Being Authentic – It’s Not as Easy as We Think

Being Authentic – It’s Not as Easy as We Think

Simply put, being authentic is just being yourself. Yet to be authentic, it takes self-awareness. Many of us think we know who we are and what’s important to us, but are we living in a world of lies and self-deception?

I recently read an article that showed research finds children start becoming influenced by society as early as age 5. Our greatest influencers are parents, teachers and peers. Year after year, from an early age we are being fed the “rights and wrongs”, the “dos and don’ts” from so many people it’s completely understandable how we can lose touch with our own values and beliefs. So, when we are in our 30s, 40s or beyond and we say we are being authentic, is that really the case?

The answer is possibly.


Where does true authenticity lie?

True authenticity lies within the subconscious and are affirmed by emotions. Can you think of a time you did something and felt totally elated? What about a situation where you felt really mad? These emotional triggers are usually tied into your values either being honored or stepped on.

I’m currently helping my 89 year old mother-in-law with an issue she’s having with her landlord. They were doing renovations to the heating and air conditioning system in her building and she for 5 months her apartment was a construction zone. The province she lives in has very clear-cut laws about renovations and her landlord didn’t abide by them. Even throughout the process, they did little to expedite the work or provide her with acceptable living conditions. This set off alarms for my value of respect. I strongly believe you treat people decently. When my children were young they would come home from school with the typical childhood issues. My response was “you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you always have to be nice”. I can’t turn back the clock for my mother-in-law, but I can get her landlord to acknowledge how she was treated and come to some type of apology for what they put her through. The strength in one’s believe drives them into action – to change a wrong to a right – to do the right thing.

An authentic act could be a small thing like giving up your seat on a bus or something major like travelling around the world to help victims of a tragedy. The sheer act of being authentic comes from an inner motivation aimed at others. That inner motivation is directly tied to your core values or beliefs.

So, when is the last time you looked at what makes you authentic? Here are 3 ways to do it:

  1. Think of a situation that made you mad and ask yourself why. Write down your answer. Read your response and then ask yourself again, why that bothered you. Write down your answer and repeat the process one last time. You’re likely going to hit the mark of a core value.
  2. Close your eyes and picture being a fly on the wall at your funeral. People are talking about you and sharing stories. They are talking about the legacy you have left and the impact you made on their lives. What are they saying about you?
    Write down what comes to mind and think about why these things are important to you.
  3. Ask people who know you best. Ask 2 -3 people who are closest to you to share their thoughts on what makes you unique, what they see as being very important to you and what they value in you as a friend. This type of feedback may be more eye-opening than you can imaging.


Cindy Gordon is the owner of Business Rescue Coaching. Cindy works with organizational leaders to raise the bar on their leadership capacity, calling them forth to lead from a place of meaningful purpose and authenticity. This enables employees to be better informed about their contribution to the purpose and their impact on others driving workplace happiness and engagement. She offers a variety of services that focus on leadership development and financial success for businesses of all sizes.

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