How many time have you heard, “just keep it 100” or “you can be honest with me”?  Phrases like these don’t just jump out of nowhere.  They steam from some intrinsic issue in relationships.  Most off is the lack of one’s authenticity or genuineness.  Conversely, I heard of a guy deciding to speak his thoughts with no filter for a few weeks in an effort to be more authentic.  But is that really authenticity? Is verbalizing our every thought without filter really authentic?

My answer is no. Why can’t authenticity be mindful thoughts, mindful words, and mindful actions? Does that make you less authentic because you are thinking through what you are saying and how it’s perceived?

Are you being authentic when you curse out the person that cuts you off on your drive to work?   OK, yeah you probably are, lol!  But what about the person that upsets you?  What’s wrong with taking a moment to think about the best way to handle the situation before you respond?  Do you authentically want to set fuel to a fire or do you want to respond in a manner that preserves the peace and the relationship?

My definition of authenticity is mindfully considering where your thoughts, actions, and words converge and taking ownership of the outcome. – Renay L. Butler

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. It literally kills your mojo, your fire, and your…you!  No one, and I mean no one can do what you do, the way you do it, so be more accepting of yourself, your flaws, your greatness, and others.
  1. Make a conscious choice to show up, to be real, and to be honest. I challenge each of you to commit to spending one week showing up as your authentic self and being honest.  Why do I say be honest?  When you are honest with others about yourself and your business dealings you begin to set yourself up for success.  You begin setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself and others. Your business and relationships thrive because you are delivering on and living your honest word.  And, you start learning from your mistakes vs. masking them, blaming others, or finding excuses
  1. Express your emotions freely, clearly, and kindly.  Let’s be honest, no one wants to always be the a-hole in the room all the time.  We all have a ton of emotions that we experience daily but how do you express them?  When you are angry, are you lashing out at everyone that comes in your presence until you get over it or calm down?  Are you calm and centered and respond with intentional thought?  It’s pretty easy to laugh in response to happy or funny emotions.  But what about all the other emotions we experience?

Practice expressing your emotions as freely and clearly as you can devoid of anger or resentment.  When you do this you are then creating a safe space where others can be honest and open with you, communication can flow freely, issues can be discussed and resolved in a timely manner, creativity flows leading to better business practices, better products, and better customer service, and you begin to build healthier, happier relationships.

  1. Allow your true self to be seen by others. No one is perfect and authenticity creates security and confidence.  You stop worrying about putting on a persona and just being you and you can begin to let go of insecurities.
  1. Claim it! No one can give you authenticity.   You have to own your own genius. Make a commitment to believe in your own values not worry about other’s and what they believe in.  Also, make a commitment to yourself to continually improve and become better.  This builds confidence.  Then pick one daily mantra that you reflect on each day.
  1. your business depends on it. Think things through clearly.  Every decision you make will either positively or negatively impact your business.  It’s ok to say “I don’t know”.  So many people fear “not knowing” the right answer.  It’s ok, no one expects you to be perfect.  If you truly don’t know or don’t have all the facts, say “I don’t know but I will get back to you with the correct answer” vs. bull jiving your way through.  People can see straight through your inauthentic self and this will destroy your relationships and business.   Speaking of relationships…
  1. Business is built on relationships! Build and nurture those relationships.  The best thing you can be in any business or personal relationship is being your true, honest, and authentic self!  Be a person of your word.  If you say you will do, do it!
  1. By gosh golly, have a sense of humor! Laughter truly is good for the heart and it burns calories.  Almost every great speaker or show host uses humor or jokes.  There’s a reason, art, and science behind it:
  • Non-hostile jokes are great starters to ease the tension in a room
  • Humor relaxes the audience and helps them feel more comfortable with you
  • Laughter releases anxiety and butterflies
  • Use humor wisely. Use personal experiences like an embarrassing moment or funny conversations, or if you have kids, retell a story or something funny they did.
  • Let the art of humor help chip away at your insecurities.
  1. Learn to fear less!  The less you fear the more insecurities you let go which make room for authenticity.  Fear is real and it is perceived.  Try to separate the real from perceived and go for it! Compare the best case and worse case scenarios.  Read the best case scenario over and over and over so your actions are moving in that direction.
  1. Make good decisions & choices!  Yes, this is a part of being authentic!  When you make decisions that are based on the better good, you are actually letting go of insecurities and grabbing hold of authenticity.  Where are my football fans?  Who remembers in 2016 when Sean Lee of the Dallas Cowboys decided to bench himself while preparing for playoffs because of an injured hamstring?  That decision, he knew, would cost him a $2M bonus but he did it for the betterment of his team.  He said “It was me who decided to not play, I didn’t feel like I would be effective enough to help the football team. I’m not going to disrespect my teammates and coaches and be out there not playing the right way.”  That is a great example of trading insecurity for authenticity and fearing less!

Until next time,

Renay Butler