How many times have you heard the old cliché “just be yourself!” It’s thrown at us in seemingly every situation.
Starting a new job, just be yourself.
Going on a date, just be yourself.
Public speaking, just be yourself.
The problem is, like with most clichés, it tends to be true. But how exactly do we be ourselves?
Why not try, “fake it till you make it” another cliché?
In this Aubrey Marcus podcast interview with the relentlessly relentless Gary Vaynerchuk, No More Excuses! 40 Minutes of Fire with Gary Vee, they discuss this very topic, amongst other gems.
The term is a double edged sword. You can either fool others by “faking” a life you haven’t yet earned.
“I think it’s cool internally. I think its shit externally. You’re losing too much when you fake it till you make with the A-Players of the universe.” Gary Vee
Or you can self-motivate by believing in yourself, doing the work to get where you want to go and owning where you are at currently. We actually don’t even have the luxury of bull shitting anyone anymore.
“Now we’re in an age where inauthenticity is going to get exposed.” Aubrey Marcus
You can Google anyone and find out if they own that company they are bragging about, if they really have won the accolades they say they have. Even if they’ve done the Ironman in the time they say they have. Information is freely available.
My early writing failures are well documented online, back when I was writing about furniture, patterned fabric and paint colours. I’m not saying the problem is the topic, it’s just when I go back and read those articles, it’s not the terrible writing that gets me (and it was seriously bad). It’s the fact that it’s obviously not my voice, not what I wanted to be writing about. Now when I write articles like, The 5 Practices Holding You Back from Unshakable Confidence, I can feel my authentic self in every word.
Before we can become authentic we need to understand the concept, which might not be as easy as it seems.
If you want to understand the true meaning of authenticity you need to go back to its root. The Latin root of the word “authenticity” is “author”, so being “authentic” doesn’t mean being honest about who you are, it’s about being your own “author”. Authenticity is an active and creative process. It’s not about revealing something, it’s about building something; and that something is “you”.
Says Nina Burrows, in her article, Think authenticity is about being honest and open? Think again.
Now isn’t that comforting! Actually not at all, but it’s not meant to be. It means it’s all up to us, no one else. This is daunting for three reasons. (All of which we need to be doing, in spades!)
- It requires us to ask ourselves tough questions.
- It requires us to take responsibility.
- It requires us to be vulnerable.
As guys we love this last one. Masculinity isn’t taught with a healthy dose of sitting with our emotions and vulnerability.
Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly gave an amazing TED talk on the subject, The Power of Vulnerability.
“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”
We cannot escape feeling vulnerable. Everyone feels it to some extent. Hiding it is the very essence of inauthenticity and people can tell. 93% of our communication is non-verbal.
You know that unsettling feeling you get around certain people. When there’s something about them that just doesn’t add up, an inherent insincerity. That’s a sign that person isn’t being real. Don’t be that guy.
We feel furthest away from our authentic self when we feel disconnected. That is why surrounding yourself with the right type of person is crucial, not only for your success, but for your happiness.
“Connection is why we are here.” Brene Brown
“If you’re not feeling it, find new friends.” Gary Vee
We cannot escape our instinct for connection. Humans, like chimps, are social primates. Why not give yourself the best odds, by surrounding yourself with a troop that lives with intention, that experiments and wants to be the best version of themselves.
We all want to live real lives with no BS, so why not surround yourself with people who won’t let you live any other way?