Denise O’Brien of O’Brien Learning Solutions outlines the elements of becoming fully authentic in life in her latest article.

In talking to others about what I do, I often refer to the phrase ‘authentic leadership’.   The dictionary definition of authentic is ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine’.  We often use the word ‘genuine’ in Ireland when describing people.  It is a great compliment to pay someone when we say that they are ‘genuine’.   And on the flip side of that coin, when we say that someone is not genuine, or disingenuous, it is a low blow.  We mean that they’re in some way fake and we would all agree that this is an unattractive trait in others when we see it.

My main mission in the work I do, is to transform organisational culture, one leader at a time.  I work with the inner world of both the leader and of the organisation, so that a healthy, thriving culture which breeds authenticity, can be crafted from the inside out. I provide the space, the tools and the language for teams and individuals to blaze this pathway together.

In keeping with the spirit of authenticity, here are the strides that I’ve gained in life so far, from committing to an authentic life.

I am always learning and evolving my mind is open to seeing things differently.

“I’m open to seeing things differently”.  I have a mantra which goes like that, on a daily basis.  When something doesn’t go ‘my way’, I remind myself that something else is happening, because it is simply meant to be that way.  I don’t mean that I take a defeatist attitude towards life, quite the opposite.  Through the work I do, and particularly in coaching, I try to help clients to visualise success and then let go of the outcome.  This is quite a paradox and can be difficult to do.  But it’s the difference between being bitterly disappointed when things don’t seem to go your way, versus, shaking it off, dusting yourself down and getting back on the horse again relatively quickly and unscathed.

I cultivate compassion for myself and others.

There was a time when I was my own worst critic and my harshest judge.  I do not berate myself any more or scare and bully myself into doing things differently.  Now, I try new things because they interest me and excite me, and because I want to learn and grow!  I do not fear failure, simply because the evidence has shown me that in my life, no matter what has happened, things have always worked out ok.  Even if they didn’t work out as I thought I wanted, everything really has been ok in the end.  And I’ve also learned through experience, that if it’s not ok, then it’s not the end!

I realise that I am unique and its ok to have my own take on things!

This is a really important point, in my opinion.  In leadership we talk about representation.  We talk about equality, diversity, gender balance and such topics.  For years, working in a corporate setting, there was sometimes a tendency to ‘blend in’ rather than have the confidence to ‘back myself’, and express my creativity.  Nowadays, I have creative license in my business, and I am surrounded by supporters and mentors that I can bounce ideas off.  I don’t judge or blame myself anymore for ideas that don’t seem to work out and I give myself full permission to change my mind if I no longer think that an idea is worth pursuing.

What can you do today, to be more authentic?  How can you bring more of the unique and wonderful ‘you’ that you are to your job or your life today?

If you’d like help to explore questions like these further, please get in touch at denise@obrienlearningsolutions.ie.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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