Good morning Believe Nation. Today we’re going to talk about how you can be authentic.
Rule #4 is our personal favorite, and I hope you stick around to the very end for some special bonus clips, as well as my take, and as always, if somebody says something that really resonates with you, please leave it in the comments below, and put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well. Enjoy.
Be authentic. Be authentic. Many people don’t even know what that means. It means that you’re clear about who you are. You’re clear about your purpose, your protocols, and your plans. You’re clear about what you’re up to, and you speak the truth of that all the time.
Be authentic means you’re in integrity, that what you think, what you say, what you feel, and what you do, all matter. Now, I know that’s hard in Washington, because there’s just some truths you can’t tell out here, but we want to do the best that we can, and when you can’t, pray about it.
But be authentic. So many of us don’t allow people to know who we are. As I travel around this country, I meet people all over the country who are suffering in silence because they’re not authentic about what they need, what they want, what they’re doing, what they’re experiencing.
“Be authentic means you’re in integrity, that what you think, what you say, what you feel, and what you do, all matter.” – Iyanla Vanzant
Act According To Your Belief
Every decision we make in our lives, as individuals, or as organizations, is a piece of communication. It’s our way of saying something about who we are, and what we believe. This is why authenticity matters. This is why you have to say and do the things you actually believe because the things you say and do are symbols of who you are, and we look for those symbols so we can find people who believe what we believe.
Our very survival depends on it, so if you’re putting out false symbols, you will attract people to those symbols, but you won’t be able to form trust with them. This is what Tiger Woods did to us. He lied. He lied. He told us what he thought that we wanted to hear, and it was great, and we were drawn to it, and all of us who kind of liked that idea of sort of the good guy were drawn to it, until we found out it was a lie.
He could have been the bad boy of golf. He could have had all the same endorsements, and had a fantastic career, and still been hailed as one of the great athletes of our day, but he didn’t. He chose to lie. Good luck forming trust again, Tiger. We don’t believe you. We don’t trust you. The goal of putting something out there, if you say what you believe, and you do what you believe, you will attract people who believe what you believe.
If you go to one of your friends, and you say to one of your friends, “How would you like me to dress”
“so that you’ll like me better?”
“How would you want me to address you?”
“How do you want me to speak so that you’ll like me more?” Right? You’re friends are going to look at you and be like, “What are you talking about?”
“Come on, come on, come on, what should I wear”
“so that you’ll find me more appealing,”
“and how would you like me to speak to you,” “so that you’ll like me more?” Your friends are going to tell you,
“Just be yourself.”
“That’s why I like you.”
“I don’t care …” “Just be yourself.” Now think about what we do in industry. What do we do? We do market research, and we go out and we ask the customers, “What kind of things, the way we …” “What style should we speak to you?” “How should we decorate ourselves?” “What kind of things are you drawn to” “so that we can do those things so you’ll like us more.”
“Things you say and do are symbols of who you are, and we look for those symbols so we can find people who believe what we believe.” – Simon Sinek
It’s just as ridiculous. It’s just as ridiculous. Organizations should say and do the things they actually believe, and they will attract people who believe what they believe, or they can choose to lie, and at the slightest hint that they might be lying, cynicism sets in, and people start saying, “I’m not sure” “I can trust these guys” “because there’s not a lot of consistency” “in all the things they say and do” “which means they can’t have a very strong belief set,” “or they’re lying to me.”
We call them inauthentic. The entire process of asking other people who we should be is inauthentic. That’s hilarious to me. All these positioning studies we do are inherent … “We’re going to do a study to find out from people” “so we can be more authentic.” That’s hilarious. (audience laughing) Say and do what you actually believe and the symbols you put out there, the things you say and the things you do, those red hats, are ways that people can find you.
Don’t Edit, Just Do
Are you always editing your life? Look, that bird is singing up there, Right? It’s not editing its life, it’s just doing it. There is no stop button in life. There is no rewind button in life. If you fall down, well, you fall down.
You got to get back up. You can’t say, “Cut.” “Let’s do that again.” It happened. There is no rehearsal, so on a practical level, I remind myself that I don’t have to use a filter every time I post a selfie. How I am, surely, is good enough. Once I reminded myself of that, I started to live a more authentic life. Less editing, more improvising, more being in the here and now.
To be authentic, we have to be super, super present and aware in every conversation that we have, so I encourage you next time you go out to a lunch or a dinner with your friends, put your cell phone down, and actually listen because that’s what a highly authentic person would do is just to be fully present in the moment.
The highly authentic person is truly retrospective, and what I mean by that is they’re always looking back at the week, they’re always looking back two weeks, and they’re seeing lessons that they’ve learned. They’re journaling. They’re really trying to understand what happened, and how to make it better in the present moment.
