Authenticity: Keeping It Real
I was recently having a conversation with a client I was consulting when he asked me a question I didn’t know the answer to. I paused for what seemed like an eternity but turned out to be about 3 seconds before responding. What did I say? Did I BS my way through it so I didn’t ruin my credibility? Nope. What I did do was even further establish the level of authenticity that we had in our relationship.
Honesty. Yupp, that’s it. I just told him the truth. I told him I wasn’t sure of the answer but that I would figure it out and get back to him with a solution. That resulted in him understanding I didn’t know that answer but that I would solve the problem and keep moving forward.
You don’t have to be the smartest. You don’t have to be the slickest and maneuver your way through conversations with people. You do have to be honest if you want to establish the level of authenticity required to be successful or at least I believe so. For example, if you pump up your resume with things you’ve never done and then during the interview you’re asked about something you lied about, how hard will it be to continue that lie? Probably not hard during the interview. But what happens when it comes time to show off that skill that you flaunted so willingly? You’re screwed. You destroy the trust that was built during the interview process. You lied. So here you are trying to explain why you lied instead of trying to figure out a solution.
Honesty & Authenticity
It’s always better to be honest about what you don’t know. It’s just as important to express your willingness to learn what you don’t know. Only do so if you will actually follow through, however. So next time you find yourself in a debate about something you’re unsure of, stop and think, “Do I actually understand what I’m speaking about?” If you do, great. Keep going. If not, then back up, stop, learn and listen.
Build authenticity through consistently telling the truth and not inflating your promises, skills, etc. Like Gary Vee always says, “Doing the right thing is ALWAYS the right thing.” Be honest, build authenticity. Be dishonest, destroy your credibility.