In this blog I am busting a few myths around authenticity and also how we become more aware of our own authenticity. Authenticity is usually taken as a given by most people. We always end up thinking of ourselves as living our authenticity. The myth of authenticity busts with me realizing my own inauthentic self. Here I would like to share a story from my life. A few years ago I came home from work very tired, my that days’ facilitation topic was for Top Leadership self awareness. As I entered my home I realized that my kids were in a bad mood and did not want to eat the food that my cook had put on the table. My husband was traveling and I was the one who at that point of time was in the receiving end for my kids tantrums. I was very tired and the negotiations with my children were sapping me of my energy. Just then the door bell rang and there was a young man standing on the door for donations. I am not sure what took over me, but I was furious, I told him this was not the right time and slammed the door. My daughter who was seven years old at that time was standing behind me. She looked at me with disgust and said, “Do you realize what you just did?” “You shouted at that man for no mistake of his, you were angry with us but you threw your tantrum on him.” She walked back to the dining table leaving me shocked. I apologized o her , she said”What about that man?”. I called the gate security but that man had already left. I sat quite, very quite, my breathing was loud in my ears. I was becoming aware of my own duality, also feeling the embarrassment of being caught red handed by my own daughter. This was a lesson for me in practice of authenticity. This incident triggered my sensitivity towards my authentic self.
Who am I? What are my thought processes? What are my choices? How do I use my power and position? Thinking one thing, Saying something, Doing another thing creates an incongruence within us, which makes us clearly inauthentic. It blurs all communication and leads to mistrust. Sometimes I may not be even aware of my own inauthenticity, it might be so well ingrained in my behaviour that I might be completely blind to it. In fact I may say, that is how life is or that is the only way to be. Inauthenticity becomes our comfort zone. However as a leader you cannot live in that comfort zone, because as a leader you will get enough signals and feedbacks and if you are open enough, these will become a trigger to your growth. A leader who wants to grow has to be a congruent and authentic being. Events of inauthenticity will occur but to become aware of the incongruence within self at that point in time is an important step towards honouring our authentic self.
Few principles of authenticity:
- Resonance produces ease
- Say and do what you deeply resonate with, this produces a certain ease inside of you. There is less burden on the shoulders and a sense of peace in the body. It seems like the right thing to do.
- Dynamic reality
- Important to realize that authenticity is in the moment, becoming aware of what is authentic and real for you in the moment is crucial. Every breath that we take in time of an action has to be noticed . Holding the awareness for choice in an action is what makes a leader great.
- Compassion for Self
- Awareness of the inauthentic self can sometimes be a shocking realisation where the first response might be to blame self. How do we hold ourselves with compassion and create space for our growth determines our rooting into our Leadership.
- It is easy to brush inauthenticity under the carpet and give a strategic point of view. Finding courage to accept our own vulnerability to falter is a quality that will differentiate leaders of tomorrow.