“Everything falls into place perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than how we look” ~ John Hawkins

Let’s stop all of the “image management” junk. It’s exhausting, stressful and the exact opposite of how we are created to live. I have been there and let me reassure you that trying so very hard to be liked, loved, forgiven and accepted, when you are not being real yourself, only leads to discouragement and disheartenment.

Let’s first recognize that an authentic, real voice is that quiet voice who speaks to your heart and soul, telling you what is right for you and what you really need. Being authentic and real means being yourself 24/7 and sometimes that isn’t easy…ESPECIALLY IN BUSINESS!!!! Finding the courage to be who you really are will help you realize your true colors. Peel back the layers, find yourself your authentic self. Forge your character first. Then let your reputation be derived from your character and not the other way around…

So how can you begin to be your even more ‘authentic self?’ Here are three quick tips which will get your immediate results:

1) CONNECT: Be a friend in real-time. We all know that Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are tremendously powerful social media applications. Yes we need to advertise, market and stay relevant with the latest and greatest. And we can all use technology better through webinars, conference calls, FaceTime, etc. At the same time, if there is no face-to-face interaction in your relationships and partnerships, you are missing the real depth of connection through human interaction. Go ahead and check with your friends in the digital space, but also create time to be a friend in real life. Invest in your true self, not in your cyber self. And when you are hanging out with someone in person… It won’t kill you to turn off and ignore your phone…COMPLETELY!!!!

2) Disregard the cynics. There are SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WANT TO SEE YOU FAIL!!!!!!! They are happy when they see you mess up and make mistakes and fail!!! because then it gives them reason and justification for their own failures. Here is my simple response to negative people in your life.

SCREW ‘EM!!!!!!!

Get rid of them!!!! Cut them out and don’t let them back….Life is WAAAAYYY to hard and way too short to allow the negative ones in your life!!!! Being you is so much easier when you aren’t carrying the dead weight of cynical, negative people in your life!

3) Lead with heart! An authentic leader is all heart. They are not afraid to dig deep, and they lead their team with a courage and empathy that only comes from well-grounded authenticity. You cannot “fake it until you make it” by putting on a show as a leader or being a chameleon in your style. People sense very quickly who has heart…and who does not. Some leaders may pull it off for a while, but ultimately they will not gain the trust of their teammates, especially when dealing with difficult situations. If people see their leaders as trustworthy and are leading from the heart, followers will respond very positively to requests for help in getting through difficult times.

As long as you keep being you, as long as you keep staying true to yourself and who you are…

It doesn’t matter what others think of you. Seriously…it doesn’t!!!

What matters is that you are living in truth and being authentic, the people who need you will find you. And you will find the people you need.

Until the next time, be good humans and BE AUTHENTIC!!!