Authenticity

Women Inspiring Women is one of my favourite things and the foundation of my personal journey in writing and co-creating Tara Cronica. I took part in a Women’s Networking Group where the subject was The Inner Journey of an Authentic Leader hosted by the founder Tana Heminsley.

The moment I sat down I was curious and engaged as to what would transpire in a room filled with successful, strong, independent women. I had only interacted with a few of the women in the room but knew who they were from company events. Tana was an inspirational, she was calm, very present and approachable, making everyone feel they were in a safe place. I would describe her as a woman who genuinely cared and truly found her purpose. She was aligned in my eyes with what she was meant to be doing, guiding women to find their authentic self and teaching them how to apply it to business as a leader. First step is locating where you are…

We shared openly how we felt when we were authentic or the best version of ourselves. We did a task where we finished a sentence: My Authentic Self (At my best, above the line, I am) : ________.  I chose supportive, compassionate and attentive. I am not yet in a leadership role, however I consider myself a leader in life. I related this task with how I felt when giving my teenagers advice and having them leave feeling empowered. We each spoke our truth with ease having our core values and moral compasses engaged. I remember taking a moment to put into words how this made me feel when they left the room.

“I slowly feel myself align with motherhood…letting my body float over the crest of the wake after a swim in an ocean of uncertainty…a sense of relief as I allow my arms to relax opening my heart to what is…what was and what will or could be…my body floats to the surface…effortlessly drifting down the later side of yet another swell in this ocean we call life as a Mother.” It was a moment of Motherhood bliss. I was my authentic self, not judging or needing to react, not forcing my opinion from life experience, just being at ease with my truth, and theirs.

We also finished a sentence: “Personality/Ego (When below the line, I am)_______. I chose self doubting, worried and not balanced. We uncovered our vulnerabilities which seemed to have a common thread among the variety of personalities in the room. We identified how it felt to dip below our authentic self into the Personality/Ego. Being aware was a step in the right direction. We could all agree it feels much better to function above the line in the authentic realm. Having said that laughter filled the room when someone admit-tingly dipped below the line repetitively during the day. As funny as it was to hear others joke about dipping below the line, it was authentic to admit with ease and laugh about it, which in turn connected each of us on another level. We supported each other by adding a relatable nod and challenged one another to think about how to prepare ourselves for triggers that take us into the shadow of our true self.

Triggers can come from within, our own inner dialogue, self sabotage or a personality we don’t see eye to eye with. One of my favourite quotes “Thoughts become things, choose the good ones” ~ Notes from the Universe. Learning to identify what your triggers are will help you navigate through them more quickly. Preparing yourself before you meet with a personality that triggers you will allow you to stay on track and keep the task at hand in focus. We all left with new tools in our kits that will help us lead authentically, recognize when we are a little off balance and how to regain our composure and move forward.

Tana also emphasized how important it was to be kind to ourselves when they ventured down a less favourable path losing sight of our true self. We have all been there from time to time and that’s okay, we are allowed to wallow as long as we don’t plant roots.

My take away goes something like this…“When we align ourselves with others who lead authentically, allow ourselves to be vulnerable, understand the importance of our own inner journey, implement and fuse our core values with the values and ethics of company, magic happens!” 

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Round Hole Square Peg

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How long do we need to continue putting a square peg into a round hole before we throw it up in the air and try something different? We all learn as babies how this works. Triangle shape fits into a triangle hole. I don’t know one who got it right the first go. As adults we sat and watched encouraging the fumbling little fingers and intense concentration to keep trying, knowing they would eventually get it right. When they did, we celebrated their accomplishment just as enthusiastically if not more than they did.

Flash forward years and change your view just slightly and imagine these pegs as our belief systems, morals, values and opinions. We may not have the pegs in front of us physically but the idea is just the same. We have a way of thinking and our partner has their way of thinking. His may be the round peg and you may have the square hole. <~~~ that sounds just weird after writing it but I am going to leave it.

We all have different opinions, belief systems, morals and values. Some we are willing to compromise on and some are set in stone. We can either try to change the other to adopt ours or we can compromise and blend them together. Keep in mind that each human being has walked a unique path making them who they are because of where they came from and the life experience they had along the way. When we can dive deep to the root of who they are it is much easier to understand why they may have formed a different view on life than we have. Unlike the baby trying to fit that rigid peg into a hole we have learned over the years to compromise in our work relationships, friendships and love unions. We evolve and learn that what is best for the team is a blend of everyone involved. It is not as cut and dry as wood pegs.

Lets say within a relationship we are given 10 pegs, we can see how many we agree on by placing them into the right slot. Again celebrating the ones that fit so perfectly. But what happens when they don’t fit?

We can take weeks, months even years to figure out some of our pegs are not going to match no matter how hard we try. Some of us are slow learners, or are we? Maybe we just know what we want and were relentless in finding a way to make it work? Maybe we are not willing to compromise? Maybe we just need to find a heavier mallet to smash the square peg into the round hole and be done with it. The problem is the peg we smash into the wrong hole is going to be damaged. Now what? Should we be get out our sandpaper and start smoothing the edges of our pegs and try to keep going? <~~~ that is called compromise. Or do we give up and walk away from all the pegs we have damaged?

This is where communication steps in…Hallelujah to words but even better the actions that follow. In my humble opinion, if you are not willing to follow through with the actions behind the words, you should keep those words inside a little longer. The time will eventually present itself and be a moment to celebrate! Mean what you say and say what you mean.

Some of us can communicate better than others. If we try, over time we evolve into better communicators with practise. If you consider yourself a poor communicator with words, you can always fall back on your actions…you know what they say about actions, they speak louder then words. There really is no reason to fail at communication, it’s just whether or not you are doing it to listen, or to reply. Muting someones words just tells them they don’t matter. I have learned over the years that if you stay in the room, even the worst case scenario…agree to disagree, you fair better than walking away.

Communication is a choice. Here are a few prime examples, you tell me what appears to be the best form of getting your whole view across.

Text messaging is a form of somewhat broken communication, good if you are sending brief information required, but for anything more meaningful it is passing back and forth fragmented thoughts that can lapse over days. This is for those who want to think so long before they speak and even when they do it is so wide open for interpretation it most often goes in the wrong direction, leaving both parties more confused.

Email can have it’s advantages for those who want to get their thoughts down without being interrupted but isn’t injections from the other person necessary to have the flow go in the right direction, a natural ebb and flow of a conversation. You both help the other understand by clarifying something along the way as to not have the wrong impression.

Phone conversation are the second best in my opinion, hearing the persons voice can help direct you as to what they are feeling with simply the tone of their voice.

Standing in front of another human being is the only way to truly communicate. The only way you can have any real success in trying to get his round peg into your square hole. 🙂 You see their eyes, their body language and if both are open to expressing themselves honestly it is a communication celebration.

So life is not about being completely structured, fitting a square peg into a square hole and thinking that is the only option. Life is about how we deal with situations when the square peg and round hole present itself to us, how we communicate to solve the problem, whether in business or our personal lives.

~ Tracy

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