Inspiration Ethics – The Value of Authenticity

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AuthenticNoun; undisputed credibility; the quality or condition of being authentic, trustworthy, or genuine; worthy of trust, reliance or belief.

Ever heard these phrases? They all refer to authenticity.

  • Walk the talk.
  • Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
  • Be real.
  • Act on the courage of your convictions.

What is authenticity? When we think, say, feel and act in complete alignment. In other words, there is no difference between our beliefs and what we say. Our habits of thought match our habits of action. There is no difference between how we feel and what we do, between what we want and who we are. It means we’re whole, undivided, complete.

“…the first step toward becoming authentic is to be courageous. If we don’t have courage, we cannot be real. And being real, in turn, requires us to be brave enough to reveal, own, and often share our truth, our fears, our emotions, and our vulnerabilities. This is how we become authentic.” (Lance Secretan, “One: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership,” 2006, p. 81)

We often use the word “integrity” to describe the result of authenticity. The most common meaning of integrity is “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” But integrity also means “the state of being unimpaired; soundness,” and “the quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness”. (The American Heritage Dictionary) Authenticity leads us to our own ethical code; authenticity leads to integrity.

When you judge an object to be authentic, you determine it to be exactly what it claims to be. The same is true for people. For example, everyone has a relative who is “a little eccentric” yet very lovable. How is that? Chances are that wacky relative is so genuine you cannot help but appreciate him or her. What you see is what you get, and you love what you get from them (even if it’s a little weird!).

We need to be authentic because we love how authentic people touch our hearts and inspire us. “Authentic leaders have an air of transparency about them. And followers want conscious leaders who are clear about what they stand for, what their values are, and who live these values consistently. (Secretan, op. cit. p. 85)

Reflections to inspire personal growth in Authenticity (with your learning partner)

How would your life be different if you were more authentic? What can you do daily to increase your trustworthiness and integrity? What is your personal code of ethics; what must you change to demonstrate them more fully? Find an accountability partner or hire a coach to help to help you develop your authenticity and take these actions:

  • Describe one of the most Authentic moments in your life, when you were at your personal, authentic best.
  • Describe a current situation in your life that, in your heart, you could apply the same level of Courage and Authenticity as you did in your example above.
  • Make plans to touch base with your learning partner in the next month about how you each are growing in Authenticity. Hold each other to be accountable.

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