Authenticity refers to the degree to which you are true to your own personality, character, or values, regardless of external pressures.
Being authentic is about remaining consistent to your own personal identity and reflect honesty and genuineness.
Authenticity can play a crucial role in establishing trust and rapport with customers. People often value other who are genuine and transparent, and put their trust in those authentic people. Embracing authenticity can therefore be a path to social success, as well as self-empowerment and mental well-being.
- Consistency: If you always, under all circumstances, stick to your beliefs and values, irrespective of changing circumstances, then you may come across as authentic. This consistent alignment between words and actions enhances trust in personal and professional relationships. Moreover, consistency can serve as a compass during challenging times, guiding decisions and actions based on ingrained principles.
- Transparency: Transparency promotes open communication and builds trust. By being forthright about intentions, actions, or mistakes, you invite others to understand your perspective. This approach can mitigate potential misunderstandings and conflicts, fostering productive and respectful relationships.
- Humility: An authentic expression of humility involves acknowledging limitations and demonstrating a willingness to learn. This trait exudes an openness to growth and a recognition of the value in others’ perspectives. Humility can enhance personal and professional relationships, fostering collaboration and mutual respect.
- Integrity: Embodying ethical and moral standards, even when faced with challenging scenarios, is a crucial marker of authenticity. Individuals with high integrity command respect and trust, effectively influencing and leading others. Moreover, integrity ensures internal peace, knowing one’s actions align with their core principles.
- Originality: Celebrating and leveraging one’s unique identity reflects authenticity. Originality distinguishes you from others, adds value, and fosters innovation and creativity. Additionally, owning one’s uniqueness can boost self-esteem and mental well-being by embracing self-acceptance and rejecting unnecessary conformity.
- Courage: Expressing personal truth, even against opposition or adversity, signifies authenticity. Courageous individuals inspire change and challenge norms, encouraging others to step out of comfort zones. Embracing courage also promotes self-confidence and resilience, enhancing one’s ability to navigate life’s ups and downs.
- Reliability: Fulfilling promises and commitments denotes authenticity. Reliable individuals or organizations foster a sense of safety and trust among their counterparts. This trait can greatly influence professional success and personal relationships by building a reputation for consistency and dependability.
- Keeping promises: Upholding commitments reflects the authenticity trait of reliability. It instils trust and strengthens relationships, both personal and professional. It also bolsters your reputation, creating an image of dependability that others can count on.
- Admitting mistakes: It’s a true mark of authenticity when you readily own up to your mistakes. This transparency fosters an environment of trust and understanding with people around you. Further, it encourages learning and growth, pushing you towards continuous improvement and personal development.
- Sharing personal stories: It’s often tempting to share only achievements, but sharing struggles and vulnerabilities signifies authenticity. It promotes human connection and reinforces the idea that nobody is perfect. It can also inspire others to embrace their journey, fostering comfort in shared human experiences.
- Expressing genuine emotions: Authentic individuals don’t suppress their emotions, but rather express them honestly. This transparency of feelings helps cultivate deeper connections with others. Moreso, expressing true feelings contributes positively to one’s mental health, as bottling up emotions can lead to stress and anxiety.
- Refusing to gossip: Choosing not to partake in spreading rumors or engaging in harmful talks about others reflects authenticity. It demonstrates respect for others and adherence to personal ethics. This practice builds a reputation of trustworthiness and fosters positive interpersonal relations.
- Avoiding false pretenses: Presenting oneself under false pretenses is contrary to authenticity. Being genuine about who you are, your strengths, and your areas for growth display authentic behavior. Such honesty eliminates the stress of maintaining a facade and fosters trust among peers or colleagues.
- Speaking with conviction: Authentic people express their thoughts and opinions with certainty, even in the face of opposition. Such individuals stand for their beliefs, contributing to conversations and decisions with sincerity. It showcases their strong identity and can inspire others to be assertive and authentic in their expressions.
- Asking for help when needed: Authentic individuals understand that it’s okay not to know everything and seek help when needed. This recognition and acceptance of one’s limitations reflect humility and authenticity. Asking for help invites collective problem-solving, fosters learning, and promotes a culture of supportiveness.
- Avoiding imitation or copying: Authenticity thrives on originality and uniqueness. A conscious effort to avoid imitation underscores respect for one’s inherent abilities and characteristics. Possessing an original standpoint fosters individual self-esteem and respect from others.
- Being consistent in words and actions: Authentic people ensure alignment between what they say and what they do. This consistency builds trust, reliability and enhances one’s reputation. Moreover, consistency allows for predictability, contributing to stable relationships and environments.
- Rejecting societal pressures to conform: Authentic individuals value their unique traits and beliefs over societal norms. This ability to resist conformity underlines an individual’s commitment to uphold personal characteristics and ideals. Such resistance can also inspire others to value their distinctiveness over societal pressures.
- Pursuing passions despite criticism: Authenticity means pursuing passions fervently, even in the face of criticism. This pursuit signifies an inner strength and resilience, unswayed by external opinions. It also validates a person’s commitment to their beliefs and maintains their authenticity.
