Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Quest for Authenticity

I live in a professional world that has, as one of its core foundational components, the importance of secrecy and confidentiality.  It is an interesting and complicated world, a world where the decisions that are made have the potential to create or destroy the dreams and aspirations of many people who will never know who I am, who my colleagues are or who the organizations are that we serve.  It is also a world that cannot be shared.  When people ask me what I am doing there is very little I can share, which, when coupled with other life events, eventually wires people like me to be extremely private individuals.

And as I acknowledge the impact that many of us have, I realize something else that is also an underlying part of the role that I play.

For many people whom I will never meet, the role I and others in my space play in their lives seems almost “God-like” – having the power to create and destroy at will.  Many who are affected by the decisions we make will never know where the miracle or disaster originated from.

They may be awash in gratitude.

They may struggle to understand why this has happened to them.

Acknowledging this creates an interesting structural tension within me as I contemplate the ramifications of this, namely:

  • How do we know that we make the best decisions we can?
  • What qualifies us to make these decisions that have such far-reaching impact?
  • When we make decisions, who benefits from them the most?
  • Are the people who benefit the most the ones who should benefit the most?
  • Do we serve our fellow man in the best way possible?
  • Do we do the best we can with what we have?

And as I contemplate these and other questions, I think about the “Quest for Authenticity Tour” that myself and my wonderful friend Leonard Szymcazk (author of “The Roadmap Home: Your GPS to Inner Peace”) have discussed for a couple of years.

The notion of the tour came as a result of discussion around the fact that a lot of people perceive many things in the world as being inauthentic.  Authenticity has become a bit of a buzzword these days and we can all think of examples of authentic and inauthentic things.

However, one of the many things I have learned from Leonard is that we often project onto the world that which we perceive within ourselves.

And as I think about the intentions of the Authenticity Tour, the thoughts I have been reflecting upon and Leonard’s wisdom, I realize that the Authenticity Tour was not born from the need to explore whether things in the world are authentic or not.

It was born from the fact that I was wrestling with my own sense of authenticity.

As I think about this and discuss it with others, I realize that it is a journey that many people are on.

While many are on this path of contemplation, few will acknowledge it publicly for fear of being vilified by their peers, ostracized from their career path or abandoned by those who are important to them.

But if we never take a moment to ask the questions out loud regarding:

  • Am I doing what I have been created to do?
  • Am I doing it to the best of my ability with the gifts, strengths and talents I have been blessed with?”
  • Are my thoughts, words and deeds in total congruence?,

can we truly claim to be authentic, especially as we judge others who in our eyes are not authentic? 

If your answer to these questions is truly “yes”, then you are blessed and in the minority.  Keep driving it – you are a model to others.

However, if your answer to any of them is “no”, then ask yourself another question:

Why not?

The Quest for Authenticity is not a tour – it is a journey that most of us are on, a journey we share, a journey where we learn from others and others learn from us – but only if we allow it.  It is also a journey where we should look within before we judge the authenticity of others.

And when we reach that point where we are not afraid to share unconditionally, to express ourselves unconditionally, to be open to learning from others unconditionally and to love unconditionally, at that point we will be as close to authenticity as we can get.

It will be at that point that our greatest potential will be revealed to ourselves and others.

How goes YOUR journey?

In service and servanthood, a fellow traveler on the quest for authenticity.


To see my Musings-in-a-Minute entry for “The Quest for Authenticity”, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear that I'm in the majority for once. Often, looking around me, it seems like the rest of the world seems so sure that they understand themselves and their journey. Unfortunately, I have yet to be afforded this assurance.

    When one is in this state, there's always a part of them holding back. It's hard to reach your potential that way.