“To be authentic, we have to be super, super present and aware in every conversation that we have” – Drew Canole
They’re not looking back from a painful sense, you know, the pain body, as Eckhart Tolle would talk about, but they’re looking back at it from a sense of what can I learn from this experience, so that they can transcend that vicious circle, that monkey mind, or whatever they’re in, and lead to a higher level in their own life. The reason for doing this is often to impact other people.
Find Your Greatness
Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, God-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste, you know. It’s something that truly exists in all of us. It’s very simple. This is what I believe, and I’m willing to die for it.
Period. It’s that simple.
Interviewer: I know who I am and I know what I believe.
I know who I am, I know what I believe.
Interviewer: That’s all I need to know.
And that’s all I need to know, so from there, you do what you need to do.
“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, God-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste, you know. It’s something that truly exists in all of us. It’s very simple. This is what I believe, and I’m willing to die for it.” – Will Smith
You don’t need everyone to like you, and in fact, it’s not even possible to make everyone like you, even if you do everything perfectly, so you have to just accept that certain people will not like you, and that it doesn’t really matter. In fact, your best strategy and chances at success in life, chances at fulfillment, and chances at the most people liking you is to be yourself because when you’re yourself, your authentic self, you’re magnetic.
You’re attractive. People want to be near you, maybe not the same people that want to be near your fake self right now, so acknowledge that. I’m not saying that you can maintain everything in your life as it is, and still be yourself. You might need to make some sacrifices. There might be some costs because chances are, right now, you’ve whored yourself out, and now you have some social debts, right?
When I tell you to stop caring about other people, and start being authentic, well, you’re going to come up with all sorts of reasons about why that’s too costly for you. You’re going to say, “Well, then my boss will say” “something bad.” “My job might be in danger.” “My relationship might be in danger.” “Somebody else might be in danger.”
Well, what’s more important to you? Is it more important for you to be getting those shallow things, or is it more important for you to be self-expressive, to really be yourself, to really be fulfilled inside, and then, to act from that, and to live your life from that, and to create a business from that place, to create a career from that place, to create a nice relationship from that place?
“Your best strategy and chances at success in life, chances at fulfillment, and chances at the most people liking you is to be yourself because when you’re yourself, your authentic self, you’re magnetic.” – Leo Gura
What’s more important? I mean, you can still keep whoring yourself out if you want to, but in the end, being a whore is not a good way to go through life, so my suggestion is to bite the bullet on this one, and be yourself despite the costs. In fact, what I’ll have you do is … We’re going to wrap with this, something practical. I want you to write down a list of all the ways, and all the areas in your life, where if you started to really act yourself, really honest with yourself, and expressing yourself honestly, where you might incur some costs, where there might be some friction and some tension.
What are those debts that you’re now kind of sunk into? I want you to write those down, at work, in your relationship, you know, in any kind of interaction you’re having with other people, any area of life. Write them down. Maybe you think that you’ll have strain in your marriage. Maybe you’ll think you’ll have strain at work, so write those down, and be specific about what the costs are, and then, when you survey the whole list of costs, I want you to say, “Am I satisfied with these costs,” “or am I going to decide to be my authentic self” “despite the costs?” Fuck the costs.
Be yourself. You’re going to be much happier, and, ultimately, you’re going to be more successful too. It just might take a while for you to recreate your life a little bit because some of those things might actually fall off … You know, out of your life, and when they do, you have to be okay with it because you have to recognize that when you are your authentic self, now people … It’s going to be better. It’s going to be more of a stable success because now people that are going to be attracted to you, and situations that you’re going to be involved in, those are going to be more authentic.
They’re going to be aligned with you, right, rather than being the sham that they are right now, so you got to stop living this sham kind of life. The final exercise that I’m going to wrap on, is the following. I want you to observe yourself over the next day. In very subtle ways, I want to you to see how you’re whoring yourself out, and I want you to call yourself out on it. For example, if someone sends you a simple little email, and you want to reply to it, but then, all of the sudden you kind of stop yourself, and your natural reply, you want to kind of a, you know, you want to soften the edges of it.
“Be yourself. You’re going to be much happier, and, ultimately, you’re going to be more successful too.” – Leo Gura
You don’t want to be coming off too impolite, or too rude, or you’re worried about what that other person is going to, how he’s going to interpret your response, and you kind of dumb down your response on that email, make it kind of sweet and polite. Well, notice that. Notice what you’re doing there is that you are whoring yourself out to get a positive reaction from that person. At that point, I don’t want you to judge yourself.
