Honesty. Authenticity. Your true self. Being real. These days, there’s so many ways to describe what really comes down to the act of doing what you say you’re going to do, and that what you do is a meaningful reflection of who you are as a person. As Dr. Seuss aptly put it, “there’s no one alive that is Youer than You.”
This certainly does (and should) extend into our work lives and, even further, into the organizations we work for. As the manager of the Communications department at ASEBP, this is something I’m always conscious of—being mindful that what we say and how we look on the outside reflects what’s happening within the organization. Because the simple fact is that there’s no way to fake authenticity.
Put Authenticity into Action
I was reflecting on this the other day when reviewing content and mentally made a little ‘things to remember about being authentic’ list (nerd alert!) that I thought I’d share with you. Lots of common sense, but easy to put aside when we’re busy and feeling all the pressures that come with being human.
- Do as I say, not as I do. Are you a wellness champion or considered to be the resident expert on all things health but feel too busy to insert some self-care into your own day? What you do for yourself matters more to those around you than you know. Taking time for yourself gives permission for everyone else to do the same and this is especially important for those in leadership positions. This is WAY easier said than done, but the first step is to verbalize what you need to be authentic. So, the next time the words, “I’m too busy,” are on the tip of your tongue, try mixing it up and saying, “I’m going to do X (the thing you’re giving yourself permission to do), so that I’m able to walk the talk.”
- We’re all in this together. Being honest about weaknesses, particularly when it comes to well-being, is crazy hard. But, as someone potentially responsible for the well-being of your school community, that’s an important thing to remember. As we’re all at different stages in our wellness journeys, encouraging one another to be candid about our level of readiness will give everyone the space to take that first, or next, step sooner than they ever thought possible.
- Stay in tune. The old adage ‘timing is everything’ is never more true than when you’re trying to be authentic. Change is challenging for most people and downright hard for others. Knowing the vibe of your organization—and moreso the available energy of the people that contribute to its success—is critical if you’re asking them to make a shift.
- Laughter: the drug of choice. To me, being authentic means laying things bare and relishing in our collective awkwardness (mine being particularly, ridiculously so). Humour is a universal gel that allows us to connect and break down perceived barriers. So, the next time you need to inspire your colleagues to join the workplace book club, consider using a tweet like this one to remind them that there is life after Netflix (there is, right?!?).
Being authentic is, in itself, a journey of sorts. Hopefully these tips will act as road signs for you as you and your organization navigate your way along. Please share your thoughts on staying the authentic course below and, in the meantime, I wish you nothing but happy trails!