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Posts Tagged “Authenticity”

On Being Yourself

On Being Yourself

As a being who is intrinsically connected to the rest of the world—whose personal wants are the whispers of the universe—your longings are not arbitrary, but essential. They are not whims, but movements of the divine. The deep wellspring from which your true nature flows is both unique and part of the divine unfolding.

“The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

While it is impossible to deny who we are—how can we be anything other than ourselves—paradoxically, we learn through the course of our lives to be more or (in many cases) less pure expressions of what resides in our heart of hearts. Being ourselves is the most natural and simple thing in the world, yet it can take quite a bit of effort.

To truly be living beings, we must surrender to the deeper truth of who we are, found through the exploration of what we love the most. It is when we are inspired, lit up, and aligned that we will find this wellspring of our eternal nature. And when it comes right down to it, anything besides being and doing what we love is, quite simply, a waste of our time.

You are the perfect expression of the universe exactly where you are in this moment.” ~Alan Watts

Let’s not get confused on this point and think that life is easy and that our true nature will unfold without effort if only we are connected to it. All great works of art require effort and sometimes sacrifice. At times, our confusion about who we are can lead us to fixate on people, places, things, or ways of life that are not in alignment with who we truly are. In these moments of forgetting our self, we can be convinced that attaining the object of our desire will confirm something about us that we desperately want to believe (or disbelieve). These experiences can leave us wondering if we can trust the expressions of our deeper nature’s wants and desires.

But we can also use these moments to show us the nature of our own heart instead. We may learn through them what is not real and true, and we may find the opportunity to slip more deeply into what is. We can learn through these experiences that some love affairs are dalliances while others are romances that cross lifetimes, but all are beautiful teachers about the nature of our soul.

We can also sometimes be deeply disappointed by the twists and turns of life—what was once so clear and certain falling away as if it never was. We can feel in the words of Jennifer Welwood’s “The Dakini Speaks” that “life has broken her secret promise to us.”

In situations like these, we might start to doubt our direction and our deeper nature that called it forward, thinking that “we have been wrong before” and perhaps “it is better to save myself the heartache.” As we do this, our essential nature becomes more and more abstract and less and less realized. Or confusion increases and our investment in what is less ourselves does too.

Once we get confused and disconnected from our deeper nature, we are lucky if we can remember that our lives are meant to be an unfolding of our selves to ourselves. We are meant to be guided by our love, our happiness, and our dreams. We are meant to have our hearts broken as well so that we can continue to expand into bigger and truer dreams.

We really only have this one job in the course of our lives: being who it is we truly are. Navigating the pains that make us hold back and shut down. Finding, loving, and caring for what we are by our very design. Learning to bring that into the world with each opportunity. Living the paradox of knowing and not knowing ourselves.

Why do we dance this dance of being ourselves? Because there is a sacred fire burning in each one of us that demands a life fully lived.

Five Ways to Honor Your Truth

Five Ways to Honor Your Truth

Like all relationships, our relationships with ourselves are strengthened by time, attention, and respect. Through the course of a day, we can make countless large and small choices to honor the truth of who we are and what it is that we believe. We can strengthen ourselves and support our own development by making these choices in the way that is truly right for us. We can also focus our attention on the honoring of our truth in specific and deliberate ways so that we can feel more fully expressed and more completely alive.

01 Creativity: Speak it, dance it, write it, draw it, play it. Creative mediums give form to what is true inside of us. The medium itself can draw out, refine, and help us see our truth in a different way. Once it is outside of us, we can see it from a new, more objective angle.

02 Livelihood: When we live out a major part of our life in a way that is right for us, it is a way of honoring the truth of who we are. Do something that you love with people whom you love, and you will feel a sense of authenticity—not to mention joy—permeate your life.

03 Ritual: Like creativity, ritual gives us a medium to express what is most important to us. You can use ritual to honor yourself directly or to honor deities, animals, and plants that represent things that are important to you. Taking the time to do something where the main purpose is to acknowledge, mark, or clarify intention strengthens our connection to what is important.

