The word “Authentic” has been following me around for almost 3 years since Authentically Speaking began, but I’m now starting to understand what this really means..
Over the last couple of months I’ve been researching into Authenticity. Being yourself, rediscovering who you are and stepping into living as yourself, rather than who others expect you to be.
I use the word rediscovering on purpose, rather than “discovering” as some coaches might. For me it’s not about finding a “new” or “different” you or even creating one, it’s about coming closer and closer to the person you always were, before life got in the way.
Its easy to see how we lose our authenticity. From the age of early humans, we craved connection to others. It’s how we survived.
Without connection to a community or group, our caveman ancestors wouldn’t have survived.
Even those of us who love a little time alone, wouldn’t want to be alone forever. There’s a reason solitary confinement is considered one of the most cruel punishments for prisoners.
Because of our human need for connection, we fear being different from the “group” we fear being ostracised if we are different. So we follow the group to say safe, to stay connected.
But in doing this, we stop being our true authentic self.
I’ve never wanted to follow the crowd.
I don’t “do law” like other lawyers.
I don’t parent like other parents.
I don’t follow my Christian faith like other people might.
Many years ago I had to fight with everything I had to stay true to who I really was. When I was 9, my family moved from Bedfordshire to Lancashire.
I spoke very differently to everyone else in my school. And they didn’t like it.
For 18 months I was ignored and it was probably one of the most painful experiences of my life.
I was fiercely proud of my big Cambridgeshire family and my roots, and of my accent. That’s why I fought so hard. But the situation wore me down.
Being connected to no one wore me down.
And I gave in and changed who I was to fit in. This change lasted for years and years and I’ve still got work to do.
I never want to change to fit into the group again.
More than that, I’ve seen the power of being different. Seen that it’s very positive and empowering to be true to your values, what’s important to you and how you want to live and conduct your work.
Being yourself is so powerful and allows you to really connect with people – not everyone will get you, but that’s fine.
If my legal clients want a lawyer who wears a suit and is in the office everyday, I’m not the lawyer for them.
If they want someone who will hold their hand, take away their worry, fight for their cause, and when it’s necessary drop everything to be there for them, even cry with them when the time comes, that’s me.
This results in the sorts of feedback I regularly get from my clients that shows me I am on the right track.
I don’t plan to coach and train like others either. I am newer to this (2-3 years in) and still finding my way and my unique voice I suppose. I am closer to this now than ever and the authenticity piece is key for me.
It’s not a coincidence that our family favourite album is The Greatest Showman. Even the baby gets so excited when we play it!
“Where it’s covered in all the golden lights
Where the runaways are running the night
Impossible comes true, intoxicating you
Oh, this is the greatest show”
The film and the sound track for me were about the runaways running the night. Those who were different and ostracised by others. They overcame their fears of being seen for who they really were. Not being afraid to be different.
My boys already show signs of being “rebels” against the norm. It’s often said that they lead rather than follow even from a young age.
I hope I do what I can to keep encouraging them to tread their own path (this was the early definition of authenticity from around 500 years ago).
In many ways it might be easier to follow the crowd, as I’ve mentioned its human nature, the way we are conditioned.
But in many ways it’s not the easy path to “fit in”. The pain is just stored up for down the road. It’s hard to start the journey from being “accepted” being what others wanted or expected, but once you’re on that path of your own, being the person you truly are, it’s a far more attractive persona.
It actually gets easier as well. You use so much energy being someone else!
So I encourage you to run your own race, to tread your own path, and to be yourself – because being someone else is really tiring!
I encourage you to run your own race, to tread your own path.
If you need some help rediscovering your own path, your own inner self, feel free to get in touch. I believe this piece is fundamental for our happiness. Often our challenges in life stem from our disconnection from who we really are, the person we were before the world got hold of us!
For more details about online courses, free trainings, coaching and my VIP breakthrough days, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my Work With Me page to find out more.