Take Inventory. When you are at your very best, how does it feel? Do you have one self that is different in front of various audiences – the self with your family, the self with your co-workers, the self when you meet someone new or the back in time self you had in your formative years? I love this video of this Boy Giggling – Being his True Authentic Self . No one is telling him to be quiet and he is full on enjoying life. He hasn’t learned that uncontrollable laughter is not common place. He is in the moment and you can see the happiness emanating from his soul. This is one example of being your Authentic Self. To net it out, when you are your Authentic Self, you are not overthinking what you are saying, you are not worried about how people will perceive you, you are living life without self inflicted restraints. Your spirit is happy and you smile often.
Wherever you go., there you are. A very special, close family friend coined this phrase and it has lived a lifetime in our circle. It was said initially in a self-deprecating, but also empowering way. Basically the net of it is, make the most of the moment and make the most of the people you are with. I can say with confidence that wherever I am, it’s where I want to be. If I attend your party or special event, it is because I truly care about you and want to invest the time. If I’m invited to something that I don’t want to be present at by a close friend, I tell them. Being direct and honest, I try to lead by example. I want my friends to have the same freedom. Be where you want to be, when you want to be there. I see some of my friends and family members struggle with commitments and overextending themselves out of guilt. What they don’t realize, is their authentic selves come through and the fact that they are not genuinely excited and don’t truly want to be there drains the positive energy in the room. When you are you true authentic self, it is incredibly liberating. Everyone wins. It has a multiplier effect.
You are the sum average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. I believe this is true. There is an everyday dimension and a professional work dimension to this if you work outside the home. At work, I have been fortunate to work on very high performing teams where the collaboration is strong and an open challenger mentality has helped bring a better competitive offering to market. I have also been on teams that have run their course and stagnated. Diagnosing that experience, it was not that work was not compelling, it was that the people were no longer growing and learning. The adage is also true, that the team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. The weak link brings down the sum average of the 5.
On the personal side, your friend network can also build you up or tear you down. I think it takes a lot of years to get to a place where one can quickly identify a negative influence and shut off the oxygen supply to it. The ideal is to have a strong healthy group of friends who support each other and don’t individually demand the spotlight. My friend group has a diverse set of talents, experiences, and above all I think the majority of the group is very confident. This is a winning combination to set the foundation for life long friendships and stand out memories. Confidence is the enemy of insecurity. Confidence breeds and propels people to be their best authentic selves. When you have 5 confident and caring people, the sum average is off the charts.
How Authentic are You? Out of curiosity, I did a little research. There is an online assessment that scores your authentic self. I did this assessment; part as a lark and part out of sincere interest. You can do it yourself here at Authenticity Assessment . I took the assessment and scored a 273 out of 300. So is 300 possible, probably. The interesting thing is the lead of this Authenticity Movement is Norma T. Hollis and she is making a career out of teaching others to 1) To be real with themselves 2) Train and coach those who want to live a fuller life and be more authentic and 3) Identify those who are passionate believers and already living an authentic life to be presenters and life coaches. For taking the assessment, everyone gets a 30 minute live coaching session. Great business model. If you sign up for the training $9,999/year that 30 minute investment pays off. While, I’m unlikely to do the training because really what will an additional 27 points get me in the real world? I am interested in having the conversation to learn more about her approach. Free coaching, free learning, always say yes as you have little to lose.
To sum it up, being your Authentic self is allowing your true soul to be visible. Something everyone should and can strive for.