” Authenticity is more than speaking;
Authenticity is also about doing.
Every decision we make,
says something 
about who we are.”
                                                                               – Simon Sinek

I’m on vacation this week spending some extended time in Cape Cod with the Wolfpack.  While here, one of our favorite places to shop is Eden Hands Arts(“In the beginning there was Eden. A small part of the Garden still remains on Rte. 6A in Dennis. As in any garden, here one finds flowers and fruit, insects, friendly beasts and birds.”) a small jewelry shop located in Dennis, MA.  This small Cape business was started by John and Eve Carey in the mid 1960’s and is celebrated for its jewelry that is distinguished by its design, fit, and simple elegant style. Much of the jewelry was designed by Mr. Carey, and is still made on the premises by his son-in-law.

While visiting the shop the other day, I listened as a member of the staff lamented the issues they are having with unauthorized reproduction and marketing of their jewelry.  They have gone as far as to create a unique signature for each item that will enable owners to know that their piece of jewelry was produced by Eden Arts and not an imposter.  In other words, they have created something to guarantee the authenticity of their product.  So here’s my question, if you were a product, would someone try to make a duplication and market it as the original?  In other words, How authentic are you? 

I recently attended a seminar hosted by Ed Burns, CEO of Melior Marketing.  Ed’s presentation (How to Dominate at Linked-in) considered the use of this social media platform as a means of branding and growing a business.  He provided a number of tips and ideas that enhanced the manner in which this tool can be used, but it was his opening remarks that spoke to the importance of authenticity.  While discussing the concept of “Branding”, Ed shared, “It is the way people think about you and it must be reflective of the real person.”   He continued, “The way people buy has changed.  We do business with people we know, like, and trust.”  In other words, what we put on social media must be authentic. That being said, is the person the world meets on your Facebook Page, through your Linked-In account, Twitter, or any other social media platform, the same one they would meet in person?  Again, it begs the question, “How authentic are you?”

So we have the authenticity associated with our business or professional endeavors; a form of authenticity that is associated with what we sell or the professional service we provide, but what about our personal or self-authenticity?  If, as many believe, we are in a state of constant growth and development, doesn’t our authenticity change?  I believe it does.  Life events shape us. Ideally, our core values and beliefs remain constant, but the individual we encounter changes over time.  Think about the person you were when you graduated from high school, or perhaps ten years later after having married and started a family.  I know for a fact that retirement has made the person writing this blog markedly different from the one he was three years ago.  In fact someone recently shared that I seemed much more relaxed and introspective than I had been in the past. 

Unfortunately we live in a society that too often has rejected failure as a means of becoming better, that embraces the superficiality of perfection at the expense of self-appreciation, and defines success by the dollars in our bank account and not by how well we live our values every day. So how are we to be authentic in spite of the messages that try to convince us to be someone else?”  By embracing who we are now (self-acceptance), and by remembering that each day provides us with the opportunity to improve our lives by helping to improve the life of another (mindfulness).  Our daily interactions with people, whether they be on-line or in person must be authentic. We must be willing to share our true selves and our feelings, not just that side of us that is best at the moment.  In doing so we can live the advice given to Laertes by Polonius in William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, “ This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”