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A Recipe For Authenticity

Written by: Annie Canning, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Like any profession, the coaching world has its fair share of buzzwords, a unique language that lends the impression that you have knowledge or expertise in your area of work.

The term “authentic” was often bandied about in my early years of professional development by coaches and mentors. It has since migrated and has now become part of popular culture as many a celebrity, politician, social influencer, and even a few members of the died in the wool British royal family espouse the merits of living a truly authentic life. Is it just me, or does it sound pretentious, pompous, and glib?

When last I checked, the definition of authentic was: known to be real and what somebody claims it is and not a copy.”

Ironically, I suspect my discomfort comes from those who claim to be the real deal, and yet their behaviours do not support what it is to be genuinely authentic, and I can see elements of that echoed in my own life.

I don’t know about you, but I spent many years following a pathway dictated by other people's expectations and social norms. I look back now and see that what I was doing was not authentic or in alignment with who I actually was, but a poor copy of what society deemed was intellectually, socially, and physically acceptable. That shit just wasn’t real.

So what does it take to be authentic, to live a truly authentic life, and not be a self-help cliche?

Here’s my recipe:

Firstly, authenticity is fundamentally aligned with your values and standards. Being clear on your values i.e. what is most important to you, and operating in alignment with your values is critical to being the most authentic version of yourself. This is where many people come unstuck. Can you reel off your top six most important values at this moment? Are they crystal clear?

When you are making important decisions, do you sit down and reflect on your values to determine how you are choosing to move forward in a manner that supports them? I believe this is a key ingredient of authenticity — being clear on your values and acting accordingly despite the potential negative or uncomfortable consequences you may perceive are the outcome.

Secondly, life is a journey of self-discovery. As we grow and evolve over time we change our view of the world and how we interact with it. To be truly authentic is to open ourselves up to lifelong learning and growth. This space is frequently uncomfortable and humbling as we assume the identity of the learner, however, it keeps us grounded and supports us to be our best and most unique selves.

Additionally, spending time being creative enables us to express ourselves authentically. Operating from this space produces a flow state where your body and mind are fluid and you are absorbed in the process of creation.

Lastly, authenticity is not for the faint-hearted as it requires you to embrace failure and welcome transparency. For some reason and I suspect it is down to conditioning, failure is a dirty word. It is only the brave who welcome failure and are transparent in the process. History and our rational minds tell us that owning our failures and taking the learnings is what supports growth and leads to success, whatever that may look like for you. So, don’t hide from your failures, in fact, shout them to the world. Smart people will learn from your mistakes, so share the love I say.

The next time you hear a celebrity, business leader, politician, influencer, whoever, preaching their authenticity ask yourself do they behave in a manner that upholds the values they claim to promote, are they open to becoming the learner, the creator, and owning their failures. If so, I reckon they are the real deal. Then ask yourself, “am I the most authentic version of me?” and remember it's okay to be a work in progress. We all are.

For more information, visit my website and follow me on Facebook! Read more from Annie!


Annie Canning, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Annie Canning is a leader in transformational coaching. Having previously worked in high-level HR and Compliance roles, she stepped into coaching due to a series of challenging life events. Taking these learnings, she has created tools and strategies to shift her clients' into an empowered and enabled state. She has coached CEOs, leadership teams, workgroups, and business owners and is a staunch advocate for those committed to their growth journey. Through her programs and keynote speaking, she spreads a message of hope, humor, and optimism. Her mission is to positively impact thousands of lives with her unique coaching brand and help others recognize their value, their place in the world, and how to claim it!



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