‘Authenticity’ seems to be a buzzword on the tip of every influencer’s tongue, and a word which is often thrown around by industry leaders of today. “Be yourself” they say, before sharing personal stories full of advice on developing an office personality. They promise you that by following in their footsteps, you will gain the trust of your colleagues and customers whilst improving performance levels. If all else fails, they advise to “fake it until you make it”.
Business authenticity is a topic which is close to my heart, and one which I have written about previously for The Huffington Post (Authenticity: Being Yourself In Business). Throughout my life I have strived to show my identity, stand out from the crowd and demonstrate my individuality. I learnt very early in my business life that you do not need to imitate others or follow the norm. If you do, you’re in danger of becoming a clone of somebody else.
Authenticity isn’t about faking it. You must understand that nobody knows all the answers and you’re no different from anybody else. Therefore, there is definitely no reason for you to fake the confidence which others possess. Authenticity begins with self awareness: knowing who you are, recognising your values, understanding your emotions, grasping your pitfalls, and ultimately learning how you are perceived by others.
Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by Businessweek (Tim Cook Speaks Up). Here he talked about how embracing his sexuality and allowing himself to be comfortable in his own skin, contributed to his successes and made him the man he is today. He went on to say: “the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”
In life being different is a strength and not a weakness. Generally people are scared of what they don’t understand. As a leader, something in which I actively promote at alldayPA is to “be authentic, be yourself and be committed”. Authenticity is absolutely vital in life and in business. By being these three things there is no limit to what you can achieve.
When you are true to yourself, people are able to see you’re genuine and sense your authenticity. It’s much more satisfying to try something that you believe in and fail, than never try at all and live with the regret of your choices. Sure, you should take advice from others, but you should always listen to your heart especially during times of examination. People who bring their authentic selves to the table are not only happier, they’re more productive and successful too.
Everybody is an individual. Everybody is born different and unique. Your culture, background and family is what makes you different. I urge for you to be authentic, be yourself and be committed.