I have long had an uneasy relationship with the idea of authenticity and ‘being authentic’. If you ask people what it means they will talk about being true to yourself etc. All the usual platitudes. My objection is that how can anyone not be true to themselves at any given moment, even if that self is somewhat mercurial?
If you ask someone if they are being authentic, can they ever truthfully say ‘no’?
However, if you ask someone else if John is being authentic, they may say yes or no depending on what they think the authentic John should look like.
Authenticity, then, is in the eye of the beholder, and is judged by the beholder. If I think you are doing something that is ‘incorrect’ for you, then I will say you are not authentic, but it may simply be an aspect of you I have never seen, or seen but dislike.
I think the cry for authenticity is a big stick that people use to beat up others with. It smacks of taking the fake moral high ground, by saying ‘you are not being the person I think you should be, therefore you fail’.
Ask yourself if you are ever not authentic. Notice when you think others are not being authentic.
Is it true?
My best wishes, Paul
By Paul Matthews – Speaker/Author/Expert on Informal Learning and Workforce Capability
Author of bestsellers “Capability at Work: How to Solve the Performance Puzzle”
and “Informal Learning at Work: How to Boost Performance in Tough Times”
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