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Does being authentic really work?

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  • #87113
    jock
    Participant

    Brene Brown. Heard of her?
    She’s a famous academic/social worker from the U.S. who promotes authenticity. She champions transparency and making yourself vulnerable in communications.
    OK that’s a very short summary but “authenticity” has become a real buzzword, hasn’t it. And I must say I am a fan too because I like communicating to real people not fake. And I think especially with close friends and our partner, we need to be very honest and upfront. Of course there is no need to be insensitive or brutally honest. There has to be respect for feelings too. And does your partner have to know every single detail of your life, past and present? Not in my view.
    But my main point of this thread is the workplace. it seems to me that “fakeness” is rewarded more than authenticity. The people who can politic and appear hardworking tend to thrive more than the actual hardworking ones who don’t say much. If I am to do well in an office environment, I’d better act like I love and respect my boss and peers. Don’t make any enemies. Don’t talk too intimately about your past, or you’ll find those secrets will be used against you one day.
    As some of you know I was a teacher in a previous life. Well, one job I did a few years ago I was a warehouse cleaner/janitor. Happended to tell a few colleagues and gradually I started getting teasing/harassment comments. “OH here comes the teach”. “Better behave yourself, the teacher will put us on detention.” ” hey buddy, you might’ve been a teacher before but you’re nuthin now, you hear?” Some of these people had bad experiences as students in school. Seems like they were getting a chance to get something back at the education system through me.”
    So what I’m saying is, it don’t pay to be too transparent in the workplace. Better to not talk about your past at least, especially if you were a teacher like me, and then had to do a menial job.

    #87118
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi jack,

    Authenticity doesn’t mean showing your whole hand. I mean, they have to “earn” knowledge of your past history, spirituality and emotional state through trust and time. I am Authentically polite and respectful, but I don’t immediately share everything, especially out of context.

    That goes against Bene Brown’s whole point, though LOL. That Vulnerability = Strength. That that then leads to Connection.

    Maybe for her!!! LOL

    Want to say more but have to run….

    Inky

    #87119
    Inky
    Participant

    …. OK, I’m back..

    Have you ever had the Too Much Information Hangover the next day? Where you’re at a party and you instantly connect with someone, and you think they’re your new best friend. You commiserate over her divorce. You sob about your daddy issues. You talk about The Universe and God. Then the next day you’re all, “Um, hey.. how ya doin’?” and it’s all Awkward!! Or you run into them a year later and it’s not the same.

    Maybe Authenticity means Not Playing the Game. For instance, some people instantly fit into a group. Others are natural azz kissers. I’m not a good actor IRL, so Authenticity is my default setting! Have a nice husband, and a handful of friends to show for it, but honestly, it hasn’t got me anywhere!! LOL

    I guess my feeling is there is a reason why people aren’t Authentic. And unless everyone else reads the book, people being authentically Authentic will be a long time coming!

    #87120
    Rajasimha
    Participant

    Hello Jack,

    My name is Raj, and just about joined Tiny Buddha.

    “But my main point of this thread is the workplace. it seems to me that “fakeness” is rewarded more than authenticity. The people who can politic and appear hardworking tend to thrive more than the actual hardworking ones who don’t say much. If I am to do well in an office environment, I’d better act like I love and respect my boss and peers. Don’t make any enemies. Don’t talk too intimately about your past, or you’ll find those secrets will be used against you one day.”

    I agree with you completely that nothing should be hidden (even if it means one has to brutally honest about oneself) between your partner, girlfriend or wife to avoid embarrassments in the future or a social setting.

    Now coming to the part of being authentic at the workplace-let me digress a bit before coming to the point. In one of my previous companies, privately run multi-million dollar IT conglomerate, the CEO’s buzzwords were “Impression Management” and “Confident Bull-shitting”. The CEO and top management would put up a facade in front of customers and over-commit with regards to delivery of software projects. All major customer engagements slipped their deadlines, and these folks always resorted to false claims and their charming speech to cover up for their mistakes. It worked in the beginning but somewhere down the line, one big customer caught the drift and pulled the plug, which cascaded to other customers. As a result, the company sunk rapidly and shut shop with a debt of more $150 million and 600 employees still to receive their salaries. Moral of the story-“stay authentic and never sugar-coat or lie”.

