There is a quote in my office by Brene Brown that I love. “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” I don’t know about you but I find it all too easy sometimes to let the expectations of others drown out my own true voice- to pull me away from my true North so to speak. “We could really use your help with this project.” “You’d make a great board member.” “We all discussed it and you should be president of the organization.” There is nothing wrong with any of these statements. But over the years in my quest to have a positive impact in my world, I have allowed others’ ideas of what that looks like to take precedent over what aligned with my authentic goals. What project really speaks to me? Do I have time to serve in a way that is meaningful? Saying yes to please others’ expectations isn’t healthy, good stewardship of our limited hours and certainly isn’t the way to a life of fulfillment, harmony and balance. Wouldn’t those things be nice in 2019!
Some of you are reading this thinking I am not even sure anymore what my authentic self looks like. That’s okay. The good news is you’re in there. Remember you at around 8 years old. Trust me; you have a lot to say on the subject. That nagging feeling, waking up at night and you can’t fall back to sleep, dreading the next event you have to attend or even worse beginning to resent the very things you really do care about but you just feel drained. All are your true north’s attempt to get you to listen. Some are of a mindset that a new year means a new you. Not so. There will never be a new you. There shouldn’t be. You’ve already got everything you need to be YOU. The goal is to find the best of you. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited already to be introduced!
Since it’s the first month of a new year, let’s have some fresh honest reflection. Sometime this week get by yourself. Yes, the bathroom counts if that’s all you’ve got. Hey desperate times….. . Make a list of every obligation outside of your family and work where you donate your time. Put a star by the two, and ONLY two, that energize you. Go with your first instinct. Don’t over think. These are the things that excite you when you share them with friends and colleagues. And yes, there are some really good things still on the list. I know. (I used to have a very long list too.) But just quiet your mind for a second. Do they give you that important place to serve out of strength and passion? You are beginning to hear your authentic self speak its truth. See how easily you understand your heart, soul and mind’s native language of authentic YOU! This is where you should be showing up energized. Now evaluate your time. Take a daily calendar and mark out your sleep time, work hours, amount of time you actually wish you were devoting to your family, time for a personal hobby/interest…and then… and only then see how much time is left for Thing 1 and Thing 2. Can you do both?
I also can bet that some of you wrote out your list of obligations, held it up and said, “Gee, I don’t want to keep doing any of this.” When you tried to put a star by the two that energized you, you scanned up and down the page, made a couple of erasures and then started feeling really frustrated. That’s okay. That’s just your authentic self whispering, “Yes, finally, he might just be listening to me!” So keep listening. What is it that grabs your heart and mind when you read an article or are watching television? What cause or organization has always intrigued you? What is THE THING years ago you told yourself, I want to make a difference there? Chances are there is a version right in your own community that needs your authentic enthusiasm.
If some changes are needed, begin the process by reclaiming your calendar. I know you have a nice new shiny empty calendar just begging for ink to fill it up. Don’t. Think first. Reflect. If you are going to be the leader in your own life begin choosing genuinely so the items that wind up on your calendar keep you living in your authenticity.
So let’s make a deal and a plan for 2019. Be honest if you are over serving and not giving the best to your current service endeavors. The key here is honesty. Take a hard look and don’t kid yourself. How many meetings or obligations have you missed? How many family needs took a backseat? Is your effort often half- hearted and last minute? The causes in your community are important. They impact the real lives of your friends and neighbors. They deserve your authentic best self to show up with enthusiasm. Now choose wisely and plan where you really want to serve and do so with full commitment. Determine a thoughtful exit strategy for where you don’t. This may mean a candid discussion or two but the false weight that will be lifted from your shoulders will be a great gift in taking the lead in your own life. My part of the deal is to help you align your authentic goals with your inborn strengths.
Everything you need to take that next step at home, work or pursue that dream that lingers within is already inside of you. AuthenticA is ready to join you in your quest to discover your best self. Contact Us today. We can’t wait to meet you!
MaryAnn Gramig is the CEO of AuthenticA Coaching & Consulting and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. Leadership Development Consultant, and public speaker. You can learn more about living strong with authenticity at www.authenticacoaching.com.