Living Authentically

I, like many others, probably brush my teeth at least, just a little bit more, right before visiting a dentist.  I tend to shave before a big day, and go the extra step to ensure my shirt is not wrinkled and I have collar stays in.  When pressure is applied, I figure out the details.  For the dentist, or for an interview, I want to present the best version of myself, the version I can proudly provide to anyone I encounter.

I also think about what it means to live authentically, and be the person true to your core.  Now, I am not attempting to say adding finishing touches or ironing your shirt for an interview is inauthentic.   I do think about the intention behind this though: to remove critique from the dentist or positive praise from the interviewer?  I mean, point blank, the opinion of the interviewer matters: they get to decide whether or not you receive a job.  How do we make the decision when we are going to sacrifice part of ourselves for a job, the dentist, for friends – for what is popular?

There have been transition times in my life when I have been able to refine and polish the person I want to be.  For example, the transition to high school, university, my first job, graduate school, and here in Canada have all been opportunities to become the person I want to be most.  Throughout my life I have been able to feel more fulfilled with what I am doing.  With each transition, I feel I have been able to become more loving, more consistent in my behavior, connected to others around me, and compassionate with what I am doing.  Terry (1993) discusses authentic leadership, and shares to become an authentic leader is to identify what fulfills you, gives you meaning and recognizes your existence.

When I consider authentic leadership, I consider the Fallacy of the Complex Question (Eubulides, 4th Century BCE), which indicates an assumption being made in the question being asked.  For example, if I asked, “Why is pizza so good?” There is an inherent assumption pizza is good, and I am looking for arguments to support why pizza is good.  When I consider authentic leadership, I pause to think about what causes us to be inauthentic leaders in the first place?

Author Paulo Freire (1968) wrote The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which discusses the flaws of current educational systems, and one key principle is “there is no such thing as a neutral [emphasis in original] educational process” (p. 24).  As a disclaimer, I consider each of the experiences I have had thus far in my life, and they have all added up to the person who I am today, and would not trade the experiences I have had for anything else.   Though I consider the formal and informal education I have received in my life.  How much of “what I want to do” has been motivated by a love for what I am doing, and how much has been told to me about what I might like to do?

Perhaps this is the part in the blog post where I am meant to have meaningful dialogue about what I have recognized, though perhaps it just an interesting question?  How much of what I do is because I really love it?  How much of has been a performance for an interview or extra brushing for the dentist?  What is living authentically, and am I doing it?