I’m having a great day. Wonderful sex last night (and this morning), connecting with my family, inspiring my community, and getting my house clean. Now I’m here writing to you which means I’m getting work done. I get to think and share about something meaningful to me while making a difference for you.
I love my life.
Am I always this enthusiastic and fired up? No. Moods come and go. Productive days happen right next to days when nothing seems to get done. Which has me curious. Why am I having a great day? Is there anything I’ve done that is making today flow and feel good? Is there anything I could learn and do again that’s having me see myself as productive, effective, and enjoyable? I’d love to have more days that feel like this. Wouldn’t you?
If I can figure out what is making today awesome, then maybe I can do it again.
I’m currently part of a leadership training that’s rocking my world. The training has some pretty strong ideas about what opens up productivity, effectiveness, and joy. And after this past week, I’m becoming a convert.
Authenticity. The act of telling the truth with your words and actions. Being brave enough to be who you are despite the circumstances. Cleaning up anything left over from times in the past of not being authentic. In fact “being authentic about where you have been inauthentic” is foundational to the entire program. But what does that really mean?
Most of us, including me, think we are living relatively authentic lives.
We don’t see ourselves lying, cheating, or stealing. We don’t think we’re hiding ourselves or misdirecting others about who we are. We especially don’t think we’re concealing ourselves from ourselves. “Mostly,” we think, “I tell the truth and am a pretty upstanding friend, lover, and co-worker. There are no major lies or inauthenticities in my life.”
Oddly enough, the unwillingness to imagine that there might be something in the way of us being ourselves with ourselves and the people in our lives is a huge part of what keeps that “something” in the way. We can’t see it, we don’t believe in it, and we refuse to look.
But the inauthenticity block there.
Wherever we aren’t as fully free and loving, wherever we aren’t as enthusiastic and effective, wherever life seems to be getting the better of us and we just have to survive it – everywhere like that there is some inauthenticity. Just because you don’t notice or believe that you are being inauthentic, just because you see yourself as the victim of circumstances doesn’t mean that that “inauthenticity block” isn’t there.
We need to move our heads, get curious, and oftentimes get support to see it because it’s in our blindspot.
Just like driving a car, glancing in the mirrors, signaling to change lanes, starting to move over and suddenly seeing a car right there beside you, gaining fast and about to collide (That happened to me Friday night and it’s scary. I swerved back into my lane quickly, shook with adrenaline, and thanked whatever dieties were listening that it was a near miss.) things in your blindspot matter. They can hurt you. They can run over you. They can surprise you. Just because you don’t see them, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
How do you get the block out of the way?
First, look. Believe that it’s possible there is something there that’s blocking you. Look for it. Look for ways of being that hide or mislead. Look for gossip and idle chatter. Do you put on different masks for different people? Are all of your finances in order including taxes being accurate and debts paid on time? Do you make commitments and promises? What do you do when you don’t or can’t keep your word? Where do you make excuses? Have you left someone hanging or ghosted? If you are a “no” to all of those questions, then start asking the people around you. They can see what you can’t.
Ask questions to your friends, family, and co-workeres like:
- How did you feel when I didn’t show to our meeting?
- What was the impact on you when I was late?
- What was it like for you when I yelled at your sister at breakfast then pretended like everything was fine?
- Do you trust me to call if I say I will?
- Do I feel safe to you?
Notice there is a tendency to make yourself wrong for being less than perfect. Instead, pause.
Notice you might want to hide what you’ve just seen. Notice you might want to justify it or say, “it’s no big deal.” Notice you might be angry or sad or depressed about it. All of these responses are completely reasonable and normal. There is nothing wrong with them or you. But looking at inauthenticity this way will keep you stuck. There is no power in saying it doesn’t matter. There is no power in saying you’re at the mercy of people outside of you maybe doing what you want and maybe not doing what you want.
There is power in taking action.
There is power in cleaning up the messes you’ve made. My house is clean because I clean up the messes I’ve made. I don’t cry over the dishes and call myself inadequate (at least not most days). I wash the dishes. I don’t yell at the cats for shedding and tracking litter (again, at least not most days). I vacuum the floor. Doing what needs to be done to clean up the messes that naturally happen through living is what “being authentic about where we’ve been being inauthentic” means. Clean up the messes. Clean up the misunderstandings. Clean up where you’ve been making yourself and other people wrong. Take back your power to live a life of effectiveness, freedom, and power.
What does that look like? We make agreements. Maybe we agree to meet for dinner, show up for the school play for our child, or complete the multi-million dollar project. Sometimes we run late. Sometimes we don’t show up. Sometimes we fail. When that happens, talk to everyone who was impacted. Don’t make excuses. Tell them what you did and tell them what you didn’t do. Tell them what was lost for you and what you see was lost for them (opportunity, love, trust) through your actions and inactions. Be real. Be honest. Don’t fake it or try to look good. Be real and to the point.
Ask questions. Be curious.
Be curious and ask them about their experience. Then listen without defending or running away. Validate their experience with your words and your listening. The phrase “that makes sense” can go a long way towards letting someone know you get them without saying you agree with them.
If you’d like someone to hold you while you look for your blindspots, if you want company to see what’s looming and about to run over you, give me a call. I’d love to sit with you, hold you if you want to be held, and reclaim your ability to be the master or mistress of your own life.
Love and freedom are available for you. Right now. Right here.
Note – The leadership training I am in is the Introduction Leaders Program with Landmark. Their signature workshop “The Landmark Forum” addresses inauthenticity, reclaiming your power, and living a life you love in a groundbreaking and very effective way. I highly recommend it. The Landmark Forum is offered in many locations throughout the USA and around the world. Visit https://www.landmarkworldwide.com/schedules to find a date and location near you.