Welcome to Week 2 of the Authenticity@Work Leadership Tool-Kit. My intention for this series is to share a quick tool each week to help you lead with more authenticity, adaptability and inspiration so we can together create workplaces where we bring the best of ourselves and inspire others.
Did you know we’re actually wired for authenticity? It’s good for our well-being. And in this week’s practice you will learn how to take a stand for yourself, because it is good for your well-being and that of others around you.
You’ve heard about polygraph tests? It measures whether a person is lying. How does it know? Lying causes stress in the body.
As part of the test, six nodes are attached to the body to measure vital signals. When the person is lying, the detector shows a significant change in physiological responses by sensing a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, and increased perspiration. Telling a lie creates stress in the body, and research shows that continuous stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression, and obesity. I suspect that hiding the truth about ourselves, suppressing our voice or parts of who we are creates similar stress in our bodies.
You might say we’re simply wired to tell the truth.
What is being true to ourselves anyway? It is about being connected with ourselves to know what is true for us in this moment. It is about being brave enough to share that with others. It is about expressing our unique point of view powerfully enough to be heard because we know that it matters.
This requires being connected to the centered intelligence inside of us, our authentic self. I call my authentic self my Center Intelligence Agency (not to be confused by the U.S. C.I.A!). When I am in my centered self, I am calm and agile, I can pick the part of myself that best serves the greatest good in this moment.
This Week’s Tool:
Stand or sit in front of a mirror. Take three deep and slow breaths. Stand with your spine straight and your shoulders back. Relax. Take in who is looking at you. Look into your own eyes with curiosity, compassion, appreciation, and gratitude for at least two minutes. It may be hard but keep focused. As you become calm and centered, say hello to your authentic self. You may choose to name it as you will be returning to this often.
Looking at your physical features, notice what you don’t like and find something to appreciate about it. For example, these days, I often see gray hair as I look in the mirror. When I stand in gratitude, I can see that my gray hair is well earned. I say, “I am grateful for my gray hair. They have come with greater self-acceptance and the ability to not take myself so seriously.”
Do this exercise for twenty-one days, and you will notice a shift in how you relate to yourself. As you shift how you relate to yourself, you will notice it will be easier to take a stand for who you are, for speaking your perspective, and pursuing goals important to you. As you do this, you will create the space for others to do the same. What is the experience of being in your authentic self? Share this with your accountability partner or in your journal.
What did you discover? Join our Authenticity@Work community and post your reflections directly to the blog here (link to blog on Week 2).