Being authentic and true to yourself has many benefits, including confidence, connection, reduced stress, and increased health. However, it’s no secret that authenticity can be elusive, and it can be challenging to accomplish a true and consistent sense of self. This Thrive is focused on giving you foundational tips for being your “you-est” you.
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Be Your “You-est” You
Often we are put in situations where we feel we need to be or act like someone else. We feel pressures both externally and internally that tell us we should be something different.
“You should be more organized.”
“You should exercise more.”
“You should eat better.”
“You should call your parents more.”
“You should work harder.”
“You should work less.”
The list goes on and on, and we’ve all experienced “the shoulds.” Well we’re here to help you embrace who you are and be true to yourself.
They had connection as a result of authenticity.
They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be
in order to be who they were, which you have to absolutely do
Brené Brown speaks to vulnerability and being authentic in her TED Talk – one of the most popular talks of all time.
Using Dr. Brown’s TED Talk and our own experience with authenticity, we’ve come up with a few tips for how to achieve true authenticity and for how to maintain it:
- Be self-aware. A huge part of being authentic is to be aware of yourself. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? What motivates you? How do you want to grow? What are you good at? What do you admire about others? Asking these questions can feel uncomfortable and “mushy,” but we promise that’s the first step to embracing your whole self.
- Embrace your imperfections. Acknowledge your imperfections, understand that they make you who you are, and embrace them. Does that mean you shouldn’t continue to grow and develop? Does this mean you should have the “I’m me. Take it or leave it.” mentality? Definitely not! Just be sure you’re not compromising your values, and make sure you’re growing and developing how YOU want to, and not how others want you to.
- Know your values. At the core of who we are is what we believe and what we value. By defining and understanding your values, you can gut-check if something is affecting who you are. If a situation is uncomfortable but doesn’t compromise your values, give it a shot! If it does, say no, thanks. Stick to them, and you’ll find a deeper sense of self in everything you do.
- Discomfort leads to growth. Situations that make you uncomfortable are great situations for helping you understand yourself. This overlaps with understanding your emotions, but uncomfortable situations are also some of the biggest opportunities for growth. Putting yourself out there in uncomfortable situations (that still align with your values) feels vulnerable, but vulnerability is normal! And as Brené Brown mentions, vulnerability leads to connection – connection with what you do and those around you.
- Ditch those who want to change you. Surround yourself with people who accept and celebrate who you are. If they are trying to change you, it should be in a supportive way where they’re helping you grow in the ways that you want to. Create and maintain relationships that make you a better you.
There’s a theme here you may have noticed: being authentic can be uncomfortable! You have to put yourself out there to be judged and not always kindly, but by being vulnerable, you’ll build yourself a network of family, friends, work, values, community… the list goes on… where you can be your “you-est” you. This is the key to true and consistent authenticity!
Apply the Five!
As mentioned above, understanding your values can help guide you to situations that help you grow in ways that are true to yourself. Your “homework” this Thrive is to define your values.
You can define your values in situations where you feel a strong emotion – anger, sadness, pride, shame, happiness, motivation, etc. That might seem broad, but think about it:
You finish a task, and you’re really proud. Why? Is it some of your best work? Did it exceed your boss’s or client’s expectations? Did you finish it before the deadline? Did you finish it in record time? Did you work on it with others? Did you finish it all by yourself? Did it challenge you? Did you learn a lot from it?
All of these questions can lead to a different value which identifies why you feel proud of the completed task. If you can understand the why’s of your emotions, you’ll find your values and get a better understanding of yourself and what drives you.
Learn How Evans Thrives!
What better way to inspire you to thrive than to hear about real people making it happen? And what better way to learn about Evans than to make those real people Evans employees and partners?
Meet Sarah Lowe!
In the competitive DC area, there’s a lot of “faking it ’til you make it.” Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a poker face. Because I’m a poor card player, I have always had to be comfortable in my skin and honest with myself.
I have also failed a lot: in school, in jobs, in relationships, in parenting (and I’m only 14 months in!). Evolving from failures has helped me grow into a more authentic self. One of the greatest compliments I have ever received was from a dear friend who told me, “I admire your resiliency. If you fall off the horse, you get right back up.” Leveraging vulnerable moments to learn from mistakes is critical to being authentic.
“Faking it” is upheld in our culture, but why do we aspire to lack authenticity? Being our authentic selves is vulnerable, and vulnerability is one of our strongest assets to connecting to others. There is a level of dishonesty in “faking it,” so I say embrace the failures and struggles in life! In Brené Browns’ TED Talk, called The Power of Vulnerability, she discusses human connection. She says that connection is “what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”
I challenge everyone to try to say, “I don’t know!” more often. See if this simple phrase changes your perspective, your personal and working relationships, and your sense of self in being a truer you!
Until Next Time…
Evans’ Talent Engagement Team
(Kaitlin Hurley and Nicole Anderson)
(This image was adapted from a commonly shared internet image.)