By Elisabeth Gortschacher ©2015 All Rights Reserved "No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true."~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~ The concept of authenticity in recent times has received significant amount of attention as more people search for deeper meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Wherever you look people talk and write about authenticity, the importance of being authentic, and what qualities authentic leaders “should” demonstrate. What is there to gain from being authentic? We can look at authenticity from a tangible and intangible perspective. The tangible is the product and service you deliver. The intangible is you - the person - and how congruently you show up in the world. When you look at a tangible product it is easy to establish whether it is or isn’t authentic. When it comes to personal authenticity this is more difficult. The dictionary definition is not helpful in establishing whether a person is or isn’t authentic in the truest sense. It uses the terms authenticity and genuine interchangeable. On the surface they may appear to be the same but as any person who connected with their authenticity will tell you in hindsight, they are distinctively different. My definition of authenticity is genuine minus social conditioning. Genuine to me means not pretending to be someone we are not. Authenticity is the inner voice that is, and always has been, deep within us. It is the voice that knows what is right and wrong in the world. It is grounded in honoring the worth and dignity of our humanity. It is the voice that knows our higher purpose and our unique contribution to the world. Connecting with our authenticity is not a luxury. It is as essential as oxygen to survive at high altitudes. The expression of our authenticity is quintessential for serving our deepest essence and character in the co-evolution of our global culture. A culture that enriches deepens and broadens the spiritual sense of self for the greater good of all of humanity. Unfortunately for most of us our authenticity is buried beneath layers and layers of social conditioning from which we need to free ourselves. Contrary to common beliefs, this does not take years of hard work. It requires a readiness and openness on our part to look deep inside ourselves and start to rekindle what’s truly important to us and connect with our guiding light that has brought us to where we are today. A clear worldview, integrity and congruency are the hallmarks of an authentic leader.
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