Authentic vs. Acting

Bronnie Ware, an Australian hospice nurse, has released her report from discussions with patients at the end of their lives, regarding what regrets they have or things they would like to have done differently in their lives. In the past, the #1 response has been, “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.” We’ve all heard that, and now that powerful answer is the #2 response.

This year the #1 response was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life expected of me by others.”



Authenticity is being true to ourselves. It is making sure our actions genuinely reflect and honor both our values and our life goals. Bosses, teammates and others may be telling us what we should do. We value authenticity, and we are being asked to ‘act’ a certain way, oftentimes for their benefit. We are encouraged to mask feelings, smile through it, grin and bear it, and not let them see us sweat. Have we ever heard (or said) one of these phrases?

“Oh, get over it.”

“Fake it till you make it.”

“Just tell the boss what he wants to hear.”

“I have to do this.”

“I was told I’m being too direct.”

“Pretend you like the customer more than you do.”

“Spin it this way.”

“Look, my boss says I need to be more direct.”

“I don’t know! I was just told to be more friendly.”

“So, I am supposed to act like everything is ok?”

“I guess I’m supposed to get a better attitude!”

“Oh, I’m fine!”

“Just get along with them, they are important to us.”

These comments cause conflict within us. Why can’t we be honest? Authentic? Truthful? We are being told to act in non-authentic ways by those who may benefit from our acting statements. We hear – “Act enthusiastic with a client” and yet we don’t feel passionate – perhaps it has been a miserable day. We don’t feel enthusiastic, and yet if we don’t “act” a certain way, we won’t get promoted, or that raise we want. We won’t get that big sale, receive special favors, make the big bonus, or my boss won’t like me.

With all this ‘acting,’ are we still authentic?
I have struggled with ‘authenticity vs. acting’ over the years, as I sensed at times I was being challenged to act a certain way, and it went against my values. It was difficult for me to speak up, or to make sales calls on people I didn’t think trustworthy. People with authority sometimes directed me act or manipulate information in a certain way.

The Preacher Man


Several years ago, I interviewed numerous leaders for my book The CORE of Leadership ® and I posed this authenticity vs. acting question to a senior pastor of a very large, rapidly growing, successful church. His response gave me the perspective I needed to respond to this dilemma. He said, “Jim, there are many times I stand in front of a congregation, who are all looking for my message of grace, love, and hope. And frankly at times, I have so many things going on my life that I don’t feel any of those things. Sometimes my inner feelings are of anger and hurt. Or I have feelings of being manipulated, disrespected and embarrassed – the feelings we all have at times. As I look at people’s faces on Sunday morning, I know I can act a certain way about my inner feelings, but that would be selfish – focused on me and my problems, my pain and my perspectives. That isn’t what I signed up for. I lean into my values of authenticity to be more responsible to something greater than me – my faith. Then I am being authentic to a higher purpose; a purpose to assist me through my problems, and those issues are best solved through helping others with their problems. My problems and inner feelings don’t always go away, but I choose to act according to my authentically higher purpose.”



If we have a bad conversation with our boss before seeing our favorite customer, we can crawl into the gutter and choose to gossip and complain. In thinking we are buddies, we let them know our feelings of what a jerk our boss and organization are and tell everyone we know – “I’ve been done wrong!” Or we can communicate with enthusiasm for our product and service, because we are being authentic to our company, teammates, and family goals.

We can communicate through our higher purpose of recognizing patient care needs, supporting the research department in building new patient care products, and taking higher purpose authentic actions through supporting HR and legal teams making us safe to conduct future business appropriately.

We can be honest and act directly, rude or more pleasant than we feel, and that is both authentic to ourselves and it’s also being selfish. Sometimes we just play hurt – for a greater purpose than ourselves. Getting past our own concerns of ‘acting’ and being ‘authentic’ to a higher purpose, that’s not selfish, that’s self-less.

Ego Down; Success and Happiness Up!

Jim

11 Comments
  1. Kamagra Special Offer viagra Acheter Cialis Avec Paypal

  2. Tadalis Sx Soft Side Effects Effetti Collaterali Del Cialis Generico Finasteride 1 Mb Propecia store online site dura dapoxetine Levitra Zapfchen Avalide

  3. Levitra Tagesdosis Maxocum cialis 20mg for sale Zithromax Prescribing Info

  4. Singapore Online Store Drug Levitra Zutaten Cialis Echtheit Prufen viagra Tamoxifene Arrow Order Generic Propecia Male Pattern Hair Loss

  5. Stromectol Buy Amazon Elifemeds п»їcialis Buy Primatene Mist Canada Cialis Viagra Per Donne

  6. Thanks for the tips shared on your blog. Something also important I would like to talk about is that weight reduction is not all about going on a fad diet and trying to shed as much weight as possible in a set period of time. The most effective way to shed pounds is by getting it slowly but surely and right after some basic recommendations which can enable you to make the most from the attempt to lose weight. You may understand and already be following a few of these tips, nonetheless reinforcing knowledge never hurts.

  7. Hey, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

  8. Calais Pills From Canada Pharmacy Chewable Amoxicillin Swallowing Whole Cialis Per Le Donne viagra prescription Calculations For Suspension Amoxicillin

  9. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  10. Priligy Generico Italia Candaian Pharmacies Dog Amoxicillin cialis Propecia Farmacia Online Albenza Order Metformin Without Prescription

  11. hello there and thank you on your information – I’ve definitely picked up something new from proper here. I did on the other hand expertise some technical issues the use of this site, since I skilled to reload the web site lots of instances prior to I may just get it to load properly. I had been considering in case your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances occasions will often have an effect on your placement in google and could damage your high-quality rating if ads and ***********|advertising|advertising|advertising and *********** with Adwords. Well I am including this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much extra of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

Leave a Reply