I saw these sentences posted on the web while I was aimlessly surfing the other day. I’ve been repeating them over and over ever since; turns out I have completely missed one of the most important aspects of authenticity as a dimension of quality in my thinking over the past several months.
The key to your success is authenticity. No mask, no pretense, no settling. Know what you want, and articulate those desires directly and clearly.
No mask is a directive I’m pretty good at. I don’t try to be or act anything other than who I am (unless I’m in a bad mood; then, I’m definitely the bad mood someone-else-of-me, which in itself is still pretty authentic). No pretense is also one I think I’ve got well in hand. Pretense means you feign certain behaviors or scenarios (e.g. “sorry, I’ve got a meeting now, must run” – when in fact you have no meeting at all). I only employ false pretenses in situations where behaving authentically would be genuinely inappropriate (e.g. “you know, I’m really bored by what you have to say, and there’s no value for me to sit here listening to you – must run”). I think pretenses are always false. (You could feign truth, but I only see that being useful if, for example, a person has self-esteem issues that they’re trying to overcome. Not sure.)
No settling is the directive that inspired me. If you plan to be authentic, don’t settle for anything less than what you believe, and deserve, and can offer. Behaving authentically in relationships means standing up for equitable, kind treatment, and not allowing yourself to be tossed around by the emotional whims of others. (Not settling here also implies that if you can’t have an authentic relationship with someone else, consider not having one at all!) Behaving authentically in business thus requires not settling for any less than your own personal best, creating a climate that will bring out the best in others, and not tolerating anything less than the steady pursuit of excellence.