Authenticity: What Does It Mean?By Lou Solomon
It’s hard to top Shakespeare’s Hamlet when he said:
This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
The word “authentic” means different things to different people. If you collect art, authentication confirms that a piece is true to the artist’s hand. If you really care about cooking, you treasure natural spices and herbs. If you love restoring old cars, finding the original parts is essential.
But when we consider the way we communicate with one another, we tend to agree on what it means to be authentic. Almost all of us report having the ability to recognize authenticity in others. The brain has something of a social radar for it.
Over the years we’ve had people share with us their definition and the words that always come are, “transparent,” “genuine,” “real,” “down to earth,” and “true.” Looking at word histories, “author,” “authority” and “authentic” are connected. One way of bringing those words together is to say, “Speaking from your original self (the author) gives you natural authority.
We thought “Being Your Authentic Self” was hands down the best topic of our first #BeAuthentic Twitter Chat last month (July 19 at 11:00 am EST).
How do you define “Authentic?”
“Authentic is true. Real. Open. Honest. Vulnerable. It can take courage to #BeAuthentic.” — Trish
Kicking off our first question, Trish encapsulated the idea quite well and became one of our favorites.
In bite-sized wisdom, our Twitter friends said that business communication can become stressed and competitive–inauthentic. All the while, we don’t remember who comes out on top. We remember the human connection, a story, or an exciting concept. In order to trust you or be influenced by you, people want you to be a sincere and real human being…authentic.
What is does it feel like to be with someone who is Authentic?
“It feels easy. Relaxed. Where give-and-take comes gently. No games or guards up. Comfortable. Respected. Relatively quiet people like me find themselves doing more talking.” — Jeremey
As Greg Richardson (@StrategicMonk) observed, “Inauthenticity is often based on fear.”
We agree, Greg. Too many times the Ego jumps in, reads the popular line in the room, and delivers the safe and most popular message. At times, authenticity is not for the faint-hearted. It fact is might require that you be a lion-heart.
As Jackson Sveen put it in our retrospection, “Authenticity builds trust. Trust is everything.”
At the end of our Twitter Chat, we asked, “What’s at risk if we’re inauthentic?” We thought the answer Dave Guerra gave was powerful.
“When you are seen as someone who doesn’t walk the talk, you may never regain your credibility with the people who’ve seen you that way. They will forever doubt your sincerity. The risk is losing everything you have built & never truly returns.”
Thanks to the cadre of soulful people who shared their thoughts with us! We appreciate you dropping by to share your ideas at our first Twitter Chat at #BeAuthentic.
Thanks for visiting Interact Studio!
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