04 Communication: Especially if you tend to hold your words back, learning to speak what is true for you throughout your life and with all people is a powerful way to honor yourself. No more hiding, adjusting, or omitting. Know and speak your truth as often as you can.

05 Dream: There is what is true now, and then there is the truth that will emerge over time. One can be an echo of the other. We can honor ourselves by letting ourselves envision our futures, feel our potential, and dream our desires.

When we honor what is most true about us, what we most value, what is most important—that is when we strengthen ourselves, show ourselves respect, and create avenues for our full expression in the world.

How Do You Choose?

On my radio show last week, a woman called in and asked “How can I know what is the right way to move forward?” Which argument from her mind can she trust when she can make so many different arguments to go in one direction or another?

This is such a good question! Our minds can confuse us to no end. So, how can we find our way out of this confusion into clarity about how to move forward?

We need to learn to live from our core.

One way to define the core (a term that comes from Core Energetics) is that it is the deepest part of ourselves that we have access to. In Core Energetics, they teach that there are three aspects of the self: the mask, lower self and core self. The mask is our persona. The face we put on for the world so that we can get along. Our lower self is the part of us that runs on animal instinct. This is fight, flight or freeze. It is about survival in a primal sense. Our core self on the other hand is best understood as transcendent love, as our deepest truth and highest human ideals.

When you are more connected to your core, your path forward seems clearer, you feel happier and more at peace, and you are able to have a more positive impact. Think about it this way. Would you rather make your decision from a place where you are doing what you think you should or have to do, where you are angry or fearful, or where you are in contact with the highest truest part of yourself?

That kind of breaks it down, right?

So, lets look at some ways that you can connect in with the core of who you are:

Challenge your Mask: Most of the time we walk around in the superficial part of our selves – the mask. In fact, many people don’t even know that is where they are living from. You can challenge you mask by asking if what you are thinking or feeling is actually true or if it might be able to be viewed from a different perspective. The work of Byron Katie does a wonderful job of challenging the mask and reconnecting people with a deeper part of themselves.

Do things you love: It is a very simple fact that if you do more things you love you feel happier, more fulfilled and more at peace. The trick is to know if you REALLY love what you are doing or if you have just adopted it because it is socially acceptable. So, pay attention. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about this in his book Flow. This book states that when we are doing things we truly love we experience things like time disappearing because we are so engrossed in what we are doing.

Get inspired: From a beautiful painting to a sublime piece of music, we connect with our core when we are inspired. This effortless way of returning to our core can be used frequently through our days and weeks to nurture this connection.

Know your values: When we are in integrity with ourselves, we are more connected to the core of who we are. One of the things that I teach in my programs is that there are no methods or rules that guarantee a person fulfillment and success because each one of us needs to create a life and or business that is in alignment with who we are at a deep level and our values help us do this.

Return to love: The most challenging and most profoundly life-changing strategy for connecting with your core is simply returning to love when you have left it behind. This requires that you are experienced enough with feeling deep love and that you are aware enough to switch gears at will. This is also a central teaching in my work. I believe that as people learn to do this their life becomes infinitely better.

Speaker, Author and Mentor Dr. Kate Siner has been helping people connect to their core and live inspired lives for over 15 years. Join Kate on her weekly radio show Real Answers, Thursdays at 9am PST to get answers to your most important questions on how to live a fulfilled and joy filled life.

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Authentic Happiness: 3 Simple Steps to Find the Courage to Be Yourself

We all have flashes of inspiration. Sometimes they appear as quiet whispers in the night, as fleeting thoughts in the morning shower or as huge “a-ha!” moments. The question is: Are you giving enough attention to the clues that your inner voice is sending? How can you get more attuned to the inner directives? Here are three ways to get started.

