You’ve probably heard how important it is to be authentic. But what does authenticity even mean? And why is it so important?
“It’s making sure your own beliefs and your own value system is congruent with the actions that you take every day,” he says.
However, Brendan says you can still be authentic even if you do things that feel unnatural – as long as your intent is authentic.
For example, Brendan, as a co-host of LinkedIn Local Central Coast, goes out of his way to welcome guests, even though he’s not a naturally outgoing person. But this is still an authentic act on Brendan’s part – because being friendly is one of his values.
So why is it bad when we’re not our authentic selves? Three main reasons, says Brendan:
- Living a double life is exhausting
- You lose respect for yourself
- People sense there’s something phony about you
Before Brendan started his coaching business, he had a 20-year corporate career. Mostly, he enjoyed it. But the last three years were tough, because he was being inauthentic.
Brendan began to realise the company he worked for was behaving in a way that contradicted his values. But instead of leaving, he stayed on for financial reasons, and began positioning himself to eventually launch his own consulting business. That made Brendan feel uncomfortable, because he felt he was using his employer. So when, three years later, he was offered a redundancy, it came as a relief.
Now, as a leadership consultant, Brendan again has a job that matches his beliefs and values. So he’s living an authentic life, which makes him happier and more fulfilled.