One of the questions that frequently comes up when we talk about authenticity is this: What if you are striving to be something more than you are today? Is it still flying your freak flag when you are acting in accordance with who you are trying to become rather than who you are today?
This is a great question and I think one that a lot of people struggle with. I’ve always been one to have aspirations of being more. When I first started speaking in front of groups of people, I acted as though I’d been there before—I faked it. This helped me to be more confident and composed. Was that inauthentic? I suppose, because what I was really feeling inside was a little scared, nervous and probably a little bit overwhelmed. On the outside was a projection of what I aspired to be—a confident speaker. On the inside, I was feeling something very different. But, this didn’t feel inauthentic to me.
The questions that you’ve been posing to people for years when it comes to becoming more authentic are these:
- Who are you?
- Why are you here?
- What are your gifts?
These are great questions that are powerful when you give them the time they deserve (I just did a personal inventory on these questions again recently myself). They are razor sharp questions for cutting through to the self-awareness that matters and can change things. But, where does aspiration and intention fit into being authentic?
Flying your freak flag is sometimes about letting the world see some of who you want to me. It’s about letting the outside get a look at what you feel like on the inside. So, I think that aspiration is a part of authenticity. Being authentic also means intentionally acting on your aspirations.
Those who do accomplish extraordinary things at times have to reject who they are in favor of who they are destined to become. The question, “why are you here?” captures some of that, but I think that it’s bigger than that.
Maybe there needs to be a fourth question, “who are you called to be?” Or maybe the first question changes to be “Who are you when you are most proud of yourself?” I think that flying our freak flags is about more than just being authentic. It’s about being authentic in a way that helps us be our best, to be the person who we are most proud to be.
Agree? Disagree? What’s your take?