Being Authentic in Business

I recently went to a networking event where the venue had loads of people subscribing to the ‘I’m here to listen to you… what can I do for you?… positive thinking’… or positive ‘stinking’, as I call it… zeitgeist.

So what’s wrong with that? Nothing… if it and they were genuine. And some of it and they certainly weren’t!

I’ve been a coach, trainer and psychotherapist long enough to pick up when people aren’t being conguent. The eyes that belie what’s being said. Gestures which indicate there’s a mismatch between what’s being projected and internal state.

And oh those ‘Happy clappy’ people who use it to mask quite different feelings inside… even from themselves sometimes. I’m sorry they are where they are and they come over as authentic as mock wood window frames masquerading as the real thing.

And no, that’s not managing your state! Managing your state is when you geuinely access, experience and behave congruently with an internal and productive state of being.

Now, I love networking. I’m curious and interested in people and I love the current altruistic ideas in business about how making relationships is what counts. How we can be of service to each other… win win win situations where both sides and the relationship itself prospers. Yum!

However, I don’t enjoy spending my precious time with inauthentic people however well meaning they might be. The most important value for me is authenticity. The pseudo-altruistic-‘this is the new way to get businss’-zeitgeist and incongruity turn me off big time.

And I know about that because I’ve done it. I once gave a talk where I listened to my coaches too well – or badly! I’d taken on board their advice on how to do things, to structure things. But do you know what, it didn’t go well. And even though I knew something not good was happening I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

It wasn’t until a day or two afterwards that I got it. It was simple. I just wasn’t being ‘me’ giving the talk in line with my own integrity. I was using a borrowed zeitgeist that didn’t fit!

So, if you’re using a zeitgeist that doesn’t really fit… start with a few deep breaths to clear yourself. Then spend some time writing about the values that are important to you. Follow this up with more writing, drawing or doodling about how you could be really ‘you’ at networking events, in business or at any time! Next, imagine yourself in at least 3 situations being authentic… Take time to notice positive, delicious differences in yourself and how other people respond to you.

Finally, go do it… and enjoy!


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