ARE YOU AUTHENTIC?
By: Michael Aun, FIC, LUTCF, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame®
Past President, NAIFA-Central Florida
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Are you comfortable in your own skin? Are you completely safe being yourself so that others trust you? Will your clients buy from you because you have the best deal or the right solution for their problem?
Authenticity is something you either have or you do not. It is as much a character trait as it is a conscious choice to be honest with yourself. In doing so we show others our vulnerability. That is a powerful arrow to have in your quiver.
Having spent the past five decades on platforms across the world, the one thing that stands out to every audience is your credibility on the stage. Even if your “stage” is mom and pop across a kitchen table or a CEO and his or her Board of Directors, your authenticity is critical in your relationship.
As is so often the case in life, look to those who know you best to gauge your authenticity. Why? Your kids and grandchildren will not look past your faults. You must be brave enough to live it.
Authenticity is not about approval. You would better served by showing a contrarian side to a debate. It represents the bravery needed to survive tough times. Do not change who or what you are; embrace it. Love it or leave it and become a better version of yourself.
Over the decades of speaking on leadership I have concluded that perfection is something none of us achieve. Be true to yourself. That is the best way to illustrate how genuine you truly are.
What are the consequences of tradeoffs? They can be severe… leading to a variety of disorders, depression, resentment, grief, and anxiety. In the short term, it might mean you lose a sale; in the long haul, you could lose your career.
Of this I am sure, you must be authentic to be a successful leader, salesperson, or communicator. Every guru I have subscribed to over the years points to “choices” as being a key to authenticity. Rule number one- SHOW UP!
Rule number two- LET GO! That is key… let go of the anchors that (by definition) are pulling you down, be they people or things. People are harder to get rid of than things.
I recently gave away hundreds of record albums to a friend. I could have sold them. My kids do not want my junk, so donate the stuff to someone who can benefit from it. It is just stuff.
Rule number three- TIME IS AN IRREPLACABLE ASSET. Nobody sits on their death bed wishing they had attended more meetings, fired more people, or built more wealth. Authenticity is an exercise we choose each day.
Rule number four- LIFE IS A COLLECTION OF CHOICES. The first choice embedded in rule number one… to show up. “Do your job!” is the mantra of New England Coach Bill Belichick.
Rule number five- WALK YOUR TALK. In the speaking business it means more than most professions. Audiences want to know if you have done the things you espouse in your presentation.
In sales, you can and most certainly will lose a sale. Do you own what you sell? I truly hope you are your best client for if you do not believe in your product, you will fail, sooner or later.
The great baseball player Dizzy Dean once said: “When you done done it, it ain’t “braggin’!” Grammatically incorrect… but you get the message.
Better to be despised for what I am than to be loved for what I am not, to paraphrase Andre Gide. The lesson… keep it real. Being good is important but being authentic is aspirational.
Rule number six: VULNERABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND INTEGRITY are key. The great speaker-turned-preacher Chris Haggerty, CPAE® Hall of Fame Speaker once said at a National Speakers Association meeting in the early eighties in Phoenix, AZ – “The great communicator of the new century will lay in their ability to show their vulnerability.”
Are you authentic?
Michael Aun, CSP ®, CPAE ® Hall of Fame Speaker is the author of “It’s the Customer, Stupid!” (John Wiley & Sons)