Getting to “real”. How to become more authentic.

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Human beings are not intrinsically selfish, which isolates us from others. We are essentially social animals who depend on others to meet our needs. We achieve happiness, prosperity and progress through social interaction. Therefore, having a kind and helpful attitude contributes to our own and others’ happiness.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in a post on Google+, 11/2/11

It seems like I have been having more and more conversations lately with people who are all striving every day of their lives to “find their genuine” as my friend (and lately, my inspiration) Tara Rodden Robinson, the Productivity Maven says.  It’s bizarre too. In one week, 4 different conversations about this very topic. And I get it, too.

With so many social streams and information coming at you, quite literally, every moment – how do you distinguish the noise from what’s real? I’ll admit I’m guilty of promoting my eBook on Twitter in big spurts. In fact, during this same week, I received a tweet from a fellow, Mike Garvey, who asked me to bring back some more meaningful links and thoughts on my feed and a bit less of the eBook sales.  I’m not embarrassed at all to share it with all of you:

I have to tell you that I so much appreciated his comments and told him as much!  Why? Because I want to continue to grow. And, what’s more – he really enjoyed my thoughtful response! I want to know that I’m engaging in real, meaningful conversations on a daily basis.

Deep down, we all want to be better people.  What’s more, the way you respond to comments like Mike’s is what makes a big difference as well!  Be open to wonderful teachable moments like these.  When presented well, there’s an opportunity for growth.  The way you receive it will make you stronger and will encourage the person who said it, to continue to offer up similar comments to others – because that person is being authentic! It will help each of us be better people. Better parents. Better spouses. Better partners. Better friends. And, even better business people! It doesn’t make us “weak” – it makes us much stronger!

We talked about this in my last post as well, where if we strive to offer up sincere critiques but are lavish with our praise and approbation, our message will be well received.  Why?  Because all of us are searching  for authenticity.  I like to change up my blog with more posts like these. Because … this … is me.

How do you become more “real”? More authentic? You don’t need to bare your soul to the barista at Starbucks or tell your life story to the person you meet in an elevator. But, be you. Or, at least be “the you” that you want to become.  Look to answer “the unanswered question”.

When I was in college, I was a religious studies major and when we learned about Buddhism and the Dalia Lama, it had a very profound impact on me. Reading his books, as well as others by Thich Naht Hahn, made me realize that we really do put layers and layers of coats over Our Genuine. We hide it because we think we’re supposed to hide our real selves in business. But, in fact, the people who genuinely listen, are empathetic, and as the Dalai Lama says, those who have a “kind and helpful attitude” can help contribute to not only our own but other people’s happiness as well.

In fact, it’s not much different than the marvelous Peter Pan story.  Toward the end of the book, we discover that Wendy’s father was in fact once a Lost Boy. But, he decided he wanted to grow up and so he left Neverland. He forgot what it was like to be a Lost Boy – to be himself. It was at the end, when Wendy returned with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell that he remembered. He remembered what it was like to be a kid, but more importantly, to be real. He had spent so many years hiding his real self, that he forgot who he really was deep inside. As a result, it made him a better parent, and for sure, it probably means he’d be a better business person as well.

So, here’s an exercise for all of us: find some quiet time (mine is 5:30 am), play some Enya or whatever you need, daydreaming is wonderfully helpful, and just write. Write about who you think the “real you” is, envision what it means for you to be more authentic.  Then, create daily tasks for yourself that allow you to achieve this goal. The more you dedicate each day to this task – the more it becomes a habit.

In the meantime, let me know what you do to be more real and more authentic. Cheers!


About Daniel

Transforming how legal professionals work by creating more effective discovery outcomes and driving value.

Posted on November 2, 2011, in Leadership and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hi Dan,

    What an awesome post! I am so honored and grateful to have been an inspiration to you. Your honesty and openness inspire me! Looking forward to more great things to come.

    With love,

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