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Is It Possible To Really Be Authentic?

diverse authentic women networking group

Is it possible to really be authentic?

Authenticity. It’s something we expect from ourselves, our friends, partners, even the brands we use. Soon we’re going to demand our toilet paper pass the authenticity test!

Day-to-day, my own authenticity isn’t something I really think about too much. As a coach, I’ve enhanced my sense of self-awareness, making me think I tend to keep things real.

If you know me as a friend, colleague, client, family member… you know what you see is what you get. With the exception of some silly dance moves, the behind the scenes of my life is pretty much what you’ll see at center stage.

So when I recently participated in a Women’s Circle and was asked “What is authenticity and are you being your authentic self?” I kinda hit the snooze button.

Yet, as I listened to the stories shared by the women in the circle, I started to wonder… “well what really is authenticity and can anyone be authentic all the time?”

To me, an authentic person is someone who leads a life true to themselves, who doesn’t change who they are to please anyone else, who rids their lives of what doesn’t make them happy, and who speaks their truth through any fears that may come up.

authentic definition

Authenticity means that your actions are always in alignment with your core beliefs and values.

My friends, this got me thinking… could it be possible I’m not as authentic as I think?

Humbly, I got down from my high horse of authenticity and came up with six questions to help me get a better read.

These six questions helped kick my authenticity up a knotch, perhaps they can help you too.

woman thinking strategizing working

QUESTION #1: When I am in a new environment, do I shift my personality so I feel like I belong?

For some people, they are comfortable with who they are and have the “who cares if you don’t like my attitude.” For others, they feel as though being liked and being accepted is a reflection of their self-worth. The lesson here is to learn to be comfortable with who you are and love yourself enough to not use someone else’s lens to provide value for you.

QUESTION #2: Am I satisfied with my life or are there parts that don’t make me happy? Am I willing to challenge what doesn’t fulfill me?

Listen, no one is happy all of the time and that’s a good thing. Without contradictory emotions, you cannot really appreciate the good. However, if there are areas in your life that are continuously pulling you down, you need to explore why.

I get it. Not all realizations are easy, putting one’s personal relationship under the microscope can be frightening. But you know what could be more frightening? Waking up 10 years later with the same emptiness.

QUESTION #3: Do I hold back from sharing my thoughts, emotions or beliefs in relationships because I fear others' reactions?

Stifling who you are to benefit someone else will ultimately destroy your own being. If you find you never speak your mind or edit your conversations to appease someone else, you aren’t being honest with yourself. Start to take baby steps here, moving through the discomfort to say what you need to say.

QUESTION #4: Am I willing to be vulnerable or do I put up walls to protect myself?

Vulnerability is opening oneself to whatever comes your way, which can be scary. However, vulnerability is necessary for authentic relationships and connections with other humans. Surface relationships are not true and will never provide you with a feeling of being complete.

QUESTION #5: Are my actions a reflection of my core value and beliefs? Do you give advice to friends that you don’t actually take yourself?

Do you have a clear understanding of your core values? Spend some time rediscovering them so they can become your North Star. Then place yourself in situations, relationships and experiences that align with your values.

QUESTION #6: Do I know what truly lights me up and why?

Do you do things because you believe it’s the way things are done? Or are you just following the croud versus cluing in to your own body and emotional response to know what you really like to do?

For example, do you run or kickbox because everyone else does, but when you think about it you really love ballet. Tuning in to what gives your heart a little flutter or your body a zing of excitement will help you uncover what you really want.

After going through these six questions myself, what I realized is authenticity is often a bit of a moving target.

Sometimes we show up in a certain way to protect our hearts or we’re being rightful cautious and reserved in a new or difficult situation. Let’s face it, life can be crazy, throwing different variables our way. I don’t even think Ghandi could be 100% authentic to the core all the time and that is ok.

A well lived life is messy. Sometimes we try and fail, or throw in the towel only to pick it up and use it to dry ourselves off and try again. That is a part of living a human and real life. That is being authentic.


Written by,

Mimi Bishop

Leadership & Team Development Consultant & Executive Coach

Listen to the Modern Gen X Woman Podcast on Apple & Spotify

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