    People who pretend at the workplace or in life will never last the full mile. They may see “short term success” or at best become mummified in present workplaces for life or their future is besieged with problems. Lies will catch up with them in some sphere of their lives at some point in time.

    The best way to succeed in a workplace is to be as aloof and nonchalant without losing your authenticity like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption. He was nice to everyone in prison but his exit plan was very clear. We can remain authentic at the workplace by listening to the grapevine without taking sides. Sometimes the grapevine clutter can work to your benefit.

    You may not like your boss or co-workers but the trick is to maintain a healthy working relationship with them so that your work and reward does not suffer. Be calm, never react because the other person might think you are affected by what they are telling you, be it good or bad. All these attributes do no rob of your authentic “true-self or being”, which no individual or company can take away from you.

    Yes, I agree with you completely never to discuss your home and person at work. Never carry your emotional baggage to work and why should you? You are at work and not in a counseling center. If there is a personal crisis, discuss it directly with your boss not asking for his or her sympathy or advise but with a clear solution in your head about how you plan to solve the problem with definitive steps (after consulting friends and family but not your co-workers).

    Remember, what matters at the end of the day is our family. Work is a means to earn our livelihood. Companies can find a zillion replacements but a family cant.

    Cordially
    Raj

    #87122
    jock
    Participant

    Authenticity doesn’t mean showing your whole hand

    Good example is here, online. The more authentic I am on here, the more likely I am to get a better response ? Well, that is the more authentic I appear to be.
    I’m not going to air all my dirty laundry …just the attractive dirty laundry 🙂
    Take Anita for instance. She is someone who uses her real name as a username. She has talked openly about her awful experiences teaching, her difficult mother, her extensive therapy and has indicated what state she lives. Now, I’m not prepared to tell you which state I live in Australia and my real name is closer to Bartholomew than Jack. I don’t want people from my past reading my posts. But there’s a small chance, that it might happen one day. That’s a risk I take.
    Since this is mainly a therapy type forum, I’m mainly going to talk about childhood, family issues and emotions. I’m not going to tell you how I visit the beach every day and love conservation. That doesn’t seem relevant.
    I suppose the real title of this thread is:
    How do you define authenticity?
    Brene Brown cracks me up. She’s like a good stand-up comedian. Part of that skill is her ability to connect. And her ability to connect means her ability to appear vulnerable to us. She does share some of her past with us, and in that way I feel Like I know her better and can respect her more. But she takes a risk. Someone may she think she is kinda dumb, sharing her real self with us,that she should protect herself more.
    OK I’ve digressed here, sorry. 🙂

    #87123
    jock
    Participant

    The best way to succeed in a workplace is to be as aloof and nonchalant without losing your authenticity like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption

    Yeah some places I’ve worked at remind me of prison too 🙂

    #87125
    jock
    Participant

    Maybe Authenticity means Not Playing the Game

    Thanks Inky for your input on this thread. What you said here intrigues me. I feel like someone who doesn’t like playing the game. If I have a headache, I’m probably going to tell you. 🙂 I’m not afraid to complain. Others will tough it out. One job I was at, I raised issues at meetings like safety concerns and wastage which got me unpopular with some people including the boss. At work it is better to appear part of the solution than the problem. And that is fair enough but then you can become obsessed with coming across in a positive light. Guess I never was meant to be a salesmen, eh. Those shameless self-promoters used to annoy the hell out of me 🙂

    #87126
    jock
    Participant

    Remember, what matters at the end of the day is our family. Work is a means to earn our livelihood. Companies can find a zillion replacements but a family cant.

    Thanks Raj. Yeah, most of the jobs I’ve had recently were just a means to an end and I couldn’t wait to get home each day either.. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by jock.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by jock.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by jock.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by jock.
    #87135
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jack:

    Excellent topic for me! It is a pleasure to see your topic and post “one minute ago” first thing this morning, knowing Jack (I figured time ago it is not your real name) is up and awake as well at the same time.

    I don’t know Brene Brown other than her being mentioned on this forum. I started watching a video of her on youtube but she didn’t hold my interest during that clip. I am okay discovering authenticity on my own- that keeps me busy plenty!

