What it means to speak with authenticity and confidence
I’m in the amazing vacation state of Maine visiting my husband’s family. I never knew summer could be a verb until I showed up here.
The other morning, I hopped on a bike to ride up to the courts where my daughter was playing tennis with my husband. I watched them knock the ball around for a while. Something was upsetting my 11-year old, and she stomped off the court. I assumed her scowl was because her brother showed up and started playing with them.
“I’m sorry I let your brother join you guys,” I told her.
Her eyes filled quickly with tears.
“No, Mom, that’s not it.”
Parenting feels like hitting the wrong buzzer most of the time, so I stood there looking at her, wondering what I should say.
She filled in the empty space and said, “When I play tennis with Dad, he tells me how to play. When he does that, I feel like he is shaming me. I don’t like the way that makes me feel. I know he doesn’t mean to make me feel that way, but that’s how I feel.”
She put on her bike helmet and said, “Let’s go to town.”
Poof. The tears and the mood were behind her.
I tell people that I help my clients speak with authenticity and confidence. They get the confidence part. But…authentic… it’s an overused word… what does it mean… and why does it matter?
Here’s the thing: I could have never put words to how I was feeling when I was my daughter’s age. I’m sure I didn’t even know the word “shame”— I definitely knew the feeling—and I certainly didn’t know how to express it so clearly and honestly to anyone willing to listen.
I know the next step is for my daughter to tell my husband how she’s feeling, too. But that will come. She’s eleven. The fact that she had the self-awareness to know what she was feeling, own it, and then had the courage to tell me, is worth celebrating.
Because the number one skill that will make you stand apart at work and in life is learning how to communicate with authenticity and confidence.
I’ve learned once the bad feeling is voiced, it dissipates. And when you share your love with someone, it compounds. Even in professional settings, when done with thoughtfulness, sharing mixed feelings about the deadline you missed, or the vacation time you earned, or the promotion you deserve, doesn’t have to fall flat. People will be drawn to you. It’s a beautiful thing.
So in case you’re still wondering, being authentic means:
…you have the self-awareness to know what you feel.
…you have the integrity to own what you feel.
…and you have the courage to express what you feel.
When you have these three things, you will connect more effectively, and more profoundly, with others.
If you have an idea swirling around in your head and need help bringing it to life—a new website, a business idea, a desire to step up at work and develop your authentic leadership presence through effective communication—I can help.
If you have an opportunity to speak in front of others and need help extracting the story that needs to be told, the words that need to be spoken, the message that needs to land—I can help.
I can help you speak from your heart and your head and connect with others. It’s that simple.
And it’s never too late to learn. I learn from everyone—including my daughter. And maybe, just maybe, she is learning from me.
In an effort to show up for – myself – with more courage, integrity and authenticity, I’ve revised my ‘About Me’ page on my website. I’d love you to have a look, and let me know if it lands with, resonates with, inspires, and piques your interest to find out more. Check it out!