Authentically You – Seven Steps to Authenticity

by LeAura Alderson

No One Can Do You Like You

Most of us buy into the concept of authenticity. But when it comes right down to it… when it comes to living as we would like to live, regardless of what others say and think, most of us shirk into our collars, avert our gaze and let authenticity slip through the cracks of fear.

So to say “no one can do you like you”, seems like a no-brainer comment and conclusion. Yet here’s the rub: so many people regulate themselves and their lives by what others are doing or fear of what others might say or think.

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Do not regulate your life based on what others are doing or fear of what they may say.

So we have a culture of the majority looking for guidance on how and who to be from a minority. In school that minority would be the bully with the loudest voice, brawn or gang. In times of old (and in some cases, still) that minority would be the ruling class, the mafia, royalty or the dictator in power.

Cultural conditioning either enhances or inhibits physical, emotional and mental growth, movement and freedom.

Today, the minority leading the majority are those with the votes, the microphones and airwaves with the widest reach.

We learn very early that we don’t want to stand out or be different from our peers because that will bring negative attention. We look to experts to tell us everything from the best timing for naming our baby, to what we should wear each season, and what color is in or out.

Magazine headlines regularly tout things like “never do this” and “always do that”; “The top ten things good parents must do”; “The must have shoes”; “Never wear white shoes after September”, is something I saw on The Oprah Show ages ago. I wonder if that’s still a fashion rule? I stopped tuning into those memes ages ago. I think it was easier for me thanks to growing up in Hawaii, especially when it comes to fashion where dress up shoes could mean your nicest pair of “sleepahs” (flip-flops).

And then there’s social media. While the vast array of Social Media Platforms is an incredible resource of human connectivity, it can be reminiscent of a high school popularity contest, where we sometimes post things just so that people have seen that we post them. E.g., do you want to be the only one not posting gratitude for your mom on Mother’s Day, or to your spouse on their birthday? While some—probably most—post because they just want to, which is awesome, there’s still a subtle “peer pressure” to “show up” on Social Media, or be “out of the loop”. It reminds me of one of my favorite commercials, that brings a chuckle every time.

This is not a case for or against engaging in social media or being interested in fashion and what experts have to say. As a woman I admire fashion, especially boho, and appreciate an elegant look as much as anyone.

I also love connecting with people and while I try to limit the time spent on social media so that I can get work done, I’m really grateful at the incredible global gathering place created by brilliant entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn. Anything that brings people in the world closer together in positive ways is awesome. (Though I do wonder how much time Mark actually spends engaged on Facebook). ?

But this article is an exploration into how much of what we do, what we think and ultimately, who we are is too often tethered to societal pressures as external conditioning memes.

External conditioning either inhibits or nurtures growth.

Unfortunately, inhibition occurs more often for more people than inspiration and elevation. More clients who seek counseling, coaching and therapy, trace their problems back to childhood issues stemming either from family issues, school or both.

Be unique, be different, stand out
Tall poppies are beautiful. Be a tall poppy!
Bringing awareness and compassion to any problem provides the opportunity to find solutions.

When we become aware of our conditioning, we can begin to let it go. And the more we are freed from mindsets that inhibit, the more we are free to follow the yearnings of our heart… that calling from deep within. Those strands of light that elevate our mind, stimulate creativity and bring fulfillment like nothing else we can do.  These are the stuff dreams are made of. The act of creating becomes a spiritual experience, and as Julia Cameron says in her landmark book, The Artist’s Way:

“Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward divinity.” Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way

Most people I know discover their ultimate fulfillment and experience of a well-lived life includes service and contribution to others. Whatever it is for you, the good news is that it’s never too late to unlock the treasures hidden in the caverns of your heart. It’s never too late to embark on the journey of your dreams, and even better news: it’s an easy process and is often free to do.

It’s time to do more than survive. It’s time to thrive! Now go be a tall poppy.

Seven Steps to Authenticity

  1. Get fit. Eat foods from the garden instead of a package. Exercise regularly, and preferably outside whenever possible. E.g., hiking, biking, etc.
  2. Get outside. Get out in nature regularly, preferably someplace high with an expanded view.
  3. Get real. Question everything. Like the child who keeps asking, “Why?”, and, “Is this really true?”
  4. Get clear. Ask: “What am I for?”, and, “Does this really matter?”  (This combines #3 & 4)
  5. Get determined. Do the hard things. Push through resistance… push through malaise… push through excuses and rise to be you.
  6. Get Grateful. Gratitude elevates your mind, opens your heart, eases anxiety and dissolves anger.
  7. Forgive. Holding on to hurts, anger, resentment and regrets, hinders progress. Let it go.

