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”.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if this is as good as it gets? You may be successful based on today’s standards. Yet you still feel like there is so much more to be had. You had a dream at one point in your life. Your dreams have now been replaced with responsiblities and excuses. I, like most little boys, wanted to be a professional baseball player growing up. I think, at one point, I wanted to be God or Santa Clause as well. The God and Santa Clause dreams may have been a bit far fetched, but a little boy dreaming of making the Major Leagues, or the little girl making it with a major dance production is as American as Apple Pie and the Fourth of July. These are real. And these are big.
Most kids give up on those dreams early on, and for most of them, me included, their talent level crushes their dreams. With the last day of Pay-to-Play Little League or Pay to Dance Studios, the dream, and the ability to dream seem to disapear. Why is it, as anadult professional, with college degrees, professional titles, two cars and a mortgage, you can’t give yourself a break even in your dreams? I’ve done it. I still do it. “CEO…can’t do it, I don’t have a Harvard degree”. “Publish a book…naw, not me, I don’t own any sport coats with elbow patches, that’s for professional authors”. You give yourself excuse after excuse to accept mediocrity, even in your dreams. Author Jon Acuff, in his book Quitter, discusses achieving a dream as a three step process. Start with a Passion. What are you passionate about? Practice this passion in a low risk environment for a while to get good. I am currently in the practice phase of my own dream. I have a 4 day old baby sleeping in the room with me. I should be sleeping. Instead I’m writing to an audience of maybe 10 people. 5 of whom, I’m sure are trying to sell me something. And finaly, after getting good at your dream, Plan your dream. Passion, practice, plan. You don’t even get past Passion, you tell yourself that its impossible. Many of you don’t have a dream because you haven’t discovered your passion yet. I’ll address discovering passion in an upcoming post. Here’s a list of the who’s who of dream killers, what Brene’ Brown refers to as Gremilins in her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead:
1. I don’t have time
2. I’ll focus on my dream after the kids graduate
3. Who do I think I am?
4. I’m not as good as those other guys
5. I’ll start after I get a new (computer, car, tool box, etc)
6. We are moving, I can’t start my dream now
7. There’s already too many people doing my dream
8. My spouse isn’t supportive
9. I don’t know how to do/get started (insert dream)
10. My dream doesn’t pay enough
This is only a short list of excuses. There’s a hundred for every dream out there. The bottom line is you can achieve your dream if you want it bad enough. There’s a hundred succesful people living out thier dreams for each one of the above excuses. Start today with your passion. What do you enjoy and why do you enjoy it? I want to dig deeper into this in future posts. For now, share with me what your dream is? Dare to dream big with courage and determination. You have one life to live, live it to the fullest.
Rocco De Leo