    How do I define authenticity? I like this definition: “authenticity is the degree to which one is true to oneself despite external pressures. This has to be ALWAYS my MO. The way I live, a must. In other words I greatly value authentic living in me and in others- highest value.

    I completely agree with these particular writings here by Inky: “Authenticity doesn’t mean showing your whole hand…they have to ‘earn’ knowledge of your past history…and emotional state through trust and time.” And I am fully aware of the “Too Much Information Hangover” creatively termed so.

    In a work place situation, if I was to return to such at this point in my life, I would be authentic: what I will show WILL be real to me. I will not be fake. I will not smile to a person I do not like, a person who is unkind to me and to whom I do not feel any liking. I will smile to a person I like. I will not kiss A&*. I will express insincere appreciation of another, flattery, that is. I will not tell a particular co-worker: “Hey, I don’t like you!” unless there is a good reason for me telling him or her that (and then I will). But I will not lie and say “I like you” when I don’t. So I will keep things to myself, as I do anywhere and everywhere. Even here. I do not tell EVERYTHING: that is obscene, really. To tell everything is like taking all my clothes off in public, not my thing. But what I do show is true.

    I have to consider WHO I am telling WHAT, WHEN and for what PURPOSE. Here, on this forum, I am most open, that is I show the most. Way more than in the local market where I go to socialize a bit and hear local music. There and anywhere, once I catch myself in an inauthentic moment, I hate it, I hate myself for it. And I don’t want to hate myself. So I consciously make sure that what I do show is real. What I do not show, is my business. Always.

    i don’t owe anyone to tell-it-all but I owe myself that what I do tell is true to me, and no exceptions to this (unless there is a gun pointed to my head, then I will say anything).

    Always glad you are here, Jack!!!

    anita

    #87136
    anita
    Participant

    Correction: I will NOT express insincere appreciation of another…

    #87137
    jock
    Participant

    re talking about your past at work:
    it depends what job you do, but talking about your past can be quite appropriate, for instance as a self-introduction on the first day. If colleagues know what you did before, they can better understand the way you approach tasks, your working style.

    Another point is resumes.
    My resume gets less authentic, the older I get. Who wants to read all the actual jobs I’ve had over the last 40 years? And only staying one week, one month in some.
    The better looking resume is going to help you land the job, whether it is true or not.

    #87140
    jock
    Participant

    How do I define authenticity? I like this definition: “authenticity is the degree to which one is true to oneself despite external pressures

    To thine own self be true. Good to remember that isn’t it. Thanks Anita as usual for your contribution.

    #87142
    anita
    Participant

    Another note: The beautiful thing about being authentic, that is being true, honest, sincere is that I don’t have to worry about contradictions in my posts here- I submit my posts before re-reading the great majority of the time. I often read my posts after submitting, for a purpose- this way I am not compromising my authenticity by thinking: how will the reader take this? Will I be attacked? Maybe I should make my comment more…polite, less sharp, and so forth (that would be the “external pressure” in the definition I gave above). I express myself authentically and submit, on purpose, this is my exercise. And this is why I submit so many grammatical mistakes and other mistakes. All in the quest to be authentic, real. The more real, the more authentic, the more mentally healthy I am.

    anita

    #87143
    jock
    Participant

    The more real, the more authentic, the more mentally healthy I am.

    I never thought of that. That is really good, Anita.

    #87144
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jack:

    It thrills me that I am posting at the same time as you do. Somewhere in Australia, somewhere in the world there is Jack, the real person, typing and submitting at the same time I am. Love it! Regarding your note about authenticity and resumes, about who cares about all the jobs you had in the last forty years, this is a perfect example to what I wrote above: “I have to consider WHO I am telling WHAT, WHEN and for what PURPOSE.”

    You don’t want to tell a child things that will burden and harm him no matter how true those things may be- that is call dumping. What would be the purpose of such is the question: to relieve the adult’s stress and harm the child? Needs to be considered. You may want to mention a job you had on this forum to make a point, but not in a resume because what would be the purpose of that? WHERE do I share WHAT, to WHOM, WHY, WHEN, HOW… In other words, Sensible or Sane Authenticity.

    anita

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