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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

What It Really Means To Be Authentic




Authenticity in the workplace is kind of a buzzy term these days, isn’t it? Leading from the heart, failing forward, and daring bravely are all things that are easy to throw around as concepts in the break room, but actually being authentic in your work can be pretty intimidating!


THE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT AUTHENTICITY


I think there's a misconception about authenticity in the workplace- that showing your true self is inappropriate in a corporate environment. It stems from people's belief that you have to change who you are to succeed. We see movies and TV shows showing ruthless corporate people who get ahead by clever maneuvering and shady practices, but in reality I think that most people get ahead by behaving with integrity and making friends.


Yes, you heard me. Making friends.


So to get ahead, don't try and change the core parts of yourself. Authenticity in the workplace doesn't mean showing up to your desk in pajamas and a t-shirt (though if that's your office culture, rock on!); it's about being real with people while striving to be the best version of yourself.


If you spend your whole career sacrificing pieces of yourself to get ahead, you're not really representing yourself, and you're not being the type of business person that you truly are.


YOUR AUTHENTICITY IS AN ASSET


If you're being authentic, people can see it, they connect to it, they're drawn to it. People on your team will want to support you, and if you lead like that they'll work hard for you, because they believe in you because they can feel your passion.


And by the way, don't try and pass off a bold sense of style for authenticity. Rock on if that's you, but wearing a "perfect" outfit or dressing in an off-the-wall style isn't going to get you to that state of authenticity. There's not really a shortcut for being yourself in the office. You have to do the hard work of standing up for what you believe in and living your values.


It's easy to get caught up looking at the people around you. If so-and-so was successful by doing X, Y, and Z, it's tempting to copy that. But the danger is that you can't co-opt someone else's style without sacrificing your own. Being someone else isn't going to get you that promotion or that raise, it’s just going to make you lose yourself.


Plus, people see through that kind of forgery pretty easily. Think about the last time you talked to someone who said all the right things, and yet you walked away with a sense of that person's inauthenticity. That "fakeness" is the opposite of what you want to cultivate, and nothing about it makes people want to promote you or trust you.


HOW YOU CAN EMBRACE WHAT MAKES YOU AUTHENTIC


So the question becomes:

What are your values?

What kind of person do you want to be?


Identifying and living your values, morals, and goals is the most important thing you can do in your workplace. If you're fully, magnificently yourself, people will notice you for all the right reasons.


If you want to take your business presence up a notch, you might benefit from some one-on-one coaching. Click here to schedule a free consultation!



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