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Is this authentically me?



Authentic:

“of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.”


Words are tricky. They often hold many truths. There’s a few truths, ironically, kicking about around the word Authentic.


It’s a word that appeals to me. It helps me when I’m wrangling with marketing and promotion feeling disingenuous and sales-y. To hear that word in my head reminds me that it doesn’t need to be a callous, greedy transaction: that promoting my work and what I can offer people can be genuine and honest. I’m just here sharing stories and hoping they might resonate with some.


For me the core of the word authenticity is about being open minded and being able to be fully present in the moment. It’s about being emotionally intelligent enough to be able to ask yourself what you really want and also have the courage to accept imperfections and vulnerabilities. So the word authentic and the description of ‘authentic self/selves’ to me feels pure. It’s grounding and real. A good value to help guide me.


However, a wise friend of mine, doesn’t like it at all. To her it’s gimmicky and she would run a mile from a life coach who marketed themselves as someone who could help people find their authentic selves.


The trickiness of words!


The conversation with my pal came about as a result of me sharing a sentence which describes what I do as a coach. The most recent version (as it’s a thing that will probably never stop evolving) reads:


I help busy women (and sometimes men) to say yes or no and be their authentic selves, creating an easier, richer, more joyful life.


To me that reads clearly. I feel I’m being genuine in what I’m saying.


To my friend, it sounds quite the opposite. Inauthentic because of it’s overuse and ubiquity on blogs (oh the irony), Instagram and so on. Like I came up with it on one of those less good LinkedIn challenges. (I didn’t btw).


I’ve not changed it. Even though I really value the opinion of my friend. Partly because lots of other friends responded positively. But how many pals would speak up and express the negative? Not many, I reckon, so there may well be equal numbers of people liking and hating it. Maybe I am just a bit marmite?


But as I write, I see a further edit. “Authentic selves” maybe is over used. Perhaps a change so the line reads


I help busy women (and sometimes men) to say yes or no and be authentic, creating an easier, richer, more joyful life.


Oooh. That feels clearer. I’ll run it past my pal too to see if it sits better for her.


I gained a new client this week who says she tries to live “an authentic life”. The fact that I used the word in my description, made her get in touch. Whilst it's only one client it reassures me that it's the right thing to keep it... so I'll keep on being authentic, as it's all I'm really capable of anyway.

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© 2021 by Sarah Longfield

Glasgow, Scotland

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