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Defining authenticity

The subject line simply read "Authenticity."

My coach often sends out thought-provoking emails. I figured this should be good one. Or yet another email about the TV show "Lost" to which she is addicted and I have never seen.

This particular email quoted a passage from a blog by Seth Goodin, an author on business books and marketing. His post was about authenticity and the difference between "being" and "doing." 

He writes: If it acts like a duck (all the time), it's a duck. Doesn't matter if the duck thinks it's a dog, it's still a duck as far as the rest of us are concerned. Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promised not "being who you are."

It was interesting food for thought during my run yesterday and swim this morning.

What does being authentic mean?

And what if the duck splits its time between acting like a duck and acting like a dog. Or what if the duck acts like a dog all the time?

Oh, the combinations are endless.

For me, I believe authenticity isn't an either-or choice between being and doing. For me, they go hand-in-hand.

Our actions often follow our thoughts and our thoughts control and shape the way in which we approach the world, approach ourselves and utlimately present ourselves to the world. If we think we are lazy or stupid or incapable of running a 5K then usually that's what we will be. It's the whole "self-fulfilling prophecy" idea. 

Dr. Wayne Dyer takes it a step further when discussing the concept of "Acting as if":

Act as if what you intend to manifest in life is already a reality. Eliminate thoughts of conditions, limitations or the possibility of it not manifesting. If left undisturbed in your mind and in the mind of intention simultaneously, it will germinate into reality in the physical world.

I know. It can kinda sound goofy. And it's not as simple as think-yourself-to-a-better-you. You have to allow your thoughts to lead to action. I can think I'm a good swimmer all I want, but if I don't practice, I won't be good -- or as good as I could be. Same goes with anything -- from finances to relationships. I can think I'm good with money, but if I ring up credit card debt and fail to make payments, well, my actions don't support what I'm saying.

But getting to that finish line, being authentic, means thinking about what you want in life, who you want to be and getting comfortable with those thoughts, feelings and ideas. It then requires action. The old "be the change you wish to see in the word" addage.

Who do you want to be? What do you want to do?

What's stopping you? Think it. Then do it.

That, to me, is authenticity. 

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