This is kind of mindfulness. I also have a video on mindfulness you want to check out. This is practicing mindfulness is you just observe yourself whoring yourself out, and you don’t judge yourself. You don’t say this is bad or good, you just let it be, and you just follow through. Carry it through. Whore yourself out, but be conscious. This time, do it consciously, and I want you to do that for the whole day, and notice the subtle little ways in which you’re doing it.
So my take on this is if you want to be authentic, then you have to understand that you are unique. You have something special. You have a gift. You have a voice. You have something that is different and special and unique about you and it’s okay, and that’s a good thing. I think too many people are trying to fit in. Too many people worry about what other people think about them.
“You need to be authentic to yourself first.” – Evan Carmichael
Too many people are trying to live a life according to other people’s expectations instead of their own. You have your own voice, and in order to be authentic, before even worrying about being authentic for others, you need to be authentic to yourself, and learning to listen to that little voice, learning to trust that little voice, learning that when you have this crazy idea for something that you want to try or do or say, that you do it, even in some small way. You let go of the fear. You let go of the fear of failure. You let go of the fear of judgement. Let go of any fears that you have around it, and just go out and do something about it.
The more you get used to trusting that little voice inside your head, the more you get used to when you get that idea, actually doing something about it, then you’ll start to live a much more authentic life instead of a cookie cutter life version that somebody else has created for you. So I believe that it starts with you. It starts by trusting yourself more. It starts by saying yes to things more. It starts by not bowing down to fear more.
You need to be authentic to yourself first. From there, it’s having the courage to be authentic in every situation. There was this really great clip of Warren Buffett and Jay Z, they’re being interviewed by Forbes magazine, and they asked Jay Z if he’s ever intimidated when he walks into these business boardrooms because that wasn’t how he grew up, and he said something like–This is who I am, you know. This is what I do.
“Let go of any fears that you have around it, and just go out and do something about it.” – Evan Carmichael
What I always feel that I liked about that clip is here is a guy who is unafraid to always be himself, even when he’s in a room that he may not have ever been in before. How many times are you in a situation that you’ve never been in before, and you have the pressure to act according to the rules instead of acting according to how you wanted to act? I think the more confident that you are in yourself, the more authentic you believe you are to yourself, then the easier it is to express that outwards.
When you have full confidence in yourself with who you are and what you want to do, then, suddenly, other people’s opinions, they don’t matter as much. When you don’t know what you do, when you are afraid, when you don’t have that level of self-awareness and self-confidence, and finding your one word can really help you in that, then that’s when you get ruled by other people, and that’s when you are afraid, and that’s when you say no to things that could be really helpful to you. That’s when you don’t take those opportunities that you should. Those are my suggestions, and I’m really curious to figure out what you guys think.
“When you have full confidence in yourself with who you are and what you want to do, then, suddenly, other people’s opinions, they don’t matter as much.” – Evan Carmichael
So thank you guys so much for watching. I’d love to know, what challenges do you have in being authentic. Please leave it in the comments below. I’m going to join in the discussion. I made this episode of Believe Life because Dax Miller asked me to, so if there’s a topic you’d like me to cover in the next Believe Life, please leave it in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know which of the clips resonated the most with you and why? What did you take from this video that you’re going to apply to your life or your business? Please leave it in the comments below, and I’m going to join in the discussion.
Finally, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Christophe Logiste. Thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, and for tweeting that awesome picture out. I really, really appreciate it, man. Thank you guys, again, for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.
I think over time, people develop their own signature, and I think it takes a while to find out what your signature really is. I’ll fast forward a little bit. Where I am now, we never really marketed ourselves. As I began to build a little company around the success of the book, and I brought in other trainers and coaches and presenters, and started to build some product around that. Still not a huge company.
I mean, there are only 20 plus of us, you know, doing that work, but we’re partnering with other people out there, but as I started to do that, we really realized that the brand had kind of run out from under us. GTD, which was the shorthand for Getting Things Done became this global thing, kind of like Kleenex and Xerox, and we didn’t own it.
“I think over time, people develop their own signature, and I think it takes a while to find out what your signature really is.” – David Allen
I mean, we owned it, but it was kind of running faster than us, and we really had to rethink how are we showing up out there in the world because people would meet me, or meet us and go, “Wow, you’re nothing like what I expected” “you to be.” I said, “What did you expect me to be?” They said, “Well, corporate and left-brain” “and hard-working and rigorous and disciplined” “and whatever,” and a lot of people go, “You know, I probably should but that’s not me.” Well, that’s not us either, and so, there was a disconnect between how we were actually showing up in the world, and people’s perception of us and the reality.
