I’ve noticed a strong push in the past 10 years for organizations and people to prioritize authenticity. And it’s no wonder when you look at the number of news stories that highlight less-than-honest practices, questionable behaviour, and outright illegal activities. We all want more honesty and integrity in the world.

When you look up the definition of authentic, it’s prolific:

  1. not false or copied; genuine; real
  2. having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence; authenticated; verified
  3. representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified
  4. entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy

Authenticity, by these definitions, is a state of being validated to be true. The authentic person or thing has passed a test or series of tests. Sure, you can be authentically bad, evil, negative or any number of negative traits. But that will attract people with similar values. That’s the beauty of authenticity – it attracts like-minded individuals.

Authenticity is listening to your intuition

A number of years ago, I was approached about a business opportunity that felt wrong from the moment I first heard about it. I stuck with it for a while, despite my lack of enthusiasm, to see how it would play out. I set boundaries because of other obligations. In the end, that one act of not agreeing to more than I was willing to do was the catalyst that led me to turn down the opportunity.

Deep down inside, what drives you? Who fits into that picture for you? Being true to that part of you is important. It’s a part of authenticity we don’t always think about. The gut feeling that something isn’t right happens for a reason. It’s probably intuition and it’s worth listening to what that voice is saying.

Authenticity is living and working within your values

I had a job once in a situation that was toxic. One of the owners used to tear people to shreds if they didn’t do work to a certain standard. It took me over a year after starting to realize that manager had poor communication skills when it came to expressing what they wanted and helping people learn what they needed to know to meet their high expectations. But they didn’t have that self-awareness so they were abusive to talented, hard-working people. I stayed for another year until I couldn’t take it or continue to watch it happen to others.

Your values are important to you or they wouldn’t be your values. We aren’t being genuine when we aren’t true to the values we hold dear and it’s not worth compromising your values for a paycheque.

Authenticity doesn’t require transparency

Transparency is a word that often follows the use of authenticity, but that can be a deceptive correlation. There are degrees of transparency, but being opaque doesn’t mean you lack authenticity. In the stories I shared above, there are no identifying details about the parties involved, but they are still personal, real experiences that helped me grow as a person.

Don’t let anyone make you believe the only path to authenticity is sharing everything with the world.

Authenticity isn’t perfection, but it sure makes it easier to sleep at night

Genuine people are still humans and that means they’re fallible. But the most authentic humans acknowledge their shortcomings appropriately, with self-awareness and consideration of others. And there’s a certain peace in walking through life feeling that you’re doing your best and being honest about your mistakes.

Being authentic is a fierce undertaking. And we all deserve to live our truth and be true to ourselves.

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Check out our upcoming events so you don’t miss out. We’ve got your favourite regular monthly events happening – the Wine Down and the Mix and Mingle Breakfast. But this month also kicks off our BYA Gala season! Come join us at Star Motors on February 27th to find out who our 2017 BYA finalists are.

Karen C. Wilson, WBN President
WBN President, 2015-18
Chief Marketing Strategist and Storyteller
Karen C. Wilson Communications