1) Knowledge Is Power
Socrates said it best: “Know Thyself.” This includes understanding what makes you feel alive, what captures your imagination, and also what comes naturally to you. Knowing your strengths is a huge advantage. If you have a great sense of humor, creativity or an ability to communicate easily with people, then you can build on those qualities to create your best life. By focusing on enhancing your strengths rather than trying to make up for your weaknesses, you can move more quickly in your desired direction and have fun in the process. Ask a few friends what they see as your strengths, and do the same for them. You may be surprised!

2) Get Into The Flow
Have you ever been so caught up in an activity that the hours fly by in what seemed like minutes? This is called being in a flow state. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow can happen when you’re totally immersed in what you are doing and feeling both serene and connected. This buoyant state can happen many ways, including when deeply focusing on a sport, writing a paper or even playing music. Yoga and mindfulness are reported to increase flow, but it can occur anywhere your skill level is equal to your challenge and you get totally absorbed in the activity. When athletes say they were “in the zone,” they are talking about flow. When artists refer to the music, art or inspiration flowing through them, it is the same state. Think of times when you were engrossed in something: your attention was heightened and you felt that everything was aligned. What if you made the choice to make more time for that in your day to day?

For me, yoga is where I experience flow. Although I never set my sights on being a yoga teacher, I noticed (and happened to pay attention to) an ad in the paper about a yoga teacher-training course. After checking into it, I decided to go for it. The course was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever taken on – every class was like immersing myself in flow. What are some ways that you can incorporate more flow into your daily life?

3) Embody What You Believe In
Once you know your strengths and where you experience flow, you can consciously tweak your life to include more of that. By stepping into your authenticity, you automatically come into greater alignment and a peace that serves not only yourself but others, as well. Gandhi stated that “[h]appiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Don’t underestimate the importance of your own fulfillment and happiness; it ripples out farther than you may know. Rather than rocking the boat by being who you are, you actually give other people permission to do the same. Listen to the clues. By being on the lookout for directives, you will start to see them everywhere.

Steve Jobs has an interesting quote:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

If you can tap into your intuition and inner wisdom to direct your passions, you can use that in your own life, as well as to serve others. Then, you will easily embody what you believe, and your authentic happiness will shine the way for others, too.

What are you passionate about in your life?

Randy Taran is the founder of Project Happiness, a non-profit that empowers youth to create greater happiness in their lives and in the world. She is the co author, with Maria Lineger, of the Project Happiness Handbook. Programs which grew from the book, make the best of positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness accessible nationwide and in over 80 countries.

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Aimee Mann VS. Lady Gaga

Last week, my husband and I went to an Aimee Mann show. We’ve seen her perform before, and she was as wonderful as ever.

During that show, I had an epiphany about myself, my sacred work, and my business that I wanted to share with you because the questions it raised and answered are truly VITAL to any business owner out there.

If you aren’t familiar with Aimee Mann, she is a musician who has been around for over 20 years now with a successful and long-term career. Her music is deep and soulful and really full of rich content, melodies, and ideas. She has had a few “bigger” hits, but for the most part her work has received a ton of critical acclaim and a consistent following of loyal fans, without making it to the Top 10 on the charts.

At the show, for whatever reason, I started comparing it to what I imagine a Lady Gaga show would be like:

Aimee wasn’t playing in an arena with thousands of seats. Instead, the theatre held about 500 filled seats and I know she sells out to crowds of about 500 every night of her tour. There weren’t flashy light shows, but instead gorgeous stained-glass windows that were lit up in the theatre. Aimee didn’t have back-up singers or dancers or change outfits 10 times throughout the show. She spoke directly to her audience and told pertinent stories about her life. She joked around with her audience. She put on no pretenses and even came out on stage to play a few songs with her opening act before her set, not worrying that this was some kind of showman’s faux pas.

And then I paused. And I looked around the theatre at the fans that were in a trance with the beauty and power of the show. And I realized something so obvious, yet so important:

Aimee Mann isn’t Lady Gaga, and probably doesn’t want to be.

