Your greatest strength is your authenticity.
I define authenticity as “the truth of who you are.” Every day offers you the chance to share the story of who you are through the way you talk, walk, and interact with others. It takes courage and a whole lot of self-love to unapologetically share your truth with the world because you are accepting both the rewards and consequences that come with that choice.
If you want to live a happier life and lead better teams then you must be unapologetic with leading and knowing yourself first. Living an authentic life would be easier for many adults if they grew up in an environment that cultivated authenticity.
Here are 4 Steps Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Authenticity:
1 – TAKE OFF YOUR MASKS
When you feel ugly inside, you put on masks and show up in the world as something you are not in the hopes of being liked and feeling validated. We all tend to gravitate to the thing that brings us validation (i.e. job, social media, gym, etc.) Authenticity requires you to take off the masks you have artistically perfected so you can fall in love with the person staring back at you in the mirror – without conditions.
Ask your child, “What do you love about yourself?” After they respond, tell them what you love about them. Focus on their character and effort, NOT their skills or abilities.
2 – ACCEPT YOURSELF WHERE YOU ARE
Acceptance requires you to live life on your terms – even if that choice is not what other people would want from you. You accept who you are is perfect and where you are is divine so you can learn the lessons you need to learn. You stop auditioning in life when you learn to accept yourself because you realize you are already starring in the role of a lifetime.
Don’t try to make your journey your child’s journey. Allow them the space to fail safely and be there to comfort them. When failures happen ask them, “What can you learn from this experience?” Give them space to respond and then let them know that they are on the right path and that there is no “one right direction” to get where they want to go.
3 – SHARE YOUR VOICE
You believe in the power of your voice and you understand that someone needs to hear your message in only the way you can say it. You acknowledge your words and presence have the power to make people feel less alone and they can motivate people to extraordinary action.
Talk with your kids and ask them social and political questions. Do not criticize them for their thoughts. Your value is in helping them learn how to back up their voice with supporting evidence on why they believe the way they do.
4 – DEFEND THE TRUTH
Authenticity requires you to become a defender of the truth – for both yourself and others. You are no longer afraid of the truth because you are no longer trying to prove yourself to anyone. You stand up for your values. You ask for what you want. You ask for help when you need it. You’re not afraid to tell people no. You share your perspective when it is appropriate. Your ability to be a defender of the truth allows other people the freedom to do the same.
3 ways you can be a role-model for the truth: 1) engage in safe, difficult conversations when necessary 2) demonstrate that it is okay to ask for what you want in a restaurant 3) Share your core values with your kids and help them explore theirs.
You owe it to yourself to live an authentic life! With authenticity comes self-worth and freedom, and that is the most valuable gift you can ever give yourself.