Why I Quit Striving to Be Authentic


I hear the word authentic daily in my work.

Clients come to me with hope to become more authentic in their presentations, speeches and leadership roles. They want to be more authentic to be the best (fill in the blank).

We want to be authentic because it drives connection, builds relationships and trust.  It’s become the holy grail of leadership.

And we work super hard at it.


  • ask ourselves “Did I show up as an authentic version of myself today?” after conversations, meetings, presentations
  • read blogs about the “The Five Qualities of An Authentic Person.”
  • rate ourselves on how authentic we are with our clients


We write goals to be authentic, turning authenticity into a performance metric.

Look at me! “I wore yoga pants today! I’m sooooooo authentic!.”

(no offense to my yoga pant wearing friends, I love you, this is an oversimplified example)

We’re missing the point.

When we turn authenticity into performance, we make authenticity inauthentic.

(think on that)

You can’t be authentic and put on a show. It doesn’t work that way.

The truth is, we aren’t always authentic.

We. . .

  • cover up parts of ourselves
  • hold back (thoughts, actions, help)
  • struggle to tell the truth

(Don’t believe me on this one? Check yourself the next time your significant other asks you if their jeans make them look fat).

It’s part of our DNA.

We’re human.

Do you want to know what else besides authenticity drives connection, builds relationship and trust?

Being human.

We don’t have to perform to be human.

We can always answer the question “Did I show up as a human today?” with a yes.

(Unless you’re an alien. If you’re an alien would you please comment below and solve that mystery for me?)


I don’t know about you, but I like being human, and we don’t get a choice in the matter.

(though our egos would like to think otherwise)


Being authentic is one of many human characteristics.


It’s not everything.


Look, I’m not saying you need to stop working on becoming more genuine, trying to speak your mind, stop sharing your mistakes or whatever else you’re working on.


I am saying those things will happen naturally (without performance) when we focus on being human.

I quit striving to be authentic.

I’m aiming to be the best human I can be.


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