“Be your authentic self,” as I read another article urging individuals and companies to be “authentic.”
Man, I’m almost sure there is a guy somewhere sitting in a big-ass chair with levers and wheels like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, giddy-as-hell pushing these buzzwords out there getting young business professionals all amped-up.
Ummm…last time I checked, there is just self. You know, you. When you get up in the morning and look in the bathroom mirror, that’s you. I don’t look in the mirror, look away, then suspiciously look back over my shoulder and wonder,
“Heyyyy…is that my authentic self-looking back at me???”
Listen: There’s just you. That’s all there’s ever been. The truth is there are millions of people who are insecure with themselves. There are millions that are scared of being themselves. But hey, there’s always only been just you.
Any adjective put before the word self is just sales and marketing.
Same with companies. Companies are being goaded into being “authentic.”
Come on, don’t you just feel a bit awkward when the collective chant in the business arena is “be authentic?” Doesn’t the word act like an incoming missile that when you hear it launched from the mouths of many that it sounds good (I mean who wouldn’t want to be “authentic” or part of “authenticity,” right?) But as the authenticity missile approaches and you have to get your company or team to “be authentic,” aren’t you doing a bit of a gut check because, hello, are we not-authentic here?
It’s like someone saying, “You need to be truly honest.”
Dang. That Wizard of Oz guy has got everyone in Emerald City spreading the word with amped up eyes and a pretty slick marketing meme.
There’s no adverb needed for honesty. Honesty is honesty. Truly honest?
Nah. It bastardizes the word honesty. When I grew up, honesty was you just told the truth. Truly honest? Is there another version? One is honest but-not-quite honest?
So, if you’re not-quite-honest, then ummmm… aren’t you just not honest?
Truly honest is a con job. It’s the drug.
Same with authenticity. If you are not just being yourselves in your team meetings or company-wide, then you will buy the drug and push it. You will insist everyone “be authentic” in their roles and interactions with the public.
If you have to preach authenticity, you have a problem.
You got off the honest train way, way back. You lost your self, and subsequently your collective selves.
And any company in truth is a collection of individual selves. Some selves don’t want to tell other selves what they really think. Some selves are afraid of management or the corporate culture that often fosters people being corporate dronesthat push “being authentic.”
How in-authentic can you get?
Inspect for yourself how and when this buzzword entered your own culture. Look at whether this is just spreading more buzzword Kool-Aid because holy cow you gotta buy into the whole “being authentic” thing, don’t you?
Just be honest.
Everything else is sales and marketing.