When I first started speaking professionally, almost 20 years ago, I wanted to be just like all the great speakers I experienced, such as Jeanne Robertson, with her side-splitting humor, Les Brown, with his engaging intensity, and my beloved coach, Lou Heckler, with his heartfelt ability to connect.
Great speakers are polished and passionate delivering their message which we all want to emulate, but most importantly, (as I eventually learned), great speakers are willing to be more of themselves than anybody else. They are fearless about being authentic, finding their own voice, and speaking their truth so their audience can do the same.
Whether you want to be a great speaker or not, authenticity is so important in our lives because it gives us the ability to connect on a deeper level. Authentic people are more resilient, with more purpose in their choices and follow through in their goals. Oprah’s bedrock belief is that anyone pretending to be something that they’re not will never become all that they were meant to be. And according to the Guardian News Report, the number one regret people have on their deathbed is not living a life true to themselves.
While this is all very convincing, it turns out authenticity is challenging because our insecurities of not being good enough sneak in and convince us we should be like somebody else. Authenticity is about being real and showing our faults and foibles as human beings and requires one really important practice:
Practicing vulnerability gets you in touch with your authentic self by keeping you in the present moment to tell and trust the truth. Here are five ideas to get you started:
- Ask yourself, What secret am I tired of keeping?
- Request feedback and listen without defending yourself.
- Let go of the need to be right and be willing to say, you may be right.
- Practice beginner’s mind.
- Get grateful.
Practice even one of these steps of vulnerability today and experience the deep connection authenticity can provide in all areas of your life.