No one on my squad liked George. He was an officious know-it-all who grated on everyone who had to work with him. The solution was obvious—find a reason to never work with him! We got very creative in finding ways to give George the crap assignments no one else wanted.
Once the FBI has enough probable cause, warrants signed by a judge to search a suspect’s trash is not uncommon. Guess who was given the unpleasant job of searching through the slime ball’s garbage? George!
I giggled with the other agents as he put on his rubber gloves and headed out the door.
But then—George and his wife asked me over for dinner at their house. I risked losing my “cool status” among my squad mates if I went, but it seemed too cruel to make an excuse, so I said yes.
The George I met at the front door of his home was a completely different man from the one that showed up at the FBI office every day. He was still a little weird, but I couldn’t get over the shock of him being one way at work, while reverting back to his true personality at home.
As I thought about it on my way home, I wondered if I “acted” differently when at work? At a church event? With family members?
George is not the only one who struggles to live all aspects of his life with authenticity. Many of us put on an act when in certain situations. While we can make excuses for our behavior, the fact remains that when we are not authentic, we are pretending to act like someone else and afraid to voice our own truths.
It takes mental toughness to have the courage to be seen for who you really are. Authenticity is NOT being pressured into emotions, thoughts, and behavior by outside influences. It is about trusting your heart and following your gut instinct.
Here are 5 ways strong minds tap into authenticity:
1. Use Your Gut Instinct To Make Decisions
Strong minds tap into their authenticity when they are able to make decisions that come from their gut.
If you stay true to yourself, and stick with work that has both meaning and value for you, nothing will be able to distract you from achieving your goals.
Stop wasting time and energy on projects that do not resonate with you. When you listen to your gut, you become a lot clearer on what is, or isn’t, on your priority list.
2. Keep Your Eye On The Bigger Picture
Strong minds tap into their authenticity when they are able to focus on a future that is full of promise.
Once you hitch yourself to a project or career that resonates with you, obstacles and roadblocks are temporary. You will find the energy and creativity to keep moving forward.
Use your energy to control your emotions, thoughts, and behavior so your outlook always remain focused and positive.
“If you focus only on your barriers, you’ll never see the road.“—LaRae Quy
3. Resist The Temptation To Take It Personally
Strong minds tap into their authenticity when they are able to accept rejection without crumbling like a sugar cookie.
No one likes to be rejected, and often we don’t let people see us for who we really are because we fear their disapproval. When we’re criticized by others, it can cause us to crumble a little inside each time. Many times, we do silly things just to make sure we’re loved and accepted.
Strong minds have a deep sense of self-worth because they’ve taken an honest inventory of their qualities. They are not afraid to take ownership for who they are—and most importantly, for the awesome person they are becoming.
4. Learn From Bad Times
Strong minds tap into their authenticity when they are able to be their very best in the darkest moments.
It’s easy to give up and blame others for your misfortune. If you have mental toughness, however, you use times of hardship to discover your inner strengths and capabilities. Despite your darkest moments, you were able to stay connected to your core—you remained true to your values and beliefs.
5. Stay Strong By Being Soft
Strong minds tap into their authenticity when they are able to thrive by developing a flexible and agile way of thinking.
Lao Tzu once said, “Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
You can survive, thrive, and be an incredible leader if you remain flexible when times are tough and outcomes are not clear. Mental toughness does not mean blasting through your obstacles and roadblocks.
Often, being mentally tough requires the resilience to cope with the harsh realities of life without ever losing sight of the road.
How have you relied on authenticity to be a better leader?
© 2015 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.
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