I, Darren Christianson, as someone who has been a: disc jockey, recording engineer, music manager, creative director, video producer, project manager, business consultant, government contractor. . . phew…. a blogger, entrepreneur, proposal writer and occasional raconteur, I am now a happy maker of naturally derived bread. I make this bread from scratch, by a means of creating my very own wild yeast culture, making the bread dough and baking it in my kitchen. Who would have of thunk?

Thanks to Mike Pollan, creator of the Netflix documentary, “Cooked”, my very first sour dough loaf was awesomely delicious. As I removed it from the oven yesterday, it smelled something like heaven. To make sure it was done, I knocked on the back of the roll to hear that perfectly hollow sound. Ahhhh!

Beyond the joy of tasting my creation for the first time with farm fresh butter, and then blackberry jam this morning, it made me so very conscious of how very real and true this product is to me.

It is made of only three natural ingredients: organic wheat flour, salt and warm water. It was made by me. How delicious, how pure, how refreshing, and how inspiring.

I talk about Authenticity a lot. This bread, however, was a truly authentic thing. It made me wonder how I might use this experience to apply more authenticity in my life and business. It made me wonder if it was possible at all to practice this much truth in the world, especially in business.

Authenticity, like many business buzzwords, are often thrown around loosely by marketers, advertisers and business writers. I often wonder what their definition of Authenticity might be, if asked by some conscious observer.

The clearest definition for Authenticity I’ve found has been in Mark Nepo’s book — The Exquisite Risk, where he equates Authenticity as, “Authenticity equals Honesty minus Ego, plus Willingness to be Vulnerable.”

This equation has made the most sense for me. As I have become a practitioner of this fine art, it has never let me down as a guide. It also gave me the very “clever” idea of authenticity having only three ingredients just like my breathtaking, beautiful, and delicious bread. I know.. I know… maybe too clever, but I’m going to try it out here on you. No worries… It won’t hurt….much!

For me, practicing Authenticity is like a form of martial art, requiring patience, repeated exercise, learning, trial, error and final masterful application, when the moment of TRUTH arrives. So, how does a business practice such things? Well… a business really doesn’t, but its people do . . . or do not. (Star Wars anyone?)

I want to consider how we might begin… almost scientifically . . . kind of. . . sort of. . . create a litmus test for authentic business, based on Nepo’s equation for authenticity. So… Here it goes.


Q: Does this company or product state itself transparently and honestly? If they say its genuine leather, is it really? If they say it tastes good, does it? If they say it’s good for you, is it?

The funny thing is that often times in our unconscious hurried world we will accept these claims as fact, even if we know deep down they are absolutely not true.


Q: If the company or product is indeed “Great”, does this company or product also simply stand on that idea or truth. It’s just great and they leave it at that.


Does it feel the need to press or imply some moral authority, judgement of other products, companies or ideals? Does it somehow suggest that you as a consumer are not good, if you have, like or prefer something else? Does it feel the need to overtly press its superiority? If they do any of these, we might want to look a little closer at the details of the product or company. It means they are probably not even sure themselves of what they are offering. Instead they just lean on old tactics of advertising, marketing and even human fear.


Q: Is the company or product willing to stand strong on its goodness without ego, despite the constant battering of competitive slogans, unreasonable client price demands, and the unrelenting idea that it has to grow fast and make enormous profit margins.

As business leaders, vulnerability may be the hardest part of the equation to accept and wrap our heads around. However, it is the magic ingredient necessary for creating a culture of excellence, purpose and sustainability.

Being willing to stand on what is true and good to your company can require great courage and fortitude. Standing on a truth can take a lot of real “guts” and it’s the part of the recipe that absolutely inspires employees, customers, suppliers, onlookers and even wise investors.

In the end, Authenticity leads you to customers who want, respect and are willing to pay your price for you special-ness. It leads to having employees who want to put something good into the world, and they will work happily to achieve it. It leads to finding deep, sustaining and growing financial roots as a company that can weather any short term attack from hard blowing winds of competition.

All this brings me back to my TRULY — 100%, naturally developed yeast, organic ingredient, handmade sourdough bread. It took time to make. In fact, it took seven days to develop the culture, create the dough, allow it to rise and finally cook it. It also took nearly 45 years for me to realize I might want to do something like make a loaf of bread for myself.


For me , it was a mark of something real and authentic in a world seemingly full of the words, but without the meanings. From now on, my three simple ingredients of authenticity will be my guide and measure for life. I hope to do this in making bread, and in my personal, public and professional life. It matters not what the world does with their ingredients, it only matters what I do with mine. If I want any part of my world, business or life to be authentic or real, it must start with the only ingredient I can really measure and control, and that is me.

Here’s to hoping your bread rises. Stay In Touch!

Darren & The SoupTank Community