Authenticity and Disclosure: How to Be More Authentic and True
Authenticity is pretty basic on the surface; consistency between what’s on the inside and what’s on the outside.
Authenticity Is Complicated
Beneath the surface, it’s more complicated. That’s because life is messy, and many situations challenge our ability to be fully consistent. Inside, most of us struggle with the contradictions and paradoxes of life. Being authentic is hard, and it’s a journey.
How do you deal with these internal struggles? Do you hide them, believing that your uncertainty would be perceived as weakness or lack of moral character? Or do you share your struggle with others, showing courage to be human and embracing the possibility of change? Answering these questions is important when working on how to be more authentic.
Maintaining the Illusion
Choosing not to disclose your internal feelings, motives, and struggles is safe because it allows you to maintain an illusion of authenticity. But it’s fragile because it relies on deception and coverup. Lack of disclosure leads to self-protective behaviors like:
- Doubling down on positions that aren’t supported by the facts
- Self-righteous arrogance
- All or nothing, black or white thinking
- Oversimplifying complicated issues
Disclosure Increases Authenticity
Sharing your struggles requires courage because it’s vulnerable. Admitting you don’t have it all figured out, or that you aren’t sure about the best choice is scary. But doing so enhances your credibility and impact as a leader because:
- It’s honest
- It makes you relatable; it’s normal
- It exposes you to new learning and growth
- It inspires greater honesty and openness in others
- It helps you evolve and refine your value system
I’ve never met a fully authentic leader who wasn’t willing to disclose their own struggles. If any part of your definition of authenticity includes honesty and consistency, then getting open about your internal struggles is part of the journey.
Here are six emotional motives for how to be more authentic. Which one speaks to you? What do you need to disclose in order to be more authentic?
If you want to be more authentic, it’s OK to share your values and also share how you are struggling with the reality of living those values in a messy, changing world.