I nominate authenticity as the single most damaging and self-limiting word that exists.
“I’m being my authentic self.” “I’m just trying to be authentic to who I am.” You hear it all the time.
The problem with authenticity is that it’s stagnant. It’s fixed. If we’re being genuinely authentic to ourselves, we’re committing to being the same person we were last year and the year before and the year before that.
Do you really want to be authentic? Really? Or do you want to be the best version of yourself that you can be?
As an exec coach, I’m in the people growth business. Growth is really hard. It’s hard because it feels weird. It feels different. It’s uncomfortable. By definition, growth is inauthentic.
Growth is also hard because, over time, those around you expect you to act in a certain way. And they don’t always like it when you try to change. Some people flat out want your change efforts to fall short. They want to see you fail. Your change makes them uncomfortable.
This is why it’s so critical to surround yourself with people who will build you up. And in turn, you need to be the kind of person who builds up others. We all can do better at championing self improvement.
Real change requires acting differently. It’s easier to do what comes naturally. It’s easier to keep the same habits and beliefs. It’s easier to be authentic. But authenticity shuts down our growth. It limits our potential.
So, let’s rethink authenticity. Let’s stop glamorizing authenticity. Let’s focus not on being true to who we are today, but instead on being true to the person we can become.
Let’s focus on growth, not authenticity. Because growth is what we’re all really seeking in the end.