5 Ways to Operationalize Authenticity Immediately (Don’t Fake It)
ISN’T IT TIME YOU FINALLY “GET” THIS AUTHENTICITY THING?
In an interview with TV Guide about the final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah shared her secret to success:
“The secret is authenticity. The reason people fail is because they’re pretending to be something they’re not.”
In some ways, the concept of “authenticity” is losing its core meaning as the term becomes more and more popularized.
Authenticity carries so much significance to overall life fulfillment and success that it’s important we take time to really “get it.”
We may say we just want to be authentic, and we may really mean it, but the reality is that culturally, we are becoming numbed to what authenticity really entails and the power it really has to affect positive change and high achievement in our lives.
Truly being authentic is knowing what matters to you, on the deepest level of who you are, and committing always to act from that authentic center.
No matter the dream, no matter the goal, no matter the level of success you achieve, if your decisions are not aligned with the things in your life that matter very most, your success will be shallow and unfulfilling, to say the least.
Until you act in ways that are aligned with who you authentically are, no matter how successful you become, there will always be an underlying and insatiable desire for more, more, more and an underlying hollowness in life. This is not real success.
Understanding Everything That’s You
People love to say, “You gotta fake it till you make it.” But this implies that the fake you is someone better than who you inherently are, and this is simply not the truth. I hate that saying.
Let me say this loud and clear:
The person you imagine yourself to be in the very best and most powerful moments of your life, is the authentic you.
And in truth, I imagine you’re probably much more incredible even than that.
The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said,
“I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.”
Sounds amazing, right?
So why is it so hard to consistently perform at that “higher level”?
Why is it so hard to stay connected to the very best version of ourselves all the time?
The problem isn’t that we don’t want to be authentic, nor is it that we don’t buy into the fact that authenticity leads to more meaningful success. The truth is that most of us really do long to be everything that we really are.
The real problem is that few of us know how to get to that place in our lives.
Most of us simply don’t know how to move from who we are pretending to be to who we truly are.
Every day, you either become more aligned with your authentic self or you move further away. And the difference lies completely in the choices you make. The following are five suggestions for how to make authenticity operational in your life.
1. Break Free of Fear, Pride, and Procrastination
When we act in ways that are not aligned with our highest potential, we move farther and farther away from who we authentically are. This leads to lack of fulfillment, lack of happiness, and an overall disconnect from what we really want for ourselves.
Our life paradigm becomes clouded by external influences until we can no longer recognize our own inherent sense of direction or worth.
- When we consistently act from a place of fear, we become governed by our fearful tendencies.
- If we consistently act from a place of pride, we become bound by its dangerous limitation.
- If we consistently act on our impulsions and procrastinate the most important things in our lives, we become trapped — constantly moving in circles. As if on an endless merry-go-round, we’re always moving, never arriving anywhere good.
- You can’t become who you really are if you’re living your life trapped inside an egg of fear, pride, or procrastination.
- Find courage in the words of James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.”
- Break free from that shell, and you will come to know your true, authentic self. Until you do, the real you, will never really be born.
As you consciously break free from the self-imposed limitations in your life, you will find it incrementally easier to make the kinds of decisions that lead toward your highest personal potential. This is the key to discovering and unlocking your inherent self.
In other words, as you consistently act in ways that are aligned with what is truly most meaningful to you, over time, you will come to realize Confucius’s great desire for all of mankind. You will come to know “everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.”
2. “Find the Courage to Do Things You Are Not Ready to Do”
Marissa Mayer was one of the first twenty employees at Google and the first female engineer. She is also the youngest woman, to date, to be included on Forbes prestigious list of the “50 Most Powerful Women” in the world and became the CEO of Yahoo!. When speaking at a commencement address at Illinois Institute of Technology, Mayer encouraged students to “find the courage to do things you are not ready to do.” She said,
Doing something you aren’t ready to isn’t comfortable. . . .
But in pushing through that discomfort you learn a lot more about yourself.
You learn to do something you didn’t think you could do. Or you learn where your limits are.
Either is valuable. It’s important to push through that uneasiness though, because in that moment of finding your courage, you really grow and you really reach.
Stretch yourself and go outside your comfort zone. You’ll often find that you’re a lot stronger than you knew.
At first, as we attempt to make decisions that are aligned with our highest potential, there will be opportunities and choices that will require us to act in ways that might make us feel uncomfortable.
One of the greatest opportunities we greet along the path toward greater au- thenticity is to become comfortable doing the uncomfortable. Every time we act anyway, in spite of fear and pride — in spite of discomfort — we will move closer to a more authentic, and thus genuinely successful life.
3. Set Standards, Keep Them, and Get Respect
“The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau is the most venerated big wave surfing event on Earth, held at Waimea Bay, Oahu, on a single day during the Hawaiian winter when, and if, waves exceed the 20-foot minimum requirement.”
Only twenty-eight surfers (along with some alter- nates) are invited to compete, making this a very prestigious and coveted event. Because of these strict standards, “The Eddie” — as it’s known — has only been held nine times over thirty-three years (from 1984 through 2017) — “but those rare and special days are recognized as the most spectacular days in surfing history — for both surfers and spectators.”
The surfing contest has no set date and is open between December 1 and the end of February in hopes the ocean will provide the right conditions. On January 21, 2011, the contest organizers gave the waves a “50/50 chance” that they’d be big enough the next day, and they spent the day preparing for the “world’s most prestigious big wave event.”
Thousands of people poured into Waimea Bay the next morning to watch and wait — not an easy thing when the parking lot has only fifty-five stalls. However, “after 4 hours of monitoring, only eight waves more than 20 feet had crashed Waimea Bay.” Despite all the spectators, surfers, time, energy, and money that was put into the event, the contest was cancelled. The waves weren’t “big enough for the namesake of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau.”