Meaning: her music simply wouldn’t make sense in a huge arena. It would get lost in there. In this more intimate setting, it was much more powerful. And, it didn’t seem Aimee needed to be in front of more folks or having thousands upon thousands of audience members present. It appeared that everyone at that show was there because they absolutely loved her – they were loyal, devoted fans, not passing audience members momentarily getting sucked into big name hits. It was clear she was delivering so much value in that evening, and she loved doing it.

And that realization brought me to an even deeper one: When it comes to my own business, I have a choice about what I want. My choice is to be more like Aimee Mann than Lady Gaga.

My work is deep and powerful and intimate, and right now it fits better in a “theatre” than in a “stadium”. I’m not interested in droves of strangers unfamiliar with me and my work being in the room. I prefer a loyal following of engaged women who really want to do the work and really resonate with my message. I’m interested in long-term relationships with my clients instead of temporary fans, and I am committed to being myself and showing up authentically, without any pretenses, no matter what.

I admit, it’s sometimes easy to get lured into the image of being a larger-than-life superstar, to think I want a flashy business with a million followers. But when I really connect in to my heart and soul and what I want for myself, my work and my personal life, it’s so clear to me that being a “larger-than-life” super-coach guru isn’t my calling. At least not for right now. ☺

That doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to create more or more visibility. Of course I do. But I do it knowing where I fit best, how I serve best, and being in control of how I want my business & life to look instead of an empty longing for a stardom that doesn’t really suit me.

Now, I’m not saying that Aimee Mann is better than Lady Gaga. Not by a long shot.

What I’m saying is that it is so valuable to get clear on who you are and who you want to be, and live by that. If you reach into your heart and find that you truly are a Lady Gaga, then YAY! Strive for that and go for it.

But if you reach into your heart and find that you’re an Aimee Mann or a Madeleine Peyroux or a street performer or anything else – EMBRACE it. Love it. Take joy and pleasure in knowing that you know who you are and set goals that reflect it. Don’t blindly yearn or strive for the biggest or grandest business ever just because you’ve been told that’s what’s best.

Know yourself. Be yourself. Appreciate all the diversity and paths that are available. And take pleasure in who you are.

Joanna Lindenbaum is the founder of Soulful Coaching for busy women. She believes with every fiber in my being that women have the power to transform the world. Because of this, she coaches busy women who are looking to nourish their creativity and take their lives to the next level.

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10 Tips For People Who Hate Networking

Networking has a bad reputation as a forum for superficial small talk. Yet real networking is about establishing mutually beneficial, lasting connections, one person at a time. And with my modern approach to networking, even you can shine and thrive at a board meeting, convention, or free-floating cocktail party.

The reason so many of us hate networking – and profess to stink at it – is because we’ve been futilely following the wrong rules. Rules that only work for a paltry 15% of the population and require us to be phony – a sure fire way to short circuit.

Networking isn’t about working a room or telling everyone how fabulous you are. Real networking is building meaningful, lasting, mutually beneficial connections one person at a time.

This new and improved definition of networking means being true to you; capitalizing on your strengths, and tossing aside ‘rules’ that don’t match your temperament. The book’s self-assessment identifies your networking style. However, here are a few tidbits designed especially for you:

1. Be True To You
You are better qualified to be you than anyone else. Stamp out networking advice that demands you behave in ways that drain you. Harness natural abilities as networking strengths rather than liabilities. Like to listen, not talk? Do it. Energize alone? Go for it. Prefer one-on-one conversation? Arrange it.

2. Realize Less Is More
Be selective. Go to fewer events and be more focused when attending – rather than dragging your weary self to every business opportunity and showing up like a networking prisoner.

3. Plan Your First Impression
Cognitive scientists say it can take up to 200 times the amount of information to undo a first impression as it takes to make one. Who has that kind of spare time? Not you! Show up with the best version of you, every time. You never know who you are meeting.

4. Volunteer
Many of us dislike networking events because we don’t know what to say to a group of strangers. Free floating through a room is a fast track to free-floating anxiety. What to do? Simple. Volunteer to help out. Voila! You have a purpose and something to talk about. Even better, you position yourself as someone helpful – proving how indispensable you are rather than telling everyone about it.

