You start growing relationships when you make the choice to be authentically you. When you put on masks or try to change your nature to fit the moment then you begin to push away the very relationships that would give you the focus and strength to live out your unique design.
“You have a phone voice.”
I had just hung up from a call that interrupted a visit from my friend and her daughter. It was her daughter that pointed out how my voice changed when I answered the phone.
Her comment stunned me. My goal had always been to be authentically me. I never tried to put on airs or be something more (or something less) than who I was.
Unless that is, I was answering the phone apparently.
As the years went by and I struggled to build success as a writer, I found there were a lot of places I put on a “phone voice.” I guess it would be better described as a phony voice.
It wasn’t me. It wasn’t what I believed. People smarter than me who had been doing it longer than me told me it was right. Even though I knew what I knew, I went with what they told me.
One day, I was describing myself to a friend and explained that I am all about encouragement. I went on to share I had a habit of being snarky.
Jim looked perplexed. “You say you are an encourager and that you love snarky. I can’t bring those two together. It’s like trying to picture a snarky rainbow.”
From that moment forward, I dared to be the authentic me I was when I was around my close friends. I didn’t have a phone voice. I didn’t have a professional persona. I didn’t have a proper presentation.
I just did me.
It’s amazing how much easier everything becomes when you choose to be authentically (and unapologetically) you.
How to be the Authentic You
- Recognize You are the Only You Out There – others can tell you what they think you should be. It will be like a bird telling a fish what to do. You are not they and they are not you. Only you can know your way. When you understand that, it begins to make your way okay.
- Break the Cycle of Expectations with No – as long as you go along to get along then people will expect you to go along. When you know you then you know when to say no to the requests.
Shake It Off – let go of the things that others have put on you. Let go of the things you have put on you (if you don’t want to keep them). Let go of the rules they have set for your journey. This is you for you by you. Shake off everything else.
Define Your Uniqueness – make a list of the qualities, traits, gifts, abilities, talents, training, loves, likes, and wants that make up you. As you make your lists (and maybe even have others that know you best make lists as well), you will begin to recognize commonalities within those lists. The more you study these lists the more you will begin to uncover and unlock the unique you.
Live Boldly in the You – be you. Know that as you are you, there will be people who tell you that you aren’t right. They may even call you names. But there will be even more people watching you be you and then daring to be themselves as well. You will inspire others by being you.
Once you gain a focus on the authentic you then you are positioned to share that with others. People want to be around others that are real, transparent, and walking in integrity. Your authentic you will project that to those you encounter.
Be warned. Not everyone will appreciate the authentic you. Some people will not like you. They may respect your authenticity, but that doesn’t mean they will want to be around it. Be okay with others not appreciating the authentic you. There will more that are inspired by your walk of authenticity.