By Dr. Barbara Seifert, CPC
Lately, the one theme I repeatedly see is the need to be authentic and true to one’s self. I see it in posts from coaches I follow on Facebook and Twitter; from some of the big gurus, such as John Maxwell and Martha Beck in books and magazines I read; and in movies and TV shows I’ve watched. Being authentic seems to be everywhere! I often wonder if it is just me that pays attention when words or phrases seem to frequently ‘pop up’ or do others; do you find yourself seeing these hidden messages?
I think my example is one way that I work to be true to myself as it would be easy to deny that I often incorporate these inspirational messages in the direction for my life, as some people might think this sounds ‘crazy.’ I could easily hide and go with the flow of being like those who are dismissive; however, I would then suffer the consequences of devaluing myself and being untrue. I have to admit that I have been guilty in the past of doing so, mainly out of fear of rejection and not feeling as if I fit in. After all, it’s no fun to be the odd man (or woman) out.
When we’re not authentic to who we are, we are really saying that we don’t believe we can be, that others would be so unaccepting of who and what we are about that we have to think and act like they do in order to be accepted. I often see this with leaders and business owners; they adopt a style that is based on what they believe others want and they go along with what those big gurus promote; it’s as if they don’t have a mind of their own. Sadly, what they don’t realize is that they blend in – not stand out which keeps them from growing and leading their businesses effectively.
When you are authentic and true to who you are:
- You base all your actions on what you want, not others
- You go along with the latest trends and fads
- You feel frustrated or guilty when you aren’t doing what you want to do
- You immediately accept an idea without giving it thought, research or time to see if it is a good ‘fit’; the opposite is when you immediately reject something (or someone) when others do
If you identified with any of these behaviors, again I would say that you are not alone; this is a phenomenon of “groupthink,” which is when you go along with what the majority of the group wants, mainly out of fear of rejection or reprisal. Going along with what others do might be easy on the surface but the toll it takes on your ego and confidence level can be catastrophic; the façade can last but you’ll stay hidden, small, and exactly where you are now. If that feels comfortable for you, then you can ignore this article; but if you are tired of going with the crowd and wanting to finally be who you are then here are three quick steps to help:
1. Understand Your Motivation
Look inside yourself and at certain situations where you found that you weren’t being true to you, and analyze what was going on at the time – this is where you can take a look-back at your role in the situation and why you felt the need to hide behind a mask, if you will; were you worried that you would look bad, get yelled at, or was it a political decision to go along. Understanding your motivation is the first step to being true to you
2. Who Are You?
The next step is to take a deep, hard look at who you are and what you stand for; this might be harder than you think especially if you’ve been hiding yourself for a long time. Make a list of your strengths, your beliefs, ideas and behaviors that are natural for you, beliefs you have, whether religious, political, work-related or ethical as these are core beliefs we usually live and die by.
3. Act and Think Accordingly
Finally, armed with the knowledge you’ve uncovered, acknowledge and respect them; commit to holding yourself accountable to only thinking and acting according to your own standard. Validate every time you do as this will increase your confidence and self-esteem, as well as drawing the things you want to you.
“Be Yourself – Everyone else is already taken!” (anonymous)
Dr. Barbara Seifert, CPC is the President of Committed to Your Success Coaching & Consulting in Orlando, Florida. She works with small business owners & solopreneurs who want to achieve measurable and life-long improvements in their performance so they can make more money, have greater satisfaction and achieve personal and professional success. She also coaches in organizations to enhance employee engagement and for leadership development. Dr. Seifert is an adjunct professor, a certified professional coach, a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner and a Certified Law of Attraction coach. She is a coauthor of the book, Contagious Optimism and a Premier Career and Business Coach for the American Society of Training & Development. You can learn more by visiting www.cyscoaching.com and Your Career Success Blog at www.allaboutcareerssite.com, which was named one of the Top 100 Life Coaching Blogs to Follow in 2013.