5. Get In Line
This strategy is brilliant. You walk into a networking event with nowhere to go and no one to glom onto. What’s a desperate networker to do? Get in a queue. Any queue. The longer the better! Why? A queue gives you a place to put your body and a temporary purpose in the world. There are only two people to talk with – the person in front and person behind you. There is a reward – whatever is given out at the front of the queue. And a natural ending – the front of the queue. Nice meeting you!  Ta-ta!

6. Set Challenging Yet Achievable Networking Goals
Well-formed goals vary by personality. At a networking event, task yourself with meeting one or two people, not a dozen. And follow up (see #10!).

7. Show Don’t Tell
Rather than boring others with a canned advert of how marvelous you are, demonstrate live-time your fabulous self. Be useful and gracious. Greet others with a warm smile and leap at every chance to be helpful.

8. Research
Rather than wandering cavernous expo halls at industry events, do your pre-work. Learn in advance what organizations are of particular interest. Spend more time with fewer people. Impress key targets with your knowledge of who they are and why you are a perfect match.

9. Listen
Ever sense your remarks just shoot off a cliff and crash to the ground? Who needs that kind of pressure? Instead focus on those around you, asking thoughtful questions. Network via a sincere interest in others rather than promoting your fine self.

10. Follow-Up Or Forget About It
If you’re not following up, you’re not networking! We forget half of what we hear within 48 hours. Write personalized follow-up within two days or risk having your brilliant remarks erased permanently from the minds of those you wowed. If you’re not following up, you’re not networking.

reblogged from www.careerealism.com

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To Tell the Truth – Authenticity in Business

I know some of you will remember the game show To Tell the Truth. It ran for 25 consecutive seasons and was a huge hit…actually setting the record for the longest running game show. At the end of the show, the final line before the contestant was revealed was, “Will the real…please stand up?” And, at times it was a real surprise! But leading up to that “truth” moment were two other people who were allowed to lie. So, was To Tell the Truth” an oxymoron?

It can be as confusing for our clients to know who we really are as it was for the celebrities who had to pick the real person who aligned with the career. Sometimes our be-ing and our do-ing are out of alignment. This can be a real barrier to launching a business and building relationships of trust with our clients. And trust is the glue that holds relationships together for the long term. So, what can we do to make sure our communication, our actions, and our character are congruent?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines authentic as: something real and true, as the quality of being real or true:

The Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines authentic as conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features…

If you blend those two it essentially points to the true innate character or qualities we were born with…not something we created on our own or continue to create with our egos.

Who are we…really? What character traits, values, and principles drive our decisions and responses? Have we even considered what authenticity means to us? Unfortunately, many people go through life never knowing who they really are. How can we be genuine, passionate, and in integrity in relationships both business and personal, if we’re confused about our true self?

The other mistake many people make is feeling that their authenticity will produce rejection. The truth is that, yes, there are people who will not be attracted to you, your message, and perhaps your beliefs, but there are also many who will be. You can’t be all things to all people and be authentic. Find your voice, declare your values, and attract those people who are perfect for you!

Authentic businesses do not strive for perfection or depend on outside approval, but look for ways to be genuine and congruent with products and service matching the message and image. Consumers are more savvy, educated, and informed and the trend is moving away from hype and moving toward buzz, according to David Lewis, author of The Soul of the New Consumer

If we want to serve one another in passion pursuits, make a difference in our world and be truly happy with ourselves, we must live genuine lives, live up to our commitments, and display authenticity in business.

reblogged from Leta Russell International (more…)

Does Authenticity Lead to Happiness?

Humanistic psychologists (I identify myself as one) are fond of talking about authenticity. Mention the words “genuine,” “real,” or “deep” and you’ll see our faces light up. I ran a therapy group not so long ago and during the last session a few of the participants teased me about my oft-repeated catch-phrase: “Keep it real and go deep.”

