Why Authenticity is key to Making an Impact
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Have you ever given thought to the type of impact you want to have on the world? Whether on a personal level or through your work, there might be one thing you don't even realize is holding you back.
From a young age, we are taught by society that our goal should be to fit in. In school, the fastest way to make friends is to show the ways we're similar to everyone else. The more we make it look like we're easy to understand and find commonalities with, the quicker we're accepted. As we grow up, society continues to tell us what we should want, and what should make us happy in life, which often involves blending in.
A great example of this is shared by New York Times best-selling author and transgender advocate Janet Mock, on Oprah's Super Soul Conversations. She shares how, as a transgender woman, she struggled with identity at a young age. When Janet began to express who she was, the people in her small community didn't readily accept it. Her life changed when, as a teenager, she met a friend who unapologetically embraced who they were, and it inspired her to live her truth regardless of what others deemed to be 'normal.'
However, Janet explains that her path was not linear. After she began expressing her true self, she moved and to New York and started to find comfort in what she refers to as 'normalcy.' She was able to blend in, without drawing attention to the things that make her different. It wasn't until she began to embrace authenticity that she stood as who she's meant to be – a person destined to make a significant impact on the world.
As Janet describes, we all yearn to be seen for who we are – that's a universal truth. Furthermore, the key to making an impact lies in what is unique to us. Here's why:
1) Expressing our most authentic selves satisfies the need to be seen for who we are and sets us up to achieve our full potential. There's a reason we are the way we are. In uncovering and sharing it, we will find our purpose for being on this earth. At the same time, as we embrace and express who we are in our lives and work, the Universe will open up more and more opportunities that allow us to reach our potential.
2) While there are many ways to measure impact, one of the most important aspects is a genuine connection. In being authentic, we connect more deeply with ourselves and others. Despite what society teaches us, normalcy is boring. Being yourself will attract some people who can relate to what makes you different, and others who will learn from it. Note that you don't need to be connecting with the masses - changing just one person's life is making an impact.
3) Authenticity begets authenticity. By simply being ourselves, we give others permission to do the same, and that in itself is hugely impactful. The more we embrace our uniqueness, the more those around us will feel inspired to express theirs. They will step into their full potential and benefit from all of the rewards of doing so.
While merely being yourself sounds like an easy thing to do, it's not always straightforward. After years of embodying who you think you should be, you might have lost touch with who you are. Also, with growth comes constant evolution, which could mean you need to re-evaluate if who you are is still aligned with your actions.
This sentiment applies not only to your personal life but to how authentic you are with your brand and business as well. Leaning on the most popular opinion or approach may seem easier initially, but the power to make a lasting impact comes with tapping into your most authentic self.
Think about who you really are, despite what society has told you, or who you used to be. Are there any areas of your life where you could be more authentic?