Let’s clear something up: authenticity is not something you choose to be.
Or not be. Authenticity is a state. Whatever you are, you are. Whether angel or asshole (forgive my French), you are authentically that.
So that’s not the problem.
No, when people want you to “be authentic,” they want you (or your business — it applies to both) to, as the definition of “authentic” suggests, accurately represent who you are.
They want you to have integrity. Fidelity. To be consonant to whatever code it is you choose to follow. To hold tight to your Red Thread.
But that’s also where the judgment comes in. Because too often, when the exhortation to “be authentic” gets thrown about, it’s because people disagree, at heart, with your code. They don’t like your rules. They want to know more about you. Or less. They want you to think differently. Act differently.
In other words, they’re asking you to be different than you are — which is, paradoxically, the very opposite of authenticity.
The path to authenticity isn’t action. It’s acceptance. By you, of you. Of who you are, what you really want, what your beliefs and truths are. It’s understanding that you’re not for everyone. That those who don’t accept you aren’t your people.
It’s about being true — to yourself.
So know that. Be that. And you’ll be authentic every time.