9 practices for being authentic in your career

Authenticity isn’t easy. I won’t lie and tell you that it is.

Especially in your career. Everything is fine on the weekend. You’ve recovered from a week of coping because being inauthentic depleted your energy reserves. And then you go to work and deplete yourself again being less than your ideal or authentic self.

(You’re kinda mad at yourself just thinking about it, aren’t you? It’s okay to acknowledge that.)

You wanted to be authentic, but something happened.

That something has to do with thinking that your ability to earn your way through the world by taking care of your own survival needs means that you have to do things that don’t really enthuse you. You’ve left yourself no other choice than to use your energy maintaining a personae that is some version of you, but not the real you.

It’s tiring. I know.

You have chosen to work because you have to, not because you want to. And you wake up every day making the same choice to orient yourself to work this way.

You crave authenticity rather than practice it.

Authenticity is the not-so-secret ingredient for becoming your own career advisor and experiencing greater job bliss.

If you’re craving the practice of authenticity to experience your authenticity, here are 9 ways to do just that:

(Reflect on them. Use them. Brainstorm how you’d implement them – and then pick or craft specific steps and options for yourself that feel more … well, authentic!)

1:: The truth speeds up what’s going to happen (anyway).

We lie to ourselves when we think that we’re preventing what’s meant to be by withholding the truth from ourselves and/or others. What we actually do when we withhold is slow things down and prolong pain, when really our desire is to be free of the pain. Do this instead: Be as sincere and as vulnerable as you can in your interactions. Explore being in the moment (present to yourself and others) rather than striving to be right.

2:: Accept that you are responsible for your own happiness and that you play a role in creating your own life.

Change your limiting beliefs rather than waiting for life experience to change them for you (this may take a while and is also quite painful – I speak from experience). When you do this, you experience freedom now as well as seeing yourself and others as whole.

3:: Acknowledge your feelings and examine your thoughts.

All feelings are acceptable, but all actions are not. And when we don’t feel (or try not to feel), we ultimately get frustrated with our actions – they make no sense to us. We judge ourselves as irrational. It goes a long way to remember that thoughts create feelings and if you acknowledge the feelings, you can access the thoughts, which offer you clarity about what’s really going on. This instant.

4. Stand up for yourself – if you don’t, who will?

And that’s not a rhetorical question by the way. Really, if you don’t stand up for you, who will? Honouring your boundaries and needs is the true meaning of “full cooperation” – an alignment of head, heart, body and soul to do so. Learn to line these parts of yourself up and experience the difference in how you make decisions and treat yourself.

5. Seek not to hurt others, but rather to heal the wound within.

Causing pain to others is detrimental to your own life – like taking poison and expecting another to suffer. Instead, use your inner faculties to envision yourself as you want to be and take steps towards becoming that person. Seek a higher meaning or purpose in your life. Do what you are passionate about; be of service to others in some way – contribute.

The only person that can give you permission to live your life and let go when it’s time is you. So give it often.

6. Live without blame for yourself and others.

We are all doing the best we can in the moment. And if you (or another person) genuinely knew how to do what you are doing right now differently, know that you would. Your chances get better if you begin with acceptance – as in it’s okay for you to want what you want and for others to want what they want. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let someone be rather than keep the situation going. There is no need to diminish yourself or others.

Live and live.

7. Give because you want to. Find what you want to give to.

Purposes, people, places and things that you love or that call to you are not accidents. And no one can make it safe or okay for you to give but you. The love you want to see in the world can only come from you. Again, the only permission you really need is your own.

8. Create deeper awareness.

Reflect, read, dialogue, meditate, walk, watch the trees, paint, dance, journal: any activity that aids your awareness of your old programs while facilitating deeper levels of being is a worthwhile practice. We all need something to do in our lives that keeps us in touch with our real selves.

9. Regard your personal growth with excitement, respect, and patience.

Personal growth is a lifelong path that requires commitment and compassion. You will disappoint yourself. So, how will you treat yourself when you do? And you will need to laugh (at yourself) along the way. We actually take ourselves far too seriously and miss out on the fact that bliss makes the learning reach deeper and the journey more fun.

Here’s to your freedom.

Here’s to your career bliss.

Here’s to your one wild and precious life (thanks Mary Oliver).

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