My Life: Everyone has a life that is different from the ‘I’ of daily consciousness, a life that is trying to live through the ‘I’ who is its vessel. This is what the poet knows and what every wisdom tradition teaches: there is a great gulf between the way my ego wants to identify me, with its protective masks and self-serving fictions, and my true self. It takes time and hard experience to sense the difference between the two—to sense that running beneath the surface of the experience I call my life, there is a deeper and truer life waiting to be acknowledged. ‒ Parker Palmer
Perhaps we’ve worked through countless fears, worries, insecurities, and guilt to find a resonating core that is authentically us. Deeply ingrained principles are a part of every decision we make. We may be so courageous in making critical decisions that we have come to recognize courage as our true nature. We may have found intimacy that is real and authentic in sharing vulnerabilities. Let’s not forget that our core values may be refined over time due to learning experiences and maturity.
Enjoying employment consistent with the core belief systems and the need for a specific service in society is an ideal. How we handle the growing pains of learning a new corporate culture as well as a new leadership role takes all our tools and less rigidity without forfeiting the clear sense of self. Being honest and courageous will accompany a leader forward in learning a new style of management without conflicting with one’s true nature, but there is always a need for discernment. Even the most authentic person on the planet cannot resist change in this fast-paced, multi-cultural, social media world with a workforce of varying emotional intelligence and backgrounds.
Continue to study leadership behaviors, learn to be agile, and utilize mentors who have had experience to share for specific situations. Learning when to stay silent in order to achieve the best outcome may be foreign but necessary.
Maintain a support group of peers and other business and social friends away from the workplace, even if there’s a time crunch. They will assist in reviewing negative feedback and offer suggestions.
Allow your story to be on the resume, a background upon which to build. Break out of the comfort mold. Being authentic doesn’t mean transparent. As a leader you can’t tell others of your concerns and insecurities without causing the workforce to lose confidence. A leader may utilize new authoritative techniques to change the working climate and implement these appropriately through delegation and communication without changing core values. Lead with empathy and warmth, while keeping the right balance of maintaining one’s true nature and quiet wisdom
And always be aware of preserving self. Dr. Phil describes being inauthentic as trying to hold a beach ball underwater. If that becomes the sensation, or if there’s a feeling of burnout or a misalignment with one’s core values, be true to self and make a change that fits with the authentic self and not the ego.
• Am I loving myself as much as others?
• Do I belong and have a connection?
• Do I recognize that no one is insignificant?
• Have changes occurred by chance, due to a crisis or by my conscious decisions?
• Do I have the will to keep my life in the trajectory of my choice?
• What are my core values (the rigid ones and the ones that could use some flexibility)?
• Has part of my persona been molded according to the need to please?
• When I look at people I admire, what are the qualities that are important to me?
• Can I drop blaming and using excuses and remember (and pursue) my dreams?