, you have used these or similar clichés at one time or another. This is not what being authentic means.

Authenticity takes courage and there are definitely risks to being truly, completely authentic. I know, I have always “marched to the beat of a different drummer” – another cliché – I told the unvarnished truth; I was a lone ranger at times when I should have been a team player. All these things caused bumps in my road of life.  My mother tactfully described my life as a result of taking the road less traveled… (Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled, 1915.)

The decisions I made in my personal life and on the job made some things more difficult than necessary.  This is the downside of authenticity. There is no guarantee that things will turn out as we had hoped or planned. Sometimes, the truly authentic you may annoy others. Friends and co-workers may pressure you to conform and you may be perceived by family members as “the problem child.”

Defining Authenticity

The origin of the word authentic is the ancient Greek word authentikos, which means principal, genuine. French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes (1596 – 1650) described an authentic person as one who follows a moral inner voice that drives that person to act and think responsibility. As an authentic person, you live and act based on your values, purpose and goals, regardless of the pressure put on you by others. Sue Fitzmaurice, the author of the book Purpose (2015) identifies the following characteristics of authenticity

Being authentic means:

  • Being more concerned with truth than opinions;
  • Being sincere and not pretending;
  • Being free from hypocrisy – to “walk your talk;”
  • Knowing who you are and being that person;
  • Being unafraid of others seeing your vulnerabilities;
  • Being confident enough to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself;
  • Being aware to your own feelings;
  • Being free from others’ opinions of you; and,
  • Accepting and loving yourself. 
Benefits of Authenticity

The nice thing about being authentic is that there is nothing to “reveal.” This does not mean that you “overshare” or tell people your deepest, darkest secrets. It means is that you are exactly who and what you appear to be. There is no role playing, no mask or facade. People don’t have to worry about your “hidden agenda” or what you “really want.” Comic Flip Wilson (1938 – 1998) gave us the best definition of what it means to be authentic when he said, What you see is what you get! In other words, wyswyg.

Being authentic means being real. When you are authentic, you don’t waste time and energy worrying about what you said or didn’t say because you are honest; treat others with courtesy and respect; and communicate openly and honestly. In addition, being authentic creates a safe space for the people around you to be authentic too. So, there is less posturing and fewer misunderstandings.

Your Noodle Challenge
Statue of Socrates at the Athens Academy

Statue of Socrates at the Athens Academy

The earliest reference we have to being authentic comes from Socrates (470 – 399 BCE) who said, the unexamined life is not worth living. So, now is the time to examine your life. Are you being authentic? Here is a brief authenticity exercise:

  • Write down a belief or thought you have about yourself.
  • Is the thought or belief true? Can it measured or observed objectively?
  • Does this though or belief help you, or does it cause problems for you? If so, in what way(s)?
  • Does this belief or thought accurately reflect who you really are?
  • Would your family, friends or co-workers be surprised to know that you hold this belief or thought?

Based on your answers to these questions; what will you do to be more authentic. Share your experience with us in the Comment(s) section below.

Consider This…

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  ~ Dr. Seuss

Riddle Me This…

Q: What do you call cheese that is not yours?
A: Nacho Cheese

References

  1.  Madera, J.M., King, E.B., Hebl, M.R., (2012) “Bringing Social Identity to Work: The Influence of Manifestation and Suppression on Perceived Discrimination, Job Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions.” Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2012 Apr;18(2):165-70.
  2. Ménard, J, and Brunet,L (2011) “Authenticity and Well-being in the Workplace: a Mediation Model”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 4, pp.331 – 3.

To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm… and then take action!

Image courtesy of The Entrepreneur’s Mentor Program.

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