Norton: Lack of authenticity is success killer No. 2
Last week we identified the impact of complacency in our pursuit of success. Today we will visit the power of authenticity in our success journey. And next week we will wrap it all up when we jump into the role of gratitude and appreciation as a major contributor to our success.
Are we authentic? Maybe it has become kind of like: We can be authentic with some of the people all the time. We can be authentic with all the people some of the time. But we can never be authentic with all the people all of the time.
Why is that?
In a group discussion about potential barriers to success, this topic of being genuine or authentic came up. As the conversation continued, we debated the reasons why people are struggling with being genuine, and several hypotheses were surfaced. One idea that garnered a lot of discussion was around this statement: Some people are convinced that in order to succeed, they feel like they have to manipulate the outcome of every call, meeting, or interaction. They are confusing success with manipulation.
By manipulating others and being disingenuous we find ourselves trapped in a web of lies, fabrications, and endless cycle of weak defenses and justifications. Some people have no issue with doing this and they repeat the behavior over and over again to create the best possible outcome for themselves, or to place themselves in the spotlight and as the center of attention. The problem is they actually believe they are fooling the rest of us, when in fact, most times we can see right through the disguise, pretense, and manipulation.
Lack of authenticity is a success killer for sure. It damages brands, it tarnishes reputations, and it damages relationships, sometimes beyond repair. The amount of work that has to be done in order to undo the hurts and collateral damage, and reestablish credibility, is so much harder and takes so much more time than just simply being genuine and authentic right from the start.
Being transparent and vulnerable takes courage, but as we become proficient at authenticity and transparency, our courage and confidence grow in parallel. And as this happens, we quickly recognize just how powerful these character traits are to the pursuit and achievement of our personal and professional success.
Integrity comes with authenticity. And integrity can be defined as living in such a way that we never have to look over our shoulder. It can also be defined as doing the right thing when no one else is looking. Being genuine, living, loving, and working with character and integrity sets us up to pursue our success from a position of authenticity. With authenticity comes trust, with trust comes deeper relationships, and with deeper relationships comes success.
“You will make a horrible anyone else, but you will make the best you that ever lived,” Zig Ziglar said.
If this is true, then why do we try and keep up with the Joneses? Why do we try and impersonate other people? Why do we spin stories and manipulate situations that could hurt others? It’s because we lack authenticity.
Maybe we believe others won’t like who we really are. If that’s the case, maybe we have to find different friends, people who accept us for exactly who we are. Or, if after a good hard look in the mirror, we can clearly see areas in our life that need to be changed. And then we take the time to become who it is we truly want to be.
It is never to late to become authentic, genuine, transparent, and yes, even vulnerable. These are not success killers; these traits are the building blocks of success.
So how about you? Are you the real deal, the authentic and genuine article? Or is time to work on your own authenticity? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can be the best “us” that ever lived, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.