 

Seven Steps — Expanded

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1. GET FIT: Eat wholesome foods for fuel, food from the garden or perimeter of the store, and move vigorously and dynamically daily. Our bodies were made to move. Human evolution literally occurs during movement. In fact, life is defined as movement. If our lives are static or stuck, the fastest way to shift that is through movement. That’s why so many people who get fit go on to create programs and reinvent their lives. It’s about so much more than appearance and even about so much more than health. But in terms of health, if we take care of our body, it’s more likely to take care of us and get us to where we want to go.

Get healthy, get outdoors,
Get healthy, get outdoors, enjoy nature to nurture our own nature.

2. GET OUT IN NATURE: Connecting with the natural world tends to automatically put us more in sync with our own nature, and the more we do this the quicker and easier this occurs. Deep breaths, fresh air, panoramic views, or flowers and trees… these all serve to reorient us away from the fabricated lives and old stories into new growth, perspective and creativity. This is also about getting outside the box of the life we’ve lived thus far. This combines 1 & 2.

Truth
Which way to truth?
3. GET REAL – QUESTION EVERYTHING: Politely. Gently, yet piercingly. Most of us go through life accepting what we’ve been taught and told as truth. The beauty of aging is that we’ve cultivated more of our own wisdom to guide us. Now—more than ever–is our time to question everything. I say “politely” and “gently” because questioning can be threatening to others and to ourselves. When we begin to unravel truth from the assumptions we’ve carried for years, it can be disorienting and unnerving. So view this as an adventure… like a journey to a new place where everything is new and we’re eager to explore, without preconceived notions of what we will find. Questions like: “How do I know this unequivocally?” And, “What if I’m wrong?”.
(See article and Interview w/ Janet Neal on ‘Superwoman Quit’).
Perspective, get clear
We need a “mountain top” perspective to get clear. Regularly stepping outside of our current environment and routine is essential for growth.
4.  GET CLEAR: The process of getting clear, combines #’s 2, 3 & 4. It’s about asking: “What am I for?” And is this thing that I’m doing or thinking, on track with truth and purpose? Do I believe this, or is it something I’ve been saying for so long that I’ve come to assume it’s true? Here’s where we pay attention to our thoughts and words and question them by holding them up to the light of truth by examining every aspect relative to ourselves.  (See article & interview with Lisa Brick on ‘Manifestation: Making Mind Matter)

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5. GET DETERMINED: Time to get rid of limiting beliefs and cultural mindsets that hold us back. Decide that you’re going to pursue your mine your heart for dreams and bring them to life through daily attention. One step at a time.

 

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6. GET GRATEFUL: Our biology is still wired to that of our ancestors, and paleo man, in the popular vernacular, was wired to look for what’s wrong… to look for signs of danger and avoid it. So humans are naturally wired at this point in our evolution to find what’s wrong over what’s right. That’s why bad news sells. But we can begin to reverse that “animal man” inclination by simply focusing on what’s right and what’s good in our lives. And… whatever we focus on grows.

 

Forgive

7. FORGIVE: Those who’ve helped to entrap us with negative conditioning were usually operating under their own conditioning or wounds from others. Forgiving all who have harmed or wronged us, sets us free.

 Forgiving all who have harmed or wronged us, sets us free.

Uncertain Dreams?

If you doubt your ability to pursue your dreams later in life, maybe it’s just a matter of tweaking that vision a bit. We’re working on a new article on this topic because it’s an important one for people who feel like it’s too late for them.

But here’s the thing about passions and dreams: often the thing we think we want is the outer shell of something else. Our next article will explore that “something else”.
Meanwhile, if you think it’s too late to achieve your primary dream, ask yourself what experience you wanted to have by achieving that vision. Chances are that experience behind the dream is still absolutely achievable.

We are in the fall of our lives as boomers, and that’s when our colors really shine.

We’d love to hear from you about what you’re doing. Please feel free to comment below or visit and comment on our Facebook page.

Boomers let your colors shine!

RESOURCES

ARTICLES

Manifestation: Making Mind Matter, interview and article with Lisa Brick and how she applies these principles in her life.

Superwoman Quit, interview with Janet Neal

Authenticity, Power and Tall Poppies, for more of this topic of authenticity, plus 8 Tips for cultivating habits that lead to authenticity.

Stalin’s Russia, via Spartacus Educational

The Tall Poppy Syndrome (paper on Business Psychology)

BOOKS

Julia Cameron says in her landmark book, The Artist’s Way

The Biology of Belief, by Dr. Bruce Lipton
The Wisdom of Your Cells, by Dr. Bruce Lipton
Virus of the Mind, by Richard Brodie

 

VIDEOS

The Marketing of Madness (available in DVD from Amazon) (or view on YouTube)

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Author, entrepreneur, ideator and founder of BoomersReinvented.com. An auto-didactic polymath, passionate about learning, growth and service, LeAura's mission is to elevate, educate, engage and empower others to be the best they can be, no matter their age. "Now is the time to live your dreams and make them real. The world needs your wisdom and your vision. Now it's time—not to check out—but to check in to becoming more fully all that you can be."

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