Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Six Ways to Become Truly Authentic

Every day the flood keeps getting closer to our front door. The waves lap at our kitchen table, taking our food and our way of life with it showing neither remorse or evil. It just "is." While it's becoming harder and harder to imagine that we'll survive this without having to become greeters at our local hardware store to pay the rent, there is still something that the waters can't touch. And that is how you feel about yourself inside.

Our way of life here in the western world has been the subject of many criticisms. Mostly we are dubbed as a citizenship of mindless and selfish consumers, eating everything alive as we go and spitting out all but a small bit before engorging ourselves again. But what we're not asking is why do we feel so unsafe that the only path we choose is one of gluttony? Why in a country of wealth and opportunity are we falling like flies into a pit of acquiring? Although we are told by certain scholars of human behavior that gluttony is a natural state of man, what can be uncovered by asking the deeper question may help us all find more peace and even some macro answers as well. How can we find enlightenment and, as the Yogi's say, become Buddha and find true peace?

We have created and sponsor a networking group for women called Networking, Women and Wine, here in Charlotte, NC. We meet once a month to help each other find solutions and friendships. Although the premise is to widen our sphere of influence as business owners or career women, we believe that the power of gathering with a higher ideal for creating solutions helps soothe and renew us all.

Wine has become our mascot for the simple fact that wine and wine making are such symbols of creativity, individuality and authenticity, let alone their symbolism for surviving hardship while growing and becoming more complex as time goes on.

Which leads us to the reason for this narrative; some advice on authentic living.

How many times have we heard this word and wondered, deep inside, if we can get in touch with this concept in a world that seems to be mired in deceit? Peeling off the layers of camouflage diligently applied to our business image, through a collective desire to be on top, follow the pack, and acquire the right things has caused us now to question our own intuition. As business women, we've followed all the rules, listened to the so called experts of business, sociology, and profit and wondered why it felt like we were having an out of body experience every time we marketed ourselves.

We hear a lot of people talking about getting back to basics. My opinion is, and you may share my thoughts, that the word "back" is inherently the problem. Looking to the past as a teacher is like asking a 5 year old how to handle a mid-life crisis. There is no perception of balance or wisdom, without experience. The past can indeed be a teacher (not a template!), but to reinstate old ideas is slow death and a movement away from being authentic in almost every language of success.

To follow the natural rhythm of life is to move forward and reinvent every day. There is only ‘now’ to listen to. And listen carefully you must. The basics we crave are in us already.

The following are some rules I see being obeyed by those moving forward in wellness, who are creating a life of positive success, no matter what the tide is bringing in or taking away. They’re concepts you can apply starting today, so that you can resuscitate your livelihood, your brand and your sense of self.

1. Isolate clearly the reason you’re doing what you’re doing.
Is there yearning in your heart each day to grow your business or career? Do you see ways it can integrate into the fabric of humanity and offer prosperity to others, not only to you? Does it burn with a passion and make you feel whole? Find that and you find success.

2. Locate someone who displays this kind of success and ask them to be a mentor.
Who are the people that stand for what you stand for? Whether you talk with them via a pod-cast from Bermuda or sit over a cup of coffee each week inside your house, create a structure for asking and recording their responses on a myriad of disciplines that are valuable to you. Then create a plan to implement them a little each day.

3. Balance your life in every way by keeping track of the basic needs in your life.
Nutrition, movement, fulfillment, and safety.
Make sure you’re not sabotaging your body and your mind by eating poorly. You don’t have to become someone who eats only leaves and herbs, but watch nutrition by monitoring sugar intake, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and overly large portions, and learn about the effects certain prescription drugs may be having on your body that you need to compensate for.

Movement is life, because it helps with circulation and clarifying the body of toxins. Movement is also a way to indulge in self expression and of course some kind of exercise is the key to everything. Then, when it’s time NOT to move, make sure sleeping is done in an environment that allows restfulness and peace...and enough of it.

Fulfillment is the balance of your sense of self. Are you communicating properly with the people in your life? Are you saying what you mean? Are you in touch with what is hurting you or helping you? Do you need to work on that part?

Safety, a basic human instinct, rules most all other behaviors in our life. If we don’t feel safe we react sharply in a primal ways that throws us off balance and certainly wreak havoc with those around us.

4. Share some time with those you love and ask them if they see you being true to yourself. They’ll have surprisingly valuable answers.
Mirrors are great. But the reflection staring back is still seen through your eyes, your value system, your lens of life. Truth exists from inside you and you overlay those value systems to everything sometimes clouding your path. Good friends and people you respect for having balance can make excellent sounding boards for true self discovery. We’re not talking about gabbing and sharing all your woes with people, we’re talking about self awareness. Ask them if you seem happy, and if you are easy to be around. Ask them if they have any thoughts about whether or not you’re being true to yourself. Make it fun and you’ll find out some wonderful things about yourself. You’ll find most of these people have some insights that are positive and wise, and give you good direction for the future.

5. Evaluate what YOU can do to make the world around you a better place and incorporate that into your business plan.
This is easier said than done, but still possible. If the results of your product and your dream do not eventually help the world around you, your imagination and resources will diminish. We must look to create connections and success through products, services and behaviors that create lasting impact. That is the way to finding a path that is real, to a prosperity that is rewarding and to authenticity in every way.6. Finally, simply let the tide in.You cannot hold back the waters of change or correction. Often the crop is washed away with the weeks. But we can all find new endeavors waiting on the wake of it's perceived destruction. I always say, any day you're breathing in and out is a good day! Make good on the inside and you'll find life is still full of wonderful lessons, opportunities and connections.

6. Finally, simply let the tide in.
You cannot hold back the waters of change or correction. Often the crop is washed away with the weeds. But we can all find new endeavors waiting on the wake of it's perceived destruction. I always say, any day you're breathing in and out is a good day! Make good on the inside and you'll find life is still full of wonderful lessons, opportunities and connections.

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