- Speaking the truth, even when difficult: Authentic individuals prioritize truth over convenience, displaying courage and integrity. They communicate honestly, even when facing challenging circumstances. This practice of truthfulness bolsters trust and respect from others, signifying an authentic trait.
- Not seeking external validation: An authentic person finds self-worth internally, not through external approval. This internal locus of self-validation helps maintain authenticity, even under external pressures. It also fosters self-acceptance and self-esteem, reinforcing their authenticity.
- Showing vulnerability: Authentic individuals aren’t afraid to reveal their weaknesses or uncertainties. Sharing vulnerabilities promotes relatability and humanises experiences, deepening interpersonal bonds. It displays the courage of genuine self-respect over artificial self-projection.
- Expressing genuine appreciation: Genuine expressions of gratitude without any ulterior motives denote authenticity. Offering sincere appreciation encourages a positive atmosphere and strengthens relationships. Furthermore, it signifies a perspective that values and acknowledges the positive aspects in others.
- Avoiding sugar-coated feedback: Authentic people provide honest, constructive feedback rather than sweetening the truth. This directness aids effective communication and personal growth. It demonstrates a commitment to truth and respect for others’ potential for improvement.
- Seeking personal growth over perfection: Authenticity involves understanding that progress trumps perfection. An authentic individual seeks to grow and learn from experiences rather than striving for unrealistic perfection. It signifies a growth mindset, crucial for self-development and maintaining authenticity.
- Prioritizing values over popularity: Authentic individuals prioritize personal values over the desire for popularity. They stand firm in their beliefs and principles, irrespective of external pressures for acceptance. This trait underlines authenticity, fostering a sense of personal identity and self-esteem.
- Avoiding fabrication of stories: Authentic people do not distort facts to gain approval or respect. They steer clear of fabrications, prioritizing honesty and integrity. This trait reinforces trust and respect, underlining the essence of authenticity.
- Owning one’s choices: Authentic individuals take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Owning one’s choices indicates honesty, integrity, and accountability. It contributes to personal development and boosts credibility among peers.
- Respecting others’ authentic expressions: Authentic individuals validate multiple truths and respect others’ authenticity. They appreciate varied perspectives and experiences, fostering an inclusive environment. Respecting others’ authenticity amplifies empathetic understanding and nurtures connectedness.
- Demonstrating consistency in behavior: Consistency in actions and behavior is symbolic of authenticity. It assures credibility, builds trust, and ensures predictability. Moreover, behavioral consistency can improve professional relationships and personal connections.
- Maintaining transparency: Authentic people prioritize transparency in their dealings. They clarify motives and admit mistakes, enhancing trust and understanding with others. Moreover, transparency paves the way for open communication and constructive feedback.
- Valuing deep conversations over small talk: Authentic individuals prefer meaningful interactions that go beyond surface-level exchanges. They appreciate substantial dialogues that explore thoughts, ideas, and experiences. This trait can foster genuine connections, shared learning, and mutual growth.
- Standing up for what one believes in: Authenticity involves firmly standing by one’s beliefs, even in the face of criticism or adversity. Asserting personal convictions showcases courage and integrity. It also encourages others to express their authenticity openly.
- Trusting one’s intuition: Authentic individuals value their intuition as a guiding force in decision-making. Trust in personal instincts underscores self-confidence and self-awareness. It allows authentic individuals to navigate situations independently, fostering resilience and self-reliance.
- Honoring commitments: Fulfilling promises and commitments reflect an authentic individual’s reliability. It fosters trust and builds strong relationships. Moreover, honoring commitments underscores responsibility and integrity, essential elements of authenticity.
- Expressing genuine regret: Acknowledging mistakes and expressing sincere regret indicate authenticity. It illustrates humility, accountability, and the willingness to learn from errors. This practice fosters trust, facilitates learning, and aids personal growth.
- Recognizing and respecting differences: Authentic individuals acknowledge and respect various perspectives and backgrounds. This appreciation of diversity fosters inclusivity and understanding. It strengthens social connections, encourages empathy, and enhances individual authenticity.
- Not altering oneself for acceptance: Authentic people stay true to themselves rather than modifying their behavior for outside acceptance. Staying true to one’s identity boosts self-esteem and mental well-being. It also upholds the value of individuality, reinforcing authenticity.
- Valuing inner worth over materialistic gains: Authentic individuals prioritize intrinsic values and self-worth over extrinsic rewards. Inner worth fuels self-esteem, promotes happiness, and enhances overall quality of life. It encourages self-growth, introspection, and contentment, reflecting genuine authenticity.
- Seeking honest feedback: Authentic people appreciate constructive criticism as a tool for growth. They actively seek honest feedback to identify areas for improvement. This growth mindset reflects authenticity, underlining their commitment to self-betterment.