But before I continue, let me define some of the terms I’m using here. Humanistic therapy refers to a strengths-focused approach (as opposed to a pathology-based one) that aims to increase a client’s awareness of subjective meaning, enhance personal growth, and encourage a genuine and trusting relationship. In other words, instead of emphasizing what’s wrong with a client, a humanistic psychologist tries to understand and empower the client’s full sense of self. Psychological maladies (e.g. depression, anxiety) are seen as symptoms of a lack of congruence or authenticity in a person’s life.

Authenticity is a little trickier to define. In a way, we all know what it means, but how do you conceptualize it psychologically? To the humanistic crowd, being authentic means that I’m aware of how I’m really feeling and that I can communicate that to myself and others, if I choose to. So, as a therapist, if I’m in a session with a client and I find myself feeling sad when I hear my client tell a story, I want to stay connected to that feeling. I want to stay present with my client, with the story, with how the client is feeling, and with the thoughts and emotions that I’m experiencing in the moment. In that way I’m bringing the full me, my real self, into the room (instead of aiming to remain a detached expert who only thinks intellectually). A long time ago I got to observe a therapist who was conducting an intake with a new client. The therapist looked at her clipboard, read out questions, and took notes. It was a rather formal/standard procedure, but as the client answered the questions, she started tearing up and soon began crying. The therapist stopped the questioning, looked up, and quizzingly asked the client, “What’s the deal with the tears?” So that’s an example of not being authentic. (And I was disturbed seeing that interaction take place. I found it very difficult keeping quiet, but my role was very clearly laid out: to be a silent observer. In that scenario I didn’t get to communicate as authentically as I wished…)

So humanistic psychologists have been preaching the value of being authentic for decades. As a therapist, it’s not just about being authentic myself, one of my goals is to work with my clients to form an authentic and meaningful relationship and assist them in developing an authentic sense of their own selves. If my client shares something that comes across to me as deep and real, but if the client seems somehow disconnected or not fully giving themselves credit, I’ll say something. I might say, “You know, that was such a meaningful and powerful thing for me to hear, and I feel like I got a real sense of you as a person, but my sense is that you’re not experiencing it fully, or that you don’t realize the full power of what you just said.”

It’s not that humanistic psychologists are the only ones who value authenticity. There are many therapists from other theoretical fields who value it strongly. But for the humanistic camp it’s one of our defining elements: being humanistic means valuing and encouraging authenticity both in ourselves and in our clients.

Authenticity sounds nice, but mainstream science sometimes pooh-poohs on its relevance. If I decide, hypothetically speaking, to apply for an NIH research grant and I use the terms “going deep,” “keeping it real,” or “being authentic,” I’m not very likely to be taken seriously or receive any funding. And you hear many modern-day psychologists say, “Well, of course you want to be authentic, but there’s a lot more to therapy.” There’s a sense out there that the authentic stuff is not much more than a touchy-feely sort of concept with not much meat.

Humanistic psychologists will tell you that authenticity is a tremendously important factor. That it’s a huge element in the process of healing. It’s not just a prerequisite, it’s one of the chief goals of therapy. And as a client becomes more and more authentic, they become happier and their psychological well being increases.

Fortunately for us humanistic folks, it turns out that the empirical data lends support to the authenticity hypothesis. Just last month, a small group of psychologists from England published a study in the prestigious Journal of Counseling Psychology. The study empirically examined the effect of authenticity on people’s lives. The researchers (Alex Wood, et al) asked people from different walks of life about the their authentic qualities: self-awareness, communication style, and openness to others’ feedback. These authentic measures appeared solid (e.g. they did not correlate with any other likely confounds like the Big 5 Personality traits or social pleasing). But what was really amazing was that the researchers found that that, in general, the more a person acted authentically, the more likely he or she were to be happy and experience subjective and psychological well-being. These results might appear self-evident from a humanistic perspective, but there’s a lot more there than meets the eye. The researchers shed light on an area of study that has been empirically neglected. Being authentic is not just a nice-sounding catch phrase. It’s an important part of personal growth that carries beneficial values. It might be simple, but it’s also profound.

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