The way in which Authentic Thinking of Extremely?
We recently had a fascinating discussion about authenticity with a small grouping of delegates during an internally communication skills course. We’d identified in early stages that all the participants attending the two-day programme had received a 360-degree feedback suggesting that they could take advantage of tools and techniques to develop their communication skills. One person in the group felt that, while they certainly were keen to improve their skills being authentic while communicating at the job was the most important thing. Then they added that they would feel inauthentic if they certainly were to consciously use their gestures in a way that will influence someone. This prompted us to pause and ask the group if they would be interested in us facilitating an exploration into this is of the term authenticity. They unanimously agreed and so we kicked off by asking the next question:
“You think there’s a distinction between how you’re feeling, think and behave when you are acquainted with your loved ones, out with friends and at use colleagues?”
While everyone in this kind of group agreed there was indeed a distinction, most felt that they behaved authentically while communicating at work. This then prompted the question, which of the feelings and behaviours were most authentic to the individual; all of them perhaps? This is a little trickier because it was clear from a number of the feedback the delegates in the space had received from a recent 360 that their authentic behavior wasn’t necessarily making the desired impact. The objective for the remaining session then shifted towards how we might identify which can be our authentic self and how to then consciously use a communication skills technique without losing authenticity. What happened next?
Think, can of worms and a jar opener!
We started by looking at how we might be aware of how exactly we use the 4 dimensions (body, heart, mind and intention) to state ourselves. Once we’re clear about that we can start to recognize that there are actually many selves behind what may seem like one personality. At the very least four in many cases.
Let’s start using what we might believe is our authentic physical self. It’s a well known fact that we inherit 50% of our genes from our Mothers and another 50% from our fathers therefore the self we call our body is entirely inherited. We’re basically physical reproductions of our parents. The biggest thing to know about this is that the genes we’ve inherited contain memories. You could have heard of muscle memory in sport, well the exact same pertains to the genetic memory inherent in the forming of the human body in vitro. All of the memories that inform the method leading to the shape, size and quality of our physical organs is within the genes we inherit and are the result of our ancestors’ social and environmental experiences and behaviours. Recent studies in epigenetics have revealed so just how important genetic inheritance can be in terms of our health and well-being and that of our children. So, what does it mean to be authentically ourselves physically when we’ve inherited someone else’s parts of the body?
Now let’s explore how we might develop into a slightly different person when we become emotional. People will often say that after an especially emotional episode – this may have involved either feeling extremely happy or ecstatic to feeling sad or angry – they felt like they had been hijacked by another personality. This really is essentially because our emotions are a mixture of inherited dispositions, learned behaviours and also our own unique responses to living conditions and experiences we have been born into. Each important stage of life is marked by certain emotional benchmarks, infancy to childhood and puberty to adulthood how to live authentically. All these stages will have featured both positive and negative experiences that lay out some fairly stubborn and habitual, emotional responses that can be very hard to break. So, are we always authentically being ourselves emotionally? Which is your true and authentic emotional self?
The intellectual dimension can also be subject to the vagaries of our genetic inheritance. Although this is not necessarily fixed for life. Research into brain plasticity has revealed that our thinking style can be altered and with practice and regular brain workouts we can increase our intellectual capacity. However, our genes combined with the quality of our education will influence the development of a personality that is founded on our own knowledge of the world. The process for this personality is so it will often be a mix of learned traditions and rules plus our own interpretation of the information we have been required to know and accept. It’s probably safe to assume that most individuals are behaving authentically when communicating their knowledge about the world. After all, it’s what they believe to be true.
Which neatly brings us to the fourth dimension of self-expression. The Intentional self. This is actually the personality that forms around our deepest values and beliefs about life, the universe and everything. For instance, while at the job you could professionally execute all the tasks required of your job role but your ‘intention’ is to get throughout the day avoiding your boss or certain colleagues and escape the building as quickly as possible. In this instance you might be ‘doing’ employment of work that doesn’t utilize your entire skills, doing work for a manager who doesn’t value you or recognize or acknowledge your potential and perhaps your role isn’t offering you the opportunities you imagine you deserve. In this example your intentional self is the most authentic expression of what and who you are. Maybe you are ‘doing’ your job very well but your ‘being’- gestures and emotional responses to others you use – is likely to be expressing your ‘authentic’ intentions. In cases like this if you communicate anything besides that which you genuinely intend you might be perceived as behaving in-authentically – perhaps without even realizing it. This is actually the time for you to reset your intentions and consciously select a different authentic you that will serve you better. It may be as possible tap into the authentic you that enjoys the physical aspect of the task or start to explore and expand your authentic emotional self. How might you become authentically more touching your emotions in a way that benefits both your colleagues and customers? Perhaps your intellectual self could offer more to your boss than you currently share. What impact might that have?
As we consciously choose which self to state, when, to whom and how, we can start to integrate all 4 dimensions in a flow of ‘being’ that increases our feeling of authenticity.