Thursday, January 31, 2013
The term “authentic” has become a familiar buzz word in today’s society. It is a word that we want to embrace, especially in a time when you wonder if there is any honesty rather than people simply trying to advance their own personal gain or political agenda. It has become disheartening to see so much distrust of leadership in the corporate world, the government, and even in our own communities, families, and churches.
There is a keen awareness that all is not right in our world or in our personal lives. We continue to mask the feelings, imperfections, fears, pain, as well as the passions, and hope that speak truth into our lives and give us courage to become authentic. But what does authenticity really look like? Do we even know what is inside of us? Are there role models that represent an authentic life? Is authenticity something we just aspire to, but never achieve?
What does it mean for leadership? Does the definition of authentic change when you lead others? How do you reconcile when, where, how, and to whom it is okay to be transparent and vulnerable? Then what happens when we miss the mark, do we become inauthentic? Does this change our credibility?
For many, even those we admire most, appear to have it all together yet hide behind walls that have been built to keep out the feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, longings to belong and have meaning. We numb the feelings and gradually we drift so far away that we may not recognize the lack of feelings in our lives. We put off an aroma of perfection, that we have no flaws. So the point in which we come face to face with this façade often comes at a breaking point. There becomes a recognition that the old tapes of perfection, performance, and protection of self need to change.
So how would this change us? What would leadership look like if we lived with courage, compassion, and connections with others? Might “authentic” be more about living without all the answers, peeling away the layers to discover who we are, naming our imperfections so that we can invite others into our journey towards wholeness, authenticity?
These are my beginning thoughts for more writing this semester. I am grateful for a moral and ethical leadership class that encourages me to keep seeking and learning beyond just my head. I am thankful for a professor who was excited about a topic of authenticity. I continue to feel like I am in the right place, yet still needing to learn that I don't need to have everything figured out when people ask me what I am going to do with this. Trying to take this one day at a time and trust God is preparing the way for the what's next.