We had a really smart guy help us think through this, and it’s really about being authentic. Those really tie together called what’s my signature? What’s the David Allen signature? If you go to my website now, if anybody ever saw it a year or two ago, it looks very different now than it did then because what we decided was, look, take the tie off, you know, because I’m really kind of a hang out, spontaneous, you know, kind of guy which is really a lot of what my methodology’s about and what the message is about.
Initially, we had targeted the market of the people, those are the people, the high-profile professionals and fast-track professionals were the ones who were probably in the most pain in terms of overwhelm, and they could use the methodology the most to begin with, but the truth is, it’s for anybody. It’s now spread around the world, and our signature, in other words, our expression is much more aligned with who we really are.
” Whether it makes it more profitable or not, I would think so, but I, you know, I think the world gets attracted to authenticity.” – David Allen
We really didn’t have to go anywhere. You know, many times the problem companies have is their marketing is a big ta-da, and they can’t deliver on the big ta-da. Well, our ta-da sucked. You know, we were delivering huge value, and people were having transformational experiences, but you know, it didn’t look that way, you know. So we said there are a lot of people we’re not reaching because there’s kind of an inauthentic-ness about what we were doing. So we–
Interviewer: That’s been aligned now, with the new website and the new brand?
Yeah, yeah, much more so. Whether it works as a business, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a lot more fun.
Interviewer: Okay, that totally makes sense.
I don’t have to show up and try to be somebody else, or have to deal with people’s perception of me not being who I really am, so it may be more approachable, lowering the bar for people to be able to engage, and to engage with me. You know, early on, you have to kind of, you know, everybody, you know, probably gets a nice business card so that you look like you’re bigger than you probably really are. You know, you start to create an image and a brand around who we think we really ought to be given so we can attract people, and not turn them off, but at some point, you really need to kind of catch up with that, and allow yourself to just kind of be who you are, and let the world come to you that are interested in you.
Interviewer: Okay, makes sense.
But that’s been as much a personal development development, as a marketing development on my side.
Interviewer: Okay, that’s fascinating, so, again, there’s two things happening here. As you develop in the personal development, the marketing, those two things are aligned, and they’re important for them both to create a successful business.
“I don’t have to show up and try to be somebody else, or have to deal with people’s perception of me not being who I really am, so it may be more approachable, lowering the bar for people to be able to engage, and to engage with me. ” – David Allen
I think so. You know, but I’m not … I haven’t studied all the successful businesses to say that’s how they did it. I do know that in the world that we’re in now because it’s so transparent, and social media can spread word like crazy, and essentially that transparency, the more authentic you are, probably, the safer it’s going to be, so you don’t have to, you know, worry about trying to be something that you’re not, or, “Gee, they thought of me as that,” “and now, I have to be that for them,” “and I have to be that for them–”
Interviewer: It just makes life easier.
It does make life easier. Whether it makes it more profitable or not, I would think so, but I, you know, I think the world gets attracted to authenticity.
Interviewer: I agree.
That’s, I think, where the world is because it’s so transparent, in-authenticity, I think, shows up, at least subliminally if not directly.
You know, so, you know, people out there are trying to create marketing campaigns that really aren’t who you are, are trying to show up as something that’s just somebody’s writing ad copy, but then, your engagement with the company, you know, doesn’t hold up to that, or doesn’t match to that, you know, that’s tricky business.
Competition is one of the greatest illusions ever created, but more so, something which keeps us out of our true authenticity. If I say I want to compete with you, compete with what, because you were born at a different time than me, you’ve got a different objective than me, and we aren’t in the same time and space. Instead of competition, think more of cooperation.
That helps you become more authentic because you say, “I get it.” “You are totally unique and weird,” “and guess what?” “I am totally unique and weird,” “and now, we don’t have to go against each other.” “We can work together, and honor our uniqueness,” and then, you just, mellow out.
Self-Love is absolutely vital when being authentic, so it’s taking the shadow, the flaws of you, of that person that you are, and meshing it together with that infinite intelligence, that centered-ness, that connected-ness, that compassion, that love, that light that you are, and going out into the world and demonstrating that. It’s all about the demonstration, and as you demonstrate more, my friend, the more people are going to come up to you.
“Self-Love is absolutely vital when being authentic” – Ralph Smart
They’re going to see you as a catalyst for change in their own life, and you never know who you’re going to impact, but you’ve heard me talk about it before. It’s that ripple effect, so the more you and I can become authentic, we can become in that state of flow, that state of awesomeness, we could call it, or that state of truly being authentic, everything else will change in your world.
People are going to come to you out of the woodwork asking you how you did it, and that’s when you can show them how to be truly authentic, and really benefit and change their life, and that’s what it’s all about.
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