The World Needs Your Audacious Authenticity
1 in 10 to the power of 2,685,000.
Do you know what that number is?
In case you’re struggling to even say that number in your head, much less put your head around it, it’s basically one in a gazillion billion.
Or something like that anyway…
But more important than being able to say that number is knowing what it represents.
Do you have a guess?
It’s the odds of you being born.
And I didn’t make this up – well maybe the gazillion billion part, but the statistic is real.
Dr. Ali Binizar calculated this based on all the things that had to come together, like all your ancestors living to reproductive age and all the other aspects that brought you here now, to make it possible for you to be here.
But if we even look beyond that, no other single person in history has lived the life you have in exactly the way you have, with your unique combination of experiences, talents, perspectives, thoughts, and skills.
There has never been and there never will be another you. In fact, it’s not just improbable, it’s impossible.
You have a set of talents, strengths, and skills that are unique to you and will have an impact that no other person ever has had or could have in the future.
People call these by different names – strengths, talents, skills; I call them your gifts because I think they’re so much bigger than those words imply. Skills and strengths makes it seem as though anyone could just go develop these with enough training.
When we reframe them as gifts, they take on more importance and then they become not just our benefit to have them, but our responsibility to share them.
And yet, most of us spend most of our time thinking about and making up for what we perceive we lack, rather than embracing who we are and the unique contribution we can make. This pattern is so habitual, we don’t even realize it.
I attended a workshop a few weeks ago run by Harvard professors with about 40-50 other professionals all in adult development. We all had to go around the room and introduce ourselves, what we did and why we were there.
I was already feeling a little insecure because, well, Harvard.
As the people around my table stood up to introduce themselves, first there was a PhD in adult development, then there was a medical doctor, and then another PhD in something…and then it was my turn…
I very consciously tried not to compensate just because I felt insecure about everyone else’s qualifications, but even then, I think I only made it three sentences into my introduction before mentioning I’d worked at Google.
Let’s be honest, my work at Google had nothing to do with why I was there.
I was so compelled to make up for what I perceived I lacked in comparison to the others in the room, the words spilled out of my mouth before I could even stop them. It was my unconscious way of leveling the playing field when I felt like everyone else was so far ahead of me in the game.
Later, as several of us discussed that exercise, every single person admitted that they, too, had felt insecure – whether it was about how they looked, where they worked, how confident they were, or their qualifications.
We all do this.
We focus more on how or where we believe we are lacking, or how others are better dressed, more successful, more qualified, more attractive, more confident, richer, stronger….
But what if we were brave enough to be audaciously authentic instead?
To stand in the truth of who we really are, and what our gifts are, so we can maximize the impact we are meant to have.
Being brave enough to be audaciously authentic doesn’t mean we get a free pass to be a jerk… Doing or saying things that hurt others and justifying it as “authentic” is really just insecurity in sheep’s clothing.
Audacious authenticity is being vulnerable enough to put down our defenses – our compensations, rationalizations and justifications – and be seen for who we really are.
When we do that, we give others permission to do the same, and in doing so, forge deeper, more meaningful connections and have greater impact.
The way we can make the biggest impact is by recognizing what our unique contribution can be by sharing our gifts.
Recognize Your Gifts
Take some time in a journal or notebook to reflect on what your gifts are. Write down everything that comes to mind.
- What comes naturally to you?
- What’s easy for you that’s difficult for others?
- What would your friends or family say you’re exceptionally good at?
- What do you get recognized for regularly in performance reviews and feedback?
I know, I know – this is hard. Most of us spend our time focusing on what we’re not good at rather than what we are good at. If you’re thinking, “But what if I’m not as good as I think I am?” or feeling self-conscious because this feels like bragging…
Consider this your official invitation to brag about yourself.
It’s not just your opportunity, it’s your responsibility to discover what your gifts are so that you can have maximum impact in the world.
If you don’t spend the time to really recognize and embrace your gifts, the world misses out on the impact you could be making.
Share Your Gifts
Gifts – whether we’re talking about the presents under the Christmas tree, or our unique talents and skills – are best when they’re shared with others.
Beginning to share your gifts doesn’t necessarily mean having to overhaul your life – though it certainly can – it can be as simple as doing one thing each day which actively uses your gifts to benefit others.
When we spend our time actively exercising our gifts, we feel energized, connected and in flow.
Sometimes people tell me it feels a little like cheating because it doesn’t feel “hard” or like work, but that’s actually the point – the more you lean into your gifts, the more joy you bring to your life and the more impact you make on your world.
Back to being born, It is literally a miracle that we are all here.
We’ve been given the gift of being born, we all have limited time here. You do have gifts that the world needs.
Knowing that, choose now. Choose today to step into your audacious authenticity, share your gifts and make the unique impact that only you can make.