ll archives: How to Channel Your Authenticity
Be authentic. To some, that might sound cliché. That’s because it doesn’t mean much until you’ve experienced a celebration of yourself – for yourself. I don’t mean a celebration with champagne, balloons and streamers. I’m talking about a metaphorical celebration of self-acceptance.
Many women often feel torn between the persona they present to the outside world and the one that’s really inside. Think about it – throughout life, we face certain societal standards and pressures that test our ability to be true to ourselves. When it comes to being the only woman in a room of all men; or the only artist at a cocktail party full of PhDs – your self-confidence might be tested. To deal with this pressure, you might self deprecate or pretend to have similar opinions to those around you because it causes less anxiety or conflict in the moment. While it may seem easier to adopt a forced persona and try to blend in – don’t. Stand out. At some point, we all come to realize that there is no need to be anyone else than who we already are.
The process of celebrating yourself, though it sounds intuitive, requires a commitment that can take months, even years to fulfill. It is a journey of self-exploration that is incredibly beneficial to both your personal and professional lives. And it all starts with an open mind. Here are a few things to rethink during your authenticity journey.
Start from scratch
For those of you that can shout, “I am [insert phrase here],” from the rooftop, you are already ahead of the game. For those of you who have ever said “I don’t really know who I am,” just know that it is ok to start with that blank sheet of paper. Identify your strengths – think about the things you love to do, the values you believe in and live by, the people you admire, the times when you feel and act your best, the traits you are most proud of, the talents and skills you have, etc. Own all of it. And own the less positive traits, too. Your anxiety, fears, inability to commit, adapt or focus – whatever they are, identify all of the parts of you that are uniquely individual. This emotional cleansing process is powerful. It could take years, many failures or new adventures to identify the true you, but as you go through this conscious identification, you will learn to be proud of your differences. So the next time you are in a situation that challenges your persona, you won’t feel the need to mold it to something or someone else.
Put that authenticity to use
Think of your authenticity journey as step one in entrepreneurship and personal branding. Once you can articulate the person you are, and you’re no longer hesitant to share it with others, its time to develop a differentiating statement in the form of a mantra, motto or mission statement. In this article, author Anne Bachrach talks about the importance of leveraging your authenticity for business. She discusses the value of defining your differentiators and notes that target audiences are more likely to trust and relate to someone authentic – someone who is confident in themselves – someone who would push back on a PhD at a cocktail reception if that person questioned their values.
Think of yourself as an evolution
‘But I don’t know the woman I will become…’ It’s a good thing to still be working on your future vision of yourself, in fact, its encouraged. But understand that self love and acceptance cannot happen if you don’t embrace who you are in this moment, and all the moments that have led up to today. Your mission, motto or mantra is bound to change in some capacity over the next 10 or 20 years, but that’s okay. Remember that you are in control of your present and future. Only you can define who you are and who you want to become. And whoever that is, be proud, be confident and be yourself.