How did the crowd react? One newspaper reported that they “actually clapped upon the announcement that there would be no contest on this day, apparently in re- spect of the process. Ever heard applause at a rainout?”
Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight said this about the decision to cancel the contest:
This event has created a life all its own and has come to stand for much more than just big wave riding.
Standing on the beach at Waimea Bay on January 20, surrounded by tens of thousands of spectators from around the world, we were disappointed to have to call a “No Go.” But when the crowd began to cheer, we knew it was the right call and that The
Eddie represents something special that we all want to uphold.
Eddie was a young man of character, integrity and incredible athletic ability. His story took surfing’s story across boundaries and around the world. Through his legacy, we look to inspire young generations of surfers for decades to come.
Standards were set. Standards were kept. And people respected that; they even applauded and cheered when they missed out on the event of a lifetime.
“The essence of being real, of acting with authenticity, is in knowing what you care about and then doing your best to be true to these values and aspirations.”— Stewart D. Friedman, author
In order to truly live from our authentic core, we must always make decisions that are aligned with our authentic goals, and we must always be true to what we authentically believe.
Authenticity is based on the principle of integrity. If we are operating from a foundational commitment to authenticity, when we make a commitment, we keep it. But keeping commitments is only a surface level descrip- tion. Truly being authentic also means upholding per- sonal standards when no one else is looking.
As Gandhi taught,
“To believe something and not to live it, is dis- honest,” and I would add, even when no one else is watching.”
When authentic standards are kept, no matter the circumstances, we develop an enhanced propensity for success. And two things happen:
- Our personal feelings of self-worth and confidence increase, and increased confidence leads to higher levels of competency.
- We earn the respect of others by gaining a reputation for consistency and integrity — which go hand in hand and serve as invaluable assets as we strive to attain our very highest aspirations.
Setting and keeping standards will bring you self-respect and respect from others.
4. Trust Yourself
If your goal is to be authentic, you need to understand your inherent worth. Even if your life has been a series of mistakes and failures, those are only things you did, they are not who you are. Do the work to make things right where necessary, forgive yourself, and move on.
To paraphrase the words of author Paul Boese, forgiveness may not change your past, but it sure does enlarge your future.
Authentic people trust themselves, not in a prideful or self-centered way, rather they simply understand and appreciate their inherent worth. Authentic people have developed a sense of purpose in their lives and a real connection to what matters to them, and their connection to their self-worth serves as the foundation of their lives.
As they consistently make decisions that are aligned with their authentic values and goals, their feelings of self-worth, and thus the strength of their foundation, increases. Grounded in self-worth, and achieved through genuine commitment to purpose, authenticity is a marvelous upward spiral toward meaningful success!
If you want to trust yourself, make decisions that are grounded in your authentic principles. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t push others down to obtain success. Those kind of behaviors are inauthentic and lead nowhere you’d ever want to be.
Success that is obtained in any way that is not grounded in your genuine beliefs, goals, and values will never bring the authentic sense of fulfillment you seek.
Be good. Be happy. Be authentic. Achieve meaningful success.
5. Start Your Stupid Ideas
The simple process of getting clear about what it is you really want to do in your life, and then getting started, is one of the greatest practices in authenticity there is. So how do you get started?
- Exercise the courage to acknowledge your stupid ideas, despite doubt, fear, or the opinions of others.
- Start projects surrounding these ideas.
- Find your voice and uncover your authentic self.
“[Authentic people are] actively and intentionally pursuing a life in accord with their deepest potentials.”— Michael Kernis and Brian Goldman
In other words, when you start on your stupid ideas, you kindle the fire of authenticity, giving the real you not only power, but permission to participate in your life!
As you actively strive to live an authentic life, you will consistently be doing things that other people think are stupid. And that’s okay. If you’re truly committed to the kind of success and fulfillment that only authenticity can bring, sometimes you’re going to have to do things that other people won’t immediately understand.
Remember, life is big, and there’s no way under, over, or around it. You can only go through. You simply can’t expect to be someone else through that process and still hope to live a truly meaningful life.
If you want to be fulfilled, and live without regret, you have to be true to you — no matter the decisions or opinions of others.
Conclusion: Authentic Freedom
At its most primal level, the search for authenticity is the search to improve your life. I promise that in authenticity, you will find the transformation you seek.
As we develop a sense of our best possible self — and become authentic — we experience positive change. Authenticity and success go hand-in-hand.
Life is short.
There’s no time to be paralyzed by fear, dammed up by pride, or derailed by procrastination. By being your true, authentic self — the self that is outside the egg — you can be free.
You will discover the power to live a meaningful and successful life. A life filled with happiness. A life free from regret.
Imagine what your life would be like if you were completely uninhibited by fear, pride, or procrastination.
What would you be capable of?
CALL TO ACTION
MY ONLINE COURSE THAT I SELL FOR $2,000 IS YOURS FREE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU AND IT’S THE END OF THE YEAR
I’m taking this massively valuable freebie down and selling it again soon at my discretion. Maybe even this weekend.
I’ll change this call to action soon. For now, I’d like to reward those of you who have been reading and sharing my stuff this year.
Means the world.
I wrote a bestselling book called The Power of Starting Something Stupid. It’s endorsed by cool people like Steve Forbes, Stephen M. R. Covey, Jack Canfield, Michael Gerber, Brian Tracy, etc. So grateful to them. It’s in like 10 languages or something cool like that now.
I created a course called Mastering the Power of Starting Something Stupid.There is an entire section on serving, giving, thanking, receiving, asking and trusting included…so you can make the most of your time.
I KNOW life is short. That’s no cliche.
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(Note: I will revert this link to it’s $2k sales page at my discretion.)