Authenticity is a topic that comes up often in my work. It’s highly relevant to our businesses, our relationships, and the way in which we show up in our everyday lives. I often get asked, “How do you learn to show up authentically?”
In formulating responses to this question, I came to realize something: that’s the only way I know how to show up.
Sometimes showing up authentically means leading with empathy and compassion—it’s giving others the benefit of the doubt and learning to meet people where they are. Other times it means creating firm boundaries, and in some cases, not being afraid to tell people to go screw themselves.
Either way, my commitment to integrity has become so strong, so fierce, so relentless, that I simply don’t know another way to be other than 100% myself.
It wasn’t always this way, of course. It took years of self-reflection and introspection to figure out how to show up this way. I took a lot of risks, made a lot of mistakes, and went through a lot of versions of myself before arriving here.
But I kept practicing authenticity, no matter the consequences, because the alternative was inauthentic living—and I just could not abide that. My practice looks like daily journaling, meditation, and time in solitude to get clear with my internal world. It means admitting when I’m wrong, taking constructive criticism, and working consistently to be the highest version of myself.
Ultimately, it’s the practice of aligning my inside world with it’s outside expression. That’s an ongoing process.
Authenticity works that way—it’s not something you have or don’t have. It’s something you practice every single day until it’s your default. It’s showing up vulnerably, just as you are, with the understanding that you absolutely cannot control how the world receives you. It’s learning to show up fully, to be unapologetically yourself because you know, at your core, that there’s no way to be anything else but that.
Some people will love you.
Some people will hate you.
More often than not, the reasons some people love you will be the exact same reasons other people hate you. You can’t control that, nor should you try. You’re not for everyone, but you sure as hell are for you—and that means standing in the fullness of your weird, wild, wonderful self.
No matter what.
So the question, really, is not how to be authentic—it’s who the hell am I and how do I learn to own that?
What am I about?
What do I stand for?
What won’t I stand for?
Spend some time in honest, objective, shameless self-reflection. Figure out what’s at your and lead with that. Practice being higher and higher versions of yourself, every single day.
If you do that, authenticity won’t be a struggle—it will manifest itself.