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How To Be Authentically You Without Faking It

Written by: Caroline Bellenger, 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.

 

If you are not trying to be authentically you, you have probably missed the past few years on social media or not engaged in recent self-development programs. Being labelled authentic in the current world of business and entrepreneurship seems to be the new way to stand out and create success. But if authentically you mean wearing your pyjama’s inside out while mowing the lawn on the weekend, is that going to make you the Top CEO of 2022 when you replicate it at work because you want to nail the authentically you brief? Probably not!

So, what does authentic really mean? And how can we be authentically ourselves in a work environment that may not always align with our weekend warrior mode? How can we uphold authenticity in a workplace that requires specific standards and codes of conduct if these are not consistent with our own beliefs or character? Is it even possible to be wholly authentic, or do we sometimes need to fake it?


When applied to people, being authentic means they are not false or imitating others. They are real and true to one's own personality, spirit, or character. (www.merriam-webster.com) The biggest takeout from this statement is that being authentic means acting consistently with the person we are or want to be.


The reality is that our weekend warrior personality and our work personality are often very diverse because of the different environments. Being professional at work does not have to undermine our authentic selves. Our authentic self is much deeper than that and is exhibited by how we treat others, what we place value on and how we embrace our passion and goals. For example, if you love having fun on the weekend, it would be consistent if you could bring some element of fun into the workplace. Granted, work fun might be something like team-building exercises rather than tequila shots while dancing on your desk. The main point is, if the authentic you likes to have fun, there are many ways to incorporate that into your work life.


Do we have to fake it sometimes? No. There is a big difference between faking your authenticity and adapting your behaviour or brand to help your client better. While you have been scrolling on social media or working with people in real life, I do not doubt that you have come across people who try to be something they are not. Some are more convincing than others, but the reality is that when people are not authentic, you sense something is not quite right, and you don't have the same level of trust. That is not to discount the people learning and trying to implement behaviours to improve their business or life. In this case, authentic people will be honest in their self-evaluation of not having all the answers. People genuinely faking it are usually too self-absorbed to admit any vulnerability. And this is where being authentic is so important because being in business requires trust, and people are more likely to trust someone who shows their vulnerability and humanness.


A famous quote was used in the early 70s by many self-development gurus and business leaders, “Fake it until you make it”. While the premise of believing in yourself when attempting new skills or growth holds true, the notion of being fake to gain success is fraught with dangers. I consider the whole concept of being authentically you to be a direct result of years and years of people trying to fake it until they make it.


For the past ten years and increasingly so with the exponential growth in social media, the number of cookie-cutter programs and gurus across a multitude of industries, including wellness, sales, coaching, marketing, fitness, has whitewashed our available choices. It has also created an entire generation of entrepreneurs who become overnight experts in fields with no lived experience or qualified skills. The novelty has worn off, and clients expect more. People are becoming disillusioned with the sameness and are calling out businesses for their fake credibility. The advent of authenticity is now something that customers crave.


Entrepreneurs and employees need to stand out to succeed in this sea of sameness. Since only one of you exists, this uniqueness is now your best asset. Everyone has a story, a skill, a vision that is unique to themselves, and by harnessing your authenticity, you will allow this aspect of you to create success in whatever you do. Yes, life is always full of compromise, and there will be times when you feel like you have to "fake it", but if you always remember what you truly stand for, you will find a way to act honestly to get the same result, rather than fake it.


If you need to fake your authenticity to fit in, you will never find happiness or success in that environment. From my own experience and my practice managing or coaching others, when people do not stay true to their own beliefs or act in a way that is incongruent with their personality, they become unfulfilled in their careers and lives. This lack of fulfilment is regardless of whether they are deemed successful in status or income on a surface level.


Always remember you are enough just as you are. Being authentically you brings out your best, but it also makes you stand out in a world of grey. Your authentic self will not fit into every environment, but maybe that is life’s way of telling you that the opportunity wasn't meant for you anyway. No matter what rewards you think you can gain by being fake, the truth is it will never last, and it will never bring you the kind of joy or success that you can gain by being authentically you.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Caroline!

 

Caroline Bellenger, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Caroline is an award-winning entrepreneur, mental health advocate and wellness warrior. After experiencing childhood sexual abuse and over twenty years of addiction and mental health issues, Caroline enhanced her life by creating a toolbox of strategies that enabled her to improve her mindset, self-esteem and create three successful businesses. As the founder of “Be The Impossible” she has coached and inspired thousands of women to overcome their own life obstacles and create fulfilment and joy. She is the co-author of three books including Amazon 1 Best Seller "Queens In Sand Castles". She has climbed to Everest Base Camp and competed in national sporting teams, including representing Australia in Triathlon at 50. Her transformation and achievements are a testament to her courage and determination to define her future regardless of age or past challenges. Caroline has dedicated her life to empowering other women through inspirational keynotes, books, coaching programs, and online education.

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