Tag Archives: authentic

Expertise Is Secondary. Flaws Are First.

I think anyone who strolls around the Interwebz at any point looking for an answer to any of life’s great questions will find themselves inundated with information from those looking to help. There are a variety of levels of expertise in those looking to help out as well – everything from utter charlatans to esteemed experts with a wealth of degrees or oodles of success.

If forced to pick, you want more superstar than snake oil in who is helping you, right?  Sort of hard (and kind of bat guano crazy) to argue against that.

For me, there’s actually something else I need along with the expertise and, in some ways, it may even be more important.

Authenticity from someone who has been through a struggle.

Maybe I’m alone in that sentiment, but I doubt it. I see plenty of people providing advice and their tact is one of “You should listen to me because I sit here oozing success out of every pore. All I do is win at everything I come across.”

C’mon now. Really?

Too. Damn. Early. I need someone with a few battle scars. Notched a few failures. Knows the feeling of getting up in the morning and, despite having a long-desired goal, has that moment of “Sweet mother of God… it’s… SO… DAMN… EARLY.”

There is a realness to showing your flaws that makes the advice to follow mean just so much more. Of course, even the highly-polished experts no doubt have had all those ugly moments… they just choose not to display them. Maybe they see it as a sign of weakness? And showing a single chink in the armor is the first step to the inevitable unmasking? I have no idea.

It’s also the fact that the person who has been through the struggles and found even a few fleeting moments of insightful brilliance has more to tell a person fighting their challenges than someone talking down to them from a place of glossy success.

It’s why I try so hard to never do this blog in any kind of way than a retelling of my own daily push for a bit more awesome and a bit less awful. Plus, it’s just much more accurate – for every moment of triumph where I let heave a battle cry, there are at least more 3 instances of stumbling and falling on my face.

And I’m good with that. My stumbles don’t embarrass me as much as they entertain.

And I’ll take that 3:1 ratio tradeoff for a good moment of victory.

Authenticity: The Fine Art of Just Being Yourself

Authentic. The genuine article. The real McCoy. The real deal like Holyfield.

The notion of “To thine own self, be true” is one that’s resonated with people for a very long time. Like, easily longer than The Simpsons has been on TV. For real… THAT long. Despite the seeming impossibility, it’s true.

I am fortunate enough to have two similar, but distinct forums from which to speak in the most authentic way I can: a blog I do at work and the humble blog you read this very moment. The topics of the two are different. My work blog is about business ethics and is targeted to thousands of colleagues I am fortunate to have in my company. This blog is about… hmm… truth be told, it’s sometimes a little tricky to describe this blog succinctly. If I were pressed, I would say this blog is about my own journey to make myself a little better daily and share that story with you I hopes you can do the same. How’s that sound? Copacetic?

The handsome kid himself

While the exact topic of any given blog post I do on either blog can vary, the most critical goal I have… besides writing something worth reading… is for the message to be completely authentic to who I am if you just walked up to me to have a chat. I cannot stress enough how important I think this is because I think those who lack authenticity lack any staying power with their message. Plus, it just comes across as disingenuous and maybe even flat out dishonest.

I think that’s a huge reason why I have such a disdain for most Internet forums or the comments that follow many Web articles: they tend to be places where people lob verbal grenades from the safety of hiding behind their monitors. Ugh. Or why I don’t just blindly follow anyone who follows me on Twitter. If all you have to “say” is a solely links to the content of others without even a single personal observation or shred of insight, then consider me uninterested.

I write what I would say if you were standing in front of me. The weird and quirky (to put it mildly) sense of humor? Yeah, that’s me. The yearning to press myself to do a little more and be a little better, but without feeling like I’m somehow incomplete? That’s this handsome kid right here.

In the end, I may not be perfect… but at least I’m me at all times.