What is it about speaking honestly and authentically that really matters?
From listening to others who adopt this approach we can recognise that the impact they have on others is positive. They speak with belief, open-ness, passion and even if we don’t agree with them we can respect their perspective and are grateful for their ability to be honest.
But what do we mean by ‘authentically’ and how can we adopt this approach ourselves? I ask this because speaking up for ourselves and really saying what we think can feel like a challenge, like a risky approach and one that we are sometimes inclined to avoid.
Being clear, honest and speaking up for ourselves, in line with our values and beliefs is not the same as being loud, opinionated and aggressive in our approach. Try to picture two people that you know, one that would fit into each description. Who is the person we would like to converse with, who do we admire and respect and who is the better role model?
Being authentic in our approach means a few things;
- being able to say yes to things that make us happy and that we agree with (not too hard to do) but also saying no to the things we disagree with and don’t make us happy (not too easy – link to previous post on ‘saying no‘)
- being proud and able to speak with credibility with regards to our skills, areas of expertise (particularly in the workplace) and what we have achieved through our own hard work
- feeling comfortable with our views and opinions because these align with our values and beliefs and allowing this to be recognised when speaking to others …
- … still feeling comfortable (and confident) when others might not agree or challenge our viewpoint
- being able to ask for help, support or explanation when we don’t understand something and not seeing this as a weakness but an opportunity to learn (here is the link to a great TED talk about this is by Brene Brown)
- and then allowing others the space and time to do the same without judgement, even if we don’t agree or share their perspective.
Taking this approach might not come naturally, often we have spent years speaking in order to please others, to fit in, to keep the peace and so on. And if we picture those times now, how does that make us feel?
Might there be situations that we look back on in time and wish we had spoken up? That we had seized the moment? That we had shared our thoughts and our experience to help ourselves and also build better relationships with others?
As with most things I write about on the blog, this approach will take practice and might feel weird to start with but it is worth it!
Leaving a situation or conversation that may have been difficult/ challenging but allowed us to know we reacted authentically, with honesty, kindness, confidence and positivity is way better than walking away feeling like we did ourselves a disservice and compromised our beliefs and values by not even sharing them.
Please do share any thoughts, comments and experiences below ….
Have a great week xx