What does it take to be authentic?
Authenticity. Do I need to reveal all of myself to be truly authentic? This is a question that comes up in different forms within the Baby Business School group.
It’s also something that has been on my mind particularly during this pregnancy, as I’ve got to know people on different levels. Sometimes it’s a client level, sometimes I’m their client, sometimes it’s friends with a business relationship. When the lines become blurred in the way that you interact with people, I think that being authentic and being true to yourself takes on a different dimension than when you were just in a client-student relationship or client-mentor relationship.
What I want to share with you
You don’t need to display or demonstrate all of the feelings, or all of the thoughts that you have about something, a certain situation or a certain person, in order to feel that you’re being authentic. However, I think that how you choose to act and how you choose to communicate your standpoint and viewpoint about a certain subject, or a certain matter, or a certain person has to be in alignment with how you truly feel deep down. Otherwise, you are being inauthentic.
I think it’s really interesting because the outlook that I take and actively promote is one of erring on the side of the positive. I don’t like to dwell in the negative. I feel that when we dwell in the negative, what we focus on expands, is creates more negativity.
Is not sharing the same as being inauthentic
Sometimes I have to let it out, and I think it’s important to acknowledge your feelings. It’s very rare that I will want to choose to sit and dwell, and mull it over, and talk out any kind of negative emotions that I am feeling, because I don’t feel that it is particularly helpful. If I feel negatively about something or a certain situation but I choose not to share that with people, does that make me inauthentic? Well, no because my barometer or my general standpoint is that I don’t believe in indulging in negativity.
Another side of this authenticity question is, what do you do if you are genuinely quite a private person when it comes to talking about yourself and sharing yourself in your blogs? I talk a lot about showing your personality when you’re writing, or through your writing and not being so formal, so people can really get a chance to get to know you.
The general rule-of-thumb that I give for people is, only share personal details about certain situations in your life that you feel distanced enough from for it to feel that you don’t have people worrying about you. When you’re so in it and it’s so raw that people want to reach out and give you a cuddle and ask if you’re okay- for me, that’s too close to home. I only tend to share information or stories, anecdotes where I feel distanced enough from them that people aren’t worried about me. It doesn’t mean I might not get emotional about what I’m writing if I’m re-conjuring up those emotions, but it’s certainly from a distance. That’s one thing.
The second thing is, is that whilst I share a lot about what I feel, and think, and my attitudes, I actually share very little about my family, share very little about my husband. I share very little about my kids. I’ve shared very little about my personal background- my sisters, my upbringing, my foster family. Shared very limited, if much, information about that side of my life at all.
I don’t feel that that limits me, I don’t feel that it’s necessary for me to go there. If I did feel that it was necessary, then I would share. I have shared some stuff about my husband, but you don’t have to share all of yourself, again, in order for you to be authentic.
Personal vs Personality
What you do have to do is show your personality. Give your personal viewpoint. It’s not about airing all of your dirty linen, your dirty washing in public, but it is about letting people know what you think and how you feel.
I think that that is very, very different from discussing the ins and outs of your private life. As soon as you start talking about how you think and how you feel about certain things, that’s where your vulnerability comes through. You’re doing something that very few people feel 100% comfortable with, which is showing themselves. When you show yourself, you open yourself up for criticism. Nobody likes to be criticized and that’s why people shy away from it, and that’s where you will see your success.
In closing, do you need to be giving everybody everything in order for you to be authentic? No.
Do you need to share all of your thoughts and feelings about certain things in order to be authentic? Absolutely not, but the things that you do share need to be in alignment with your core beliefs.
Lastly, being authentic can be done without sharing all of your stories. It can be achieved by showing your personality, giving your viewpoint, and not being scared to tell people what you really think. You can do that without sharing any personal details at all about who you are, what your family’s doing, and what you had for breakfast. You can do that by just being really real. I hope that is helpful to you and I will see you next time.