Your Authentic Self Is Right Now, Not Some Distant Goal
Most people approach authenticity as "find out who you are, and become that person." And in the current world environment, this call to be authentic is growing louder every day. It's especially true as an entrepreneur.
Not only are you supposed to offer something of value, but you need to do it in a way that's different from everyone else and accurately reflects who you are. People want to see behind your mask, understand your journey, and know what makes you worth following.
We say that's authenticity as a leader in the business world. And that's also a lot of pressure. No wonder entrepreneurs feel so overwhelmed!
Of course, finding authenticity in your brand is entirely different from understanding yourself. We'll stick with the latter because personal authenticity is foundational to creating an authentic brand.
What Authenticity Is Really About
Knowing yourself is incredibly valuable. I'm an advocate of self-discovery, honoring yourself, and growing in your strengths. However, "authenticity" has lost its meaning, especially in the business world.
On the surface, to "be authentic" makes sense, yet so many people trip over themselves trying to describe it. At the same time, we say authenticity is what customers want most in a business, and I agree.
The problem, then, must lie in our understanding of authenticity and what "finding yourself" really means.
The phrase "finding authenticity" indicates there's a destination. If that's true, then "being authentic" becomes the goal. Adding that to an already exhausting list as an entrepreneur can feel paralyzing.
But, what if I told you authenticity isn't something you achieve? Discovering yourself is not a destination; it's here right now. You're already present.
You'll never arrive at this point where you have everything figured out about yourself. So, please, let this striving go. Instead, you can permit yourself to experience this moment in its fullest capacity.
I believe authenticity, at its core, is all about two things:
- Acknowledging your current reality.
- Having the courage to share this with others.
You don't need to discover this deep secret within yourself to answer: "Who am I?" Instead, you can allow the entire complexity of the universe to reveal who you are at this very moment.
Because who you are, right now, is the fullest capacity of your authentic self.
You can't be yourself five years from now. Nor can you be yourself tomorrow, an hour from now, or last week. You can only access who you are in the present.
Ways to Practice Authenticity
If you want to practice authenticity right now, here are a few things that have helped me on my own journey of self-discovery:
Give permission to what you're experiencing right now.
Life happens. We might think that our "real life" will begin once we reach a checkmark or get past a certain point. However, all those things we label as inconveniences in our "real life" actually make up our real life, so let's start acknowledging it.
Be honest with yourself first.
Most people are lying to themselves. Once you're honest with yourself, it will be much easier to open up and be honest with others. Take time for self-searching, and don't hold back. Leave some room to ponder what you're currently experiencing in life.
Don't be afraid to get vulnerable with others.
Being who you are in the moment and sharing that self with those around you is one of the most authentic actions you can take. You don't need to share all the gritty details, but simply acknowledging that it's been a rough day is perfectly okay. It's likely others will respect you even more for being honest with them.
Remember, this isn't always a "feel good" journey.
Your authentic self doesn't mean your best self. We often think "finding yourself" is this happy-go-lucky adventure. But being truly authentic means being true to the moment. That means acting authentically isn't always pretty. Authenticity isn't covering up the bad and the ugly. Instead, it's being true to the moment, recognizing when those things happen, being brave enough to share it, and setting boundaries where needed.
Let's Practice Authenticity, Rather Than Find It
Let's stop confusing authenticity as a destination.
Instead, let's view it as a journey we get to experience in life. Rather than answering, "Who am I?" let's ask, "Who am I NOW?" What are you experiencing, right now, in this moment, in this season of life?
Practicing authenticity takes self-awareness and the ability to be present. It also takes courage to deal with the mess we sometimes feel, being okay with whatever that might be, and taking small steps to share our journey with those around us.
Stepping Into Your Authentic Self
Do you want to get more comfortable with who you are right now?
Then join my free 7-Day Challenge! Inside, I'll reveal how you can recognize your voice and feel empowered to use it. By feeling comfortable in your authentic self, you can create more freely, which makes being an entrepreneur all the more rewarding.
Signing up is quick and easy. And what better time than now, in this very moment, to start the journey? Your future self will thank you, and I would feel honored to see you inside.
Until next time, my friend.