Buzz words are all the buzz these days. Some are fleeting phrases for a moment in time, while others have staying power and are truly profound. This isn’t a post on phrases however, or on the english language. This is the power one word has over me, and how Jamie hit me over the head with it. Words hurt, and words mean something. Authenticity is one of those heavy words that leave a mark when they hit you; like a piece of plywood. While this word strikes me in particular, it is something I have thought about and challenged myself with for a long time. To be authentic is to be what? This blog is new to the world, but the ideas shared here on positivity and forward thinking are not new to me. Not to say I don’t have moments of authenticity failure. Last night I had a minor financial setback involving my mortgage and a mistake Citibank made with my escrow impound increasing my house payment from mildly uncomfortable to squirming in my seat uncomfortable. I had about 45 minutes of authentic failure. I panicked, went immediately to worse case and lost all focus on what was really in front of me. I fell apart for a few minutes. My beautifully talented fiance’ challenged me. She questioned if I am actually living the life I write and talk about (imagine that 99% of my material is yet to be blogged-she knows way too much). Am I full-of-shit? She stopped me in my tracks. The Merriam-Webster definition of authenticity in this context is simply “not false” or to be “real”. Authenticity does not require perfection or even a perfect adherence to one’s own teaching. The intention (another great word), drive, and desire to live our own teaching must be present. Credibility can stand challenged if we are falling too short of our own teaching, but “less than perfect” is not “too short”.
The Authenticity Gremlin can rear it’s ugly head if we feed it our doubt and allow it to grow. We must certainly challenge ourselves to live our own message. A pastor mired in adultery, a police officer addicted to drugs, or a teacher cheating on state testing are not areas of “just falling short”. These are great failures of behavior. Asking them to be perfect, though is impossible. The last time I checked, the only sinless person to ever live was nailed to a cross 2000 years ago. That’s not to say they can’t recover their authenticity. Trust may be challenged and even un recoverable. Trust is earned and received while authenticity is lived and given away. Those of us with a message to share (i’d argue that’s actually all of us) will certainly be held to a higher standard when it comes to our message. You will be your own drill sergeant. I read my own material because I learn from my own words. I am authentic as long as I share my imperfections. Living fully with our passions, dreams, and needs/wants, is not easy. If it was, I wouldn’t have a purpose to write. You will hit bumps in the road on the way to “dreamville”. Keep in mind these 3 things along the way to stay authentic:
1. Has your message changed? The methods and tools may need to adapt and change, but the message should remain the same.
2. Do you believe your message NEEDS to be heard or are you trying to SELL something? Intentions are important and dreams are seldom “get rich quick schemes”.
3. Are others sharing similar messages? Usually this is a good thing. Sometimes being the first to share a message is great. but many times you’re the only one sharing it because it’s right (timing may also be a factor) If, after challenging yourself and your message, you discover its uniqueness is what makes it valuable, then by all means, share it with the world. You’ve done the homework to quiet the Gremlins in your head and are ready to lead the charge.
You know your true authenticity. Check in with yourself. Utilize a system to evaluate your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. I like Getting things Done (GTD) or Seven Habits. The point is to take a look at your map every once in a while to make sure true authenticity.
Rocco De Leo
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