We’re being encouraged all the time to be ‘authentic’ but what does that really mean? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, authentic means ‘real, genuine’ and ‘true to one’s own spirit or character.’ And beautifully stated by Maya Angelou, “Authenticity is simply telling the truth to yourself and others.”
If we combine all that, authenticity is telling the truth about your genuine self, being true to who you really are at your core. In spiritual terms, we call that core your soul. You really don’t get more original than that.
Who you are at your soul level is your truth, and when you live from that place of truth and conviction and character you create a life that is healthy and fulfilled. But making decisions from your soul-state isn’t just about who you hang out with or which type of yoga you prefer or the hobbies you engage in.
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Here are 5 reasons why being authentic in business kicks a$$:
1. Nobody else’s grass is greener. Sure, their grass may be green and they’ve got this gorgeous garden – but you feel pretty awesome tending to the garden you WANT to be tending. And that’s what you’re doing. You’re working on something that gives you incredible fulfillment, something that stems from your beliefs and the gifts you bring to the world. You’re filling a need that you want to fill and you’re doing it because you can.
When other people achieve their business goals, you either don’t notice because you’re too busy getting your hustle on, or you do notice and want to celebrate them. You no longer compare yourself to others because…well, you know there’s no comparison. Apples/oranges. That kind of thing. Less time wasted wishing for something you don’t really want, and more time spent connecting with the ideas that are true to your own spirit.
2. At the end of the day, you will never feel like you wasted your time; you will never regret showing the world who you really are. Do this, even though it might creep you out: Imagine yourself on your deathbed and ask yourself, what would you regret more? Spending time on a purposeful business idea or hiding behind doubt and uncertainty?
One of the top 5 common regrets of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware who worked in palliative care and wrote a book about it, is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” A life true to myself…what does that mean? An authentic life. All of it. Business included.
Yes, you will work your butt off to go the self-discovery route, create your products and services by continuously checking in with your Self. Yes, you will have to figure out how to market and show the world what you bring is needed. But that time and energy is going to be spent anyway. Might as well make an investment you will think is worthy at the end stages of your life.
3. Imagine a business that is really an extension of who you are. Everything you care about, everything you value, everything you believe in. The things you find fun. The gifts and talents you were born with. All rolled into one profit-making venture. Sounds like a dream, right? There are way too many quotes about dreams come true for me to spout here. Do you think it’s worth investigating why so many human beings say the things they do about chasing dreams?
If there is a chance that you can make every workday feel like a Friday, would you take it? If there is a chance you could wake up in the morning and be as excited about a Monday as you are about a Saturday, would you take it? Being authentic in your business does that for you, because you aren’t putting on a charade or a mask and acting like someone you’re not. There is nothing our spirits want more than to be free; nothing we want more than to be in harmony with ourselves.
Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Your business consumes a large part of your day. Align it with what you think and say; make it an extension of who you are.
4. The difference you make to this world when you are standing in your authentic power will drive you, inspire you and leave you feeling incredibly fulfilled. Sure, there will be tough days and ‘what the heck am I doing?’ days. Then you re-root yourself in your genuine Self and you make a decision that propels you forward. And you want to do it! Why? Because: the difference you make to this world when you are standing in your authentic power will drive you, inspire you and leave you feeling incredibly fulfilled.
Whether your niche is technology or fine arts, law or education, small business or corporation and everything else in between…figure out how you can make a difference to your community in a way that lets your spirit shine. It can be one of the best things you leave behind.
5. People are drawn to the person behind a product. Any business is about relationship building. And much of the time, it’s pretty easy to see the difference between a masquerade and the real deal. Be who you are in your business simply because the connections you make this way will be long-lasting, honest, and mutually beneficial. Isn’t that what you want in a client or customer? Isn’t that what you want in an employee?
And if you’re being ‘real’ in your business, it’s easier to be real in other areas of your life (and vice versa). Which means you will be attracting the same kind of long-lasting, honest and mutually beneficial relationships in all those other parts of your life, too.
Bottom line: Any business is a lot of work from conception to execution. When we are authentic in our business, that work becomes a lot more satisfying.
Which of the points above resonated with you the most?