In the era of Photoshop and Snapchat filters, it is difficult to find anything genuine. The lines between fiction and fact are blurred. This year alone, we have coined the terms “alternative facts” and “fake news”. As a society, we guard ourselves so carefully that we fear being vulnerable.
In a previous post, I talked about being interesting and how to set yourself apart. Realistically you can be as “interesting” as you want, but it will not matter if you aren’t genuine as well.
“Authenticity requires a certain measure of vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.”
–Janet Louise Stephenson
Who are you when no one is looking? Be the same person in public that you are at home. There is no reason to bother hiding who you really are. If you don’t like that person, perhaps it is time to change a few things. Genuine people are unapologetically themselves regardless of their environment. I’m not saying to drop “f bombs” at work, like you might within the comfort of your own home. Be situationally appropriate, but do not change your whole personality to fit in somewhere.
Trust me, people notice when your personality changes. Maybe it’s the shift from professional to party after 5 pm or your behavior trying to impress some college buddies. Nobody likes a personality chameleon. We all know that your Instagram is full of your highlights, but is it representative of who you are on a daily basis too? Be authentic, and be someone worth connecting with.
Stop trying to make everyone like you. Know who you are and be okay with it. Some people will like you, others won’t. This is simply a fact of like. I’m not telling you to disregard the opinions of others, but don’t let it stop you from doing what you feel is right. Authentic people don’t fear making unpopular decisions. Be confident and friendly, more people are bound to listen if you stick to your own script. Have an attitude that is infectious, and not like the plague.
Stop seeking satisfaction in the opinions others. I could sit here and recount to you all of the people who don’t like my hair, my tattoos, or my stunning sense of sarcasm. But here’s the thing: It’s okay if those people don’t approve of me. Know who you are and don’t bother pretending to be anyone else. As I’m sure you have deduced by now, I’m blunt. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time apologizing for who I am, and you shouldn’t either.
Stop judging. Honestly, this one is hard. Having an open mind makes you more approachable, and overall more interesting. People won’t want to bother talking to someone who is completely one-sided. That being said, have your opinions, just don’t force them on others. This is crucial in the workplace, and will often lead to more opportunities. Make an effort to understand others. Put yourself in their shoes just long enough to understand, but not long enough to pass judgment.
Be generous. We have all met people that intentionally hold things back, whether it be resources or knowledge. These people act like giving you access to these things could be detrimental to their existence or job. Genuine people give knowledge and resources freely in the appropriate setting. This means being a team player in all aspects. The success of one is the success of many. Authentic people are confident enough in themselves not to worry about others doing well.
Honor the Golden Rule. Actions speak far louder than words here. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you are respectful and honest, people will trust you. This also shows a lot of character. Genuine people understand that it does not matter how nice you are to the people you have coffee with if others witness you behaving poorly towards others.
Be honest with people, even when the truth isn’t ideal. Don’t add to the influx of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, be candid with people when it is appropriate. Afraid of offending someone? Remember, silence is always better than bullshit. People gravitate towards genuine people because they know they can be trusted. Mean what you say and don’t forget to also honor your commitments. People value dependability, no one wants to invite the friend that always flakes.
Grow thicker skin. Everyone is so easily offended now. I can vividly recall my dad telling me to “rub some dirt on it” or “toughen up”. It seems that everything is a touchy subject lately. Don’t go around seeing offense that isn’t there. Genuine people don’t take criticism as a personal attack. Accept the feedback, implement it somehow (or don’t), and continue on with your day.
Step away from the cellphone. The next time you go to a restaurant, take a look around. Notice the people nearby, how many of them are on their cellphones? It is more than likely that the people that are interacting with each other instead of their phone are much happier than those who are not. Nothing is more unattractive than going on a date with someone who is constantly on their phone. The real world exists outside of your social media bubble. Take a step outside of the screen and take the time to have genuine interactions with others. Take an interest in the other people around you and find a way to connect.
Trying to get it together (I swear). Know who you are and don’t bother apologizing for it. Be confident enough to be comfortable in your ways and stay firmly grounded in the real world surrounding you. Don’t concern yourself with trying to figure out everyone’s agenda, be more concerned with interacting on a personal level. Remember your lessons from kindergarten: treat others how you want to be treated.
Stay excellent, my friends.