Real-Life Examples of People and Brands Expressing Authenticity
- Howard Schultz: Schultz took Starbucks from a small coffee shop to a global phenomenon. His commitment to ethical sourcing, employee benefits, and creating a café culture epitomizes authenticity. He remained true to his vision and values, despite the pressures of global expansion.
- Patagonia: It is an outdoor apparel brand with an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability. Their use of recycled materials and pledge to donate 1% of proceeds to environmental causes exemplify their authenticity. Their practices align perfectly with their mission to “save our home planet.”
- Brene Brown: A research professor at the University of Houston, famous for her TED talk on vulnerability. Her willingness to share personal stories and human vulnerabilities demonstrates her authenticity. Brown encourages people to embrace their true selves, fostering authenticity in others.
- Elon Musk: CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, known for his unabashed tweets and direct communication style. Musk’s authentic persona – passionate, visionary, sometimes unconventional – convincingly aligns with his companies’ futuristic vision. Love him or loathe him, his authenticity attracts loyal followers and customers.
- LEGO: The brand is synonymous with playful creativity. Their commitment to innovation, while upholding the classic LEGO experience, testifies their authenticity. LEGO consistently communicates this authentic identity to their customers, strengthening their brand value.
- Nelson Mandela: As a figure who championed human rights and fought against apartheid, his actions reflected his genuine commitment. Despite adversity, he adhered to his principles, revealing his authenticity. Mandela’s genuine leadership inspires many people around the world.
- Oprah Winfrey: She transformed television talk shows by focusing on empathy and personal growth. Winfrey’s authentic approach was groundbreaking, revealing her true self to her audience. Her authenticity helped foster deeply personal connections with viewers.
- Adidas: A brand known for its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. From featuring various body types in their ad campaigns to championing equal pay, Adidas stays true to its values. The brand’s authenticity is evident in their inclusive initiatives.
- Jane Goodall: A renowned primatologist who devoted her life to understanding and protecting chimpanzees. Goodall’s decades-long study and advocacy work encapsulates authenticity. Her genuine passion shines through her ongoing efforts in conservation.
- TOMS Shoes: They transformed shoemaking by integrating a ‘One for One’ giving strategy. This practice of donating a pair of shoes for each one sold demonstrates the company’s authentic commitment to social good. Despite potential profitability, TOMS stayed true to their mission, expressing their authenticity.
How to Show Authenticity on a Resume
- Specificity is your best friend. It’s vital to be specific in describing the roles and responsibilities you’ve undertaken in your previous jobs. By listing the precise tasks you’ve performed and projects you’ve completed, it shows you’re reliable and attentive to detail. For instance, instead of merely stating “Managed a sales team,” say “Managed a sales team of five, overseeing project timelines and successfully meeting 90% of sales targets.”
- Customize to fit every job. To show your genuine interest, always tailor your resume according to the job description. Highlight relevant skills and experiences that align with what the job requires. Ensure that every skill you list is backed up with a solid example. If you’re applying for a content writing job, showcase samples of your published work and specific metrics that reflect your success (e.g., wrote a monthly blog that increased website traffic by 25%).
- Consistency speaks volumes. Seeing a consistent career path on your resume can communicate your dedication and commitment to your profession. Displaying a clear pattern in the kind of roles you’ve taken up implies you have a focus, and you are earnest about your area of expertise.
- Show you are a team player. Authentic people are often excellent collaborators. Your ability to work cohesively within a team is a strong indicator of your authenticity. Cite instances in your professional journey where teamwork led to company success. For example, note if you worked together with a diverse group to brainstorm and successfully launch a new product.
- Values make you shine. A statement of your core values or personal mission can help communicate your authenticity. By expressing your fundamental beliefs and principles, you’re showing potential employers the kind of person you are. If you highly regard innovative thinking, speak about how you practiced this in your previous roles, perhaps through creating efficient problem-solving methods.
- Transparency is courageous. If there were periods of unemployment or career changes in your history, being upfront about these can demonstrate your honesty. Rather than attempting to cover these gaps, use them as opportunities to exhibit how you used that time beneficially – maybe you took additional courses or engaged in voluntary work that added to your skills.
- Skills confer relevance. Make sure to only list skills you confidently possess and can demonstrate if required. Mentioning an ability you don’t genuinely have can lead to embarrassing situations in the future. If you’re fluent in foreign languages or proficient at specific software, be sure to include these, but only if you can professionally use them in a work environment.
- Hobbies give a personal touch. While maintaining a professional tone, including genuine hobbies in your resume can add an interesting aspect to your personal identity. If a hobby aligns with your career aspiration, such as writing for a personal blog when applying for a content writing role, be sure to mention it. But remember, it should always provide some additional value or perspective to your professional image.
Authenticity, a trait esteemed highly in personal and professional arenas, sits at the intersection of truth, integrity, and originality. Embracing it not only bolsters self-identity but fosters trust and respect from others. As explored throughout this article, a myriad of practices can nurture authenticity, ranging from owning choices to valuing inner worth. Undoubtedly, striving towards authenticity invites profound personal development, enriching interpersonal relationships, and a sense of self-fulfillment.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]