How do you know if you are living an authentic life? How can you determine if your organization or your business is aligned with its core values and adding genuine meaning and purpose through its products and services? Do you know if your leaders – local, regional and national - are demonstrating real integrity and authenticity? What about your primary institutions – schools, churches, hospitals, police and fire safety, etc are they delivering authentic value to your community? In short, do you know what parts of your world are walking their talk, keeping it real and telling things straight?
To find out, read our definition of authenticity and then take the Authenticity Quizzes by clicking on the appropriate button at the bottom of this page. The tests are easy to take, self scoring and can provide you with valuable recommendations you can put to work in your life today!
How Do We Define “Authenticity?”
“Authentic” from the Latin, Authenticus, and the Greek, Authentikos, means “worthy of acceptance, authoritative, trustworthy, not imaginary, false or imitation, conforming to an original”. Synonyms include: genuine, veritable, unique, sincere, original, bona fide.
In our lives “authenticity “ serves as a signpost pointing toward a way of living that seeks greater alignment of body, mind, emotions and spirit. It informs our search to perform meaningful work and to live in accordance with the fundamental principles or core values that issue from our hearts as well as our minds. This word assists us in our quest to discover why we are here and to honor the gift that is our life and the mystery that we call God. For us “authenticity” means seeking to live in harmony with life and having respect for the Earth and all life forms that reside here. It means closing the gap between the values we hold and the way we demonstrate these values every day through our thoughts, words, intentions and actions.
In our business, “authenticity” is the means by which we measure if we are aligned with our vision and core values; if our strategic goals are well articulated and designed to achieve our mission; and if our policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities and daily norms of behavior support our vision and values. We also use “authenticity” to measure our commitment to creating and delivering quality services and products and to maintaining the very best relationships with our customers and suppliers in which we demonstrate our core values.
In our lexicon, authenticity does not mean perfection or moral or ethical superiority or self-righteousness. In fact, there is no place in our definition for arrogance, for holding ourselves or our organizations separate or superior to others. It is not about trying to be right, sanctimonious or pretending that we know what is right for anyone else. And it is certainly not about trying to “have it all together.”
From our perspective living authentically is an inside out job. It is about having the courage to take risks and the willingness to make mistakes, to admit our shortcomings and most especially to learn from them. It is about owning our vulnerability, accepting our humanness and acknowledging our interdependence on others. It is about going to the edge, not in search of personal gain – although that may result – but in search of what is best and highest, what is original and unique.
Authenticity is not about seeking the approval of others or dancing to the tune of public recognition. It is about being honest with ourselves, our colleagues and customers, our friends and family, and being deeply curious about life, willing to experience the discomfort of being a work in progress and staying true to our deepest personal values as we search to discover how to live and work in a manner that assists us in achieving our goals while contributing to the well-being of our nation, this planet and of all the people and species that occupy it.