“I’m just so tired. Tired of putting everyone else’s needs first. Tired of wearing a mask every day. Tired of feeling like I have to be okay when I’m not.”

My client (let’s call him Paul) sat in front of me, shoulders sagging. He had hired me to help him move forward in his business, and this was our third coaching session. The first two sessions had focused on goal setting and creating action plans, but this session – the magic third session – is where his true feelings started to emerge.

Paul had started his own business because he wanted to help others without compromising his adventurous, independent spirit. Rather than work for a larger company, he thought being his own boss would allow him to do the work he loved on his own terms. Yet after a few years, he felt frustrated, disillusioned, and burned out.

As he sat slumped on the couch, he realized he wasn’t showing up as himself in his business. He was so worried about pleasing his clients and paying his bills that he was compromising his own spirit. He wasn’t living authentically – being true to his personality and character.

 

 

Authenticity is a willingness to show your uniqueness to the world. Living authentically means showing the world who you really are. You’re willing to live the life that you were meant to live, even when your inner critic tries to bully you into staying quiet and small.

Over the next few sessions, Paul developed a new goal – to show up more authentically in his business and his life – and I coached him around implementing specific actions to do so. Inspired by Paul, I’m sharing nine strategies that can help you show up authentically and let the world know the real you.

 

Ready to live your truth?


Download the Checklist for Living an Authentic Life today.

 

1. Know what matters.

Before you take action, you need to get clear on what matters most in your life. What are your values? What drives you? What do you want your life to be about? If you’re not sure, here’s a quick values clarification I do with my clients. Imagine you have one day left to live. How will you spend your last 24 hours? Your choices can indicate what matters most – for example, if you choose to go skydiving, one of your values might be adventure. If you spend the day with your partner and children, family might be a key value for you. When you’re clear on your values, you’re better able to make decisions that are authentic and consistent with who you really are.

 

2. Stop doing things you don’t want to do.

There will always be things you have to do that you don’t want to. I don’t know many entrepreneurs who enjoy doing their taxes or waiting in line at the bank. However, there are plenty of things we do that we don’t want or have to do. You don’t have to answer your client’s email at 2am. You don’t have to be on every single social media platform. And you don’t have to bake five dozen cupcakes for your child’s school bake sale. If something is too disagreeable, you don’t have to do it. (Pro tip: “That won’t be possible” is a polite but firm way to say no.)

 

3. Say yes to yourself.

You have permission to spend your time how you wish, and to make your life what you want it to be. You don’t need a grand reason or proof that you’re doing something noble on a cosmic level. The simple fact that you want to do it is reason enough. Provided no one is getting hurt, let yourself go. Go to that conference, publish that short story, or wear those shoes that make you feel amazing. It’s your life – embrace it.

 

 

4. Stay open to new approaches.

So many people get fixed on one way of doing something or one way of thinking. And that’s understandable – routines offer a sense of safety, and our reptilian brain wants to keep us safe no matter what. But if your thought process is super rigid, you block yourself from being authentic and prevent your true self from shining through. Don’t be a prisoner of your preconceived notions. Embrace different perspectives and keep an open mind.

 

5. Trust your intuition.

You know that little voice in your head that guides you, or stops you (or at least tries to) right before you make a mistake? Or maybe for you, it’s a feeling you get in your stomach, or your chest. Or perhaps it’s a feeling that washes over you. Whatever it is, that’s your intuition. Everyone has an intuition, though some of us are more tuned in to it than others. When you pay attention to it, you are connecting to your deepest, truest self – and when you ignore it, you feel off-course. Trust your instincts. Your intuition will let you know when something is off – including you.

 

6. Raise your self-awareness.

Self-awareness is a key part of being authentic. When we’re aware of what we think and feel, we can choose whether those thoughts and feelings dictate the choices we make. Notice your thoughts, and pay attention to how you feel. Ask yourself, “Is this thought helping me or keeping me stuck? Do I have to buy into that thought, or can I choose another way of thinking?” Being aware of your thoughts is the first step in choosing authentic, fulfilling action.

 

 

7. Be bold.

Timidity kills authenticity. There is a spirit inside you that wants to break free and live full out. It wants to have a voice and take action, but it’s hampered by fear and anxiety. So many of us are uncomfortable standing out in any way. We feel vulnerable, ashamed, and exposed. But growth is often uncomfortable, and there’s so much to be gained by taking big, bold action. So pitch yourself to that podcast you love. Write that book. Ask for that referral. Be brave, and be bold.

 

8. Share yourself with the world.

You have a voice, so use it. You get to have a say in this world, and it’s okay to tell others what you think or how you feel about something. Of course, you don’t have to be rude or aggressive – a little tact and diplomacy can go a long way. But there’s nothing wrong with respectfully disagreeing with someone, and you are entitled to your opinion, just as they are.

 

9. Forget perfection.

Trying to be perfect is a huge limitation on your natural personality and expression, and it keeps you from authentically connecting with others and yourself. No one is perfect, and our flaws make us human. Avoiding mistakes and imperfection at all costs is a recipe for inauthenticity and unhappiness, so don’t let the need to be perfect keep you stuck.

 

 

Living an authentic life isn’t easy – it requires courage and a willingness to deal with discomfort head on. But when you’re brave enough to build a business based on your authentic self, you’re rewarded with satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. So show the world the unique person you are. We want to meet the real you.

 

Ready to live your truth?


Download the Checklist for Living an Authentic Life today.