It seems to me I didn't start to find my authentic voice until about 50. I'm a slow learner.
To qualify that and to be fair, I would say that I've been incredibly lucky to be in work where I've been able to be absolutely true to myself. I love what I do, I believe in what I offer based on years of experience and proof, and it's my small, modest calling and contribution to the world to support people in their communications clarity and confidence.
To be more specific therefore, and while forgiving myself for not having been aware of it, I think I have been far less authentic in two key areas of my life. My views have often been nothing short of plagiarism. I read a well-written article, listen to an effective speaker and the next thing I know, I'm quoting them in conversation without necessarily having sought a different point of view or critically evaluated the idea.
Equally, I've been very influenced by authors, teachers, speakers and 'preachers' in relation to my core beliefs about life and the meaning thereof. At one level that's fine. I needed to read and learn and explore. On the other, again that lack of critical thought led me to be buffeted about in my belief system, swaying with each book du jour and not listening to my own experience or truth.
They say you teach what you need to learn. I find it interesting that I've taught 'authentic communication' for over two decades and am just now deepening my understanding of what that means.
On the one hand I know I'm quick to identify when someone's adopting a 'presentation mode' or altering their style when standing to present and am able to guide them back to delivering in line with their natural personality that I've seen around the table. On the other, as I listen and read more critically, express fewer of other people's opinions and in fact refrain often from any view at all until I feel better educated on the issue, I find myself more able to ask myself what is THE truth, what is MY truth, how do I express that in a way that's true to me and is there an even deeper and more effective way to support others to do the same.
So I'm curious. What does authenticity mean to you? And what have you learnt about it over the years? Shoot me an email, or join our Simply Presenting Facebook Page HERE. I’d love to hear your thoughts.