So today I’m exploring more about authenticity. I imagine some of you are already asking ‘Another post about authenticity? Really?’.
Stick with me. There’s a reason I’m using this word.
Which brings me to time.
Time is a powerful thing. We can’t resist it’s power, no matter how much we try. It claims all of us eventually. But time is invariably wise too. It has much to teach us.
In my case, the years have taught me much about the meaning and importance of authenticity.
Truth. In life and work.
A few years ago, I had just launched my first free book on my blog. At the time I had what now look completely unrealistic expectations. I thought this free book would launch me on a road to hundreds of thousands of blog subscribers and a publishing deal, in a very short space of time. (Yes, really).
Now, with the benefit of time, I see I wasn’t interested in writing. It fame, status, and security which I craved. I wanted to be important, and I wanted everyone to like me.
Success was selling hundreds of thousands of books, being famous and in demand all over the world.
Sound lame? It was. I was.
In the last few years though, I’ve changed completely – though I still have far to go.
I had one e-book fail completely. I lost my way with my blog. My writing went downhill. Eventually, even I noticed. So I asked close friends and they told me straight out – I’d effectively sold out. I’d compromised for the sake of stats, and my writing had become, frankly, crap as a result.
So I took a radical step. I took a break from publishing any work publicly until I was right. However long that took. I would just write privately every day, stream of consciousness, until I discovered my writers heart again.
It was painful.
It was difficult.
I felt humbled and ashamed. It showed me how much I’d lost it, and how addicted I had been to the adrenaline rush of publishing blog posts.
But slowly and surely, I began to enjoy writing again. I forgot about the audience, I forgot about my blog, and just wrote for me, whatever was going on inside.
It was so liberating. I felt alive again. And I began to feel passions, ideas bursting up inside. I realised what I wanted to write about. How I wanted to help others avoid the trap I’d fallen into, and discover their identity, calling, and authentic self without letting ego, people pleasing, impossible expectations and the idol of success get in the way.
I now see how if we’re not careful, our desire for success can lead us to creating crap work – or at least, work which isn’t our best work, and not the work we were born to create.
Authentic is a word I use to describe our most honest work. Yes, it’s jargony, I admit. But it’s a useful word.
Time has helped me discovered the joy of creating the work which comes from your heart, a message from the rawness of your soul. And that’s what authentic work really is.
It’s work, yes.
It’s difficult, for sure.
It can even hurt at times.
Authenticity is not always romantic, easy, or happy. But it’s true. (you can tweet that)
And when those words come out, and you find yourself with something you know truly represents a part of your soul, there is a joy which follows.
I’m not going to sit here and say all my work is amazingly authentic now, and I’m not painting myself as a role model of authenticity. I still get it wrong sometimes, but fortunately I have good friends who tell me when I’m straying. And I’m being intentional in my efforts to be more authentic.
I’m currently working on my first full length book, which should come out sometime next year. A few years ago, I would have felt a failure unless it sold tens of thousands of copies.
But now I will be a success the day it goes on sale. Whether it sells one copy, a million, or none at all, I will be a success the moment it releases.
Because I’ve learned what matters is not how many people like you, buy your work, recognise you on the street or remember your name.
It’s being true to who you were born to be. Being authentic in your life and work.
Pursue that. Hunger and thirst for it. Never give up searching and striving for it. And find people who will be honest with you and tell you when you’re on the right and wrong paths.
Because if you’re not authentic, then you’ll never be truly you.
And finally, listen to that old wise sage called time. Because it has a lot to teach us about who we are and who we can be.
Question for Reflection:
How can you better pursue authenticity in your life & work?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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(Picture Sources: myadroit.com/bigbravesky.com)
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