How To Engage Authentically

So, what exactly is engaging authentically? It’s when we can be our true, unique selves around others, without the fear of what they may think. This is a lot easier said than done. Engaging authentically with others actually takes a lot of practice and intention. Personally, I believe it’s sometimes harder to engage authentically than to not engage authentically.

Imagine this — you are sitting in a meeting with your boss, and they have high expectations of you. They are asking you questions left and right and honestly, you don’t know every answer but you don’t want to admit that. You automatically start saying things you think your boss wants to hear. Deep down you are just saying whatever you can to satisfy your boss and answer their questions with what they want to hear. What’s the problem here? You aren’t engaging authentically.

How many of us have been there? I would say more often than not, we have all experienced this situation in some way or another. So how exactly can we work on engaging authentically? There are a few ways to begin the process, and it starts with you!

Recognizing the Issue

When we aren’t engaging authentically we usually don’t even notice and it’s an unconscious action. Sometimes, the hardest part is recognizing that you AREN’T engaging authentically. Usually, we can recognize when we aren’t being our true and unique selves faster than when we can recognize we are being our true and unique selves.

As humans, we tend to think we have to find commonalities within each other instead of showing our true, unique self. When you first recognize the issue of not engaging authentically, you can then move to the next step of back tracking, fixing the issue, and thinking about why.

Finding Out Why

Finding out why you are acting the way you are is also a tricky step. Why are you not engaging authentically? Do you feel unsafe in your environment? Do you feel like you are a failure? Are you afraid of getting shut down? These are all valid reasons, and you are not alone! Finding out why you are acting the way you are (sometimes unconsciously) is a huge opportunity to be yourself, grow, and learn.

The imposter phenomenon explains the fact that we don’t believe our authentic selves are up to the task, and so we conform and change in order to try and act like others who we may think are more qualified than we are. In other words, we doubt ourselves and our abilities. This is one of the leader factors for why people don’t engage authentically.

Check out this great TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. She talks about success, failure, and the drive to keep creating. Her speech touches on the imposter phenomenon and how we fear failure. This goes hand in hand with engaging authentically.

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we are supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

-Brené Brown

Reassess & Lead

Now that you know you are either engaging authentically or you aren’t, you can reassess and lead others. One of the best qualities of a leader is humility and recognizing that you need to change in order to be your best self.

When you can be present in each encounter with your boss, family, or friends, you can then make the intentional effort to authentically engage.

Be yourself

Be unique

Be confident.

Being mindful about this practice has the potential to make a huge impact on your life and help you in becoming a leader to others. Check out this book on leadership: Never Stop Learning by Bradley R. Staats. It will help you to learn more about authentically engaging with others and learning a lot more along the way.

Did you like this blog? Please share your comments below on how you plan to engage authentically in your personal or professional life!

Thanks for reading.

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