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Do and Be Authentically You

We are continuing our introductory podcast series Agency Unlocked this week with the launch of our next episode titled “Authenticity.” In this episode we are continuing our exploration of our Core Values at The Agency Initiative by diving head first into Authenticity. As a partner to the episode, I am spending time here again catching thoughts in the moment for Authenticity as a primer and expansion for that discussion.

So how do we see Authenticity?

Authenticity: Love yourself for who you are, and live unapologetically you

Authenticity comes from the Greek usage “authetikos” for original, genuine, or principal. The Romans used it similarly and the word made its way into common usage in the modern era describing being true to yourself, genuine and honest with yourself.

That is a nice way of putting it, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Self-love is an intentional process. Living your life unapologetically you, is intentional too.

In our previous episode of the podcast, we described self-love as being the intersection of your values and your identities, and that through careful self examination, i.e. courage, you can begin to love your whole self.

Authenticity brings that love to life through how you walk through the world.

Let’s take a step back.

Authenticity is an old concept and you can see examples of truly authentic people throughout history. The study of Authenticity was revitalized in the 1960s and 1970s in the practice of Humanistic Psychology through the concepts of self expression and personal growth. Humanistic Psychology focused on an individual's own experience, with the goal of self-actualization. Authenticity comes from self-actualization in the practice.

Authenticity in the workplace came into focus through the practices surrounding Emotional Intelligence in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Daniel Goldmans book “Emotional Intelligence” sets a critical piece of the foundation for definition of Authenticity in the workplace through the practice of self-regulation, self-awareness and the impact an individual's understanding of emotion has on those around them.

We believe that Agency requires individuals to take Authenticity a step further. We believe Agency requires Authenticity in action. Living life unapologetically you is not just an exercise in self-awareness, but also a practice of bringing who you are to life through what you do. Living an Authentic life can bring greater personal satisfaction, engagement in meaningful work, creativity, productivity and sense of inclusion.

You might have read the last sentence and fallen asleep. That’s ok because those things often don't feel real unless you are living it. So do me a favor, and give this a think, who do you look up to and see as living their lives unapologetically? As a model for Authenticity?

When we did the same thing, names like Beyoncé, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Berné Brown, Megan Rapinoe, Dave Grohl, Keanu Reeves and Dwane Wade all came up. You can argue that all of them are wildly successful, famous and iconic even. But get this, they are all humans too. People like you and me who walk through their lives in the skin that they are in. You might not show up to your day job in a meat dress (looking at you Lady Gaga), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t show up and do you too.

And I’ve got good news, this concept of Authenticity doesn’t just apply to you individually. It also applies to you as a leader. Leaders who show up authentically create environments where team members can do the same while building trust and cultures of performance. And that is just by being more authentic.

This just scratches the surface on Authenticity, so we are exploring all of these ideas and more in our next episode of the podcast. Stay tuned as we dive further into our own journey of living life unapologetically in the next episode of The Agency Initiative Podcast, Authenticity, is set to debut Thursday April 13th.


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