I’ve been delving deeply into the subject of authenticity lately as I launch my eSeminar on the power of your Authentic Leadership Style, and I’m beginning to see even more power in authenticity than I’d previously really focused on – including the way in which it can help you create space in your life and attract what you want in your career.
The deepest dimension of authenticity just hit me this week, however, I had client work and the eSeminar collide on me at the same time, threatening to take my work-lifeness way out of balance.
As my schedule filled up and the deadlines loomed, I focused on putting all my coaching advice into practice – on myself. I let go of things in my life that were unaligned with my intentions and kept the things that were important to me (like helping my son with college applications); I debated and silenced the negative inner dialogue nattering away at me when I got tired, and I ensured that I still got some self-care in here and there. But my biggest savior came from an unexpected quarter: my conscious decision to take off the mask of “everything must be 1000% prepped and thought through to the point of perfection” to simply trust the Universe that whatever happened might become wonderful and I relied on what was authentically in me to get me through.
It worked amazingly well. And despite some unintended email typos, it’s still working. I like it and want to share.
Looking at my calendar the way it is now used to fill me – with my mask firmly on - with stress and fear that I’d start dropping balls all over the place, and that’s not happening now. The reason it’s not happening is that I’ve shifted my focus from time-management to energy management and using the energy I have to express my authentic self in whatever activity my calendar puts me in. I’ve begun to trust that while I’m expressing my authentic message, I’m attracting and repelling the right things in the outside world and that good things will result. And they are. Trusting allows me to let go of worry. I’m not worrying about what’s going wrong because I’m trusting that what’s going right is good enough.
Taking this perspective allows me to see success hiding in failures. For example. I did a speaking engagement recently that drew fewer people than the organizer expected. This “looked” like a failure. My masked self would have declared it a waste of time at the end of a long day. But my unmasked self noticed that in the smaller group I was able to make a much more powerful personal connection with everyone present. Focusing on the authenticity aspects of that item on my calendar helped me appreciate the quality of that time spent instead of the quantity of the people who showed up. And the quality of it filled me with energy. That time on my calendar didn’t deplete me it energized me the way a larger group might not have.
We’re used to looking at the external criteria of things and judging our success by that, which often puts reality and desire in conflict -- which stresses us out. But what I’m learning even more deeply is that when you learn to tap into your authentic self and message – dealing only with what reality presents you with - you become a force of nature through the quality of your interaction.
Actually, this is the real irony, you already ARE a force of nature. How much each of the items on your calendar energizes or depletes you is already toying with how much energy force you have, but if you’re like me, you’re not always aware of it or using it consciously. Now I am. How about you?
Calendar games are fun, but here’s my favorite light-bulb realization about the power of taking off your business mask to focus on authenticity: it’s just a whole lot easier.
During this recent opportunity for a stress-a-thon what I’ve noticed is that wearing a “corporate mask” that shoves so much of my authentic self aside – is exhausting. Just like I wasn’t aware of how much focusing authentically on reality could energize me (even when externally it might seem to do the opposite), I wasn’t aware until I took off my “business mask” just how tiring keeping it on really was.
You can’t learn this until you do it, but when you take off your “corporate mask” you’re able to relax more deeply – while still doing your job – than you ever thought possible. I’ve actually been noticing this for a long time on my own authenticity journey and the cool thing is that I’ve discovered that we wear masks upon masks, and each one you allow yourself to take off reduces your stress a little bit more.
I know we all have fears that keep our masks on, and I’ll address that in my eSeminar and future posts, but just for today, try it a little bit. Try taking off one of your masks and feel how the stress begins to melt away. Get used to it and experiment with it. Your authentic self wants to help you do your job; learn to let it.
Join Kristi and Dana for an Authenticity-building leadership eSeminar designed to help you build your personal communication and presence strategies authentically, genuinely and in ways that directly benefit your career. Learn more.
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