The Hefty Price of Being Inauthentic

27 June, 2012

Have you ever experienced a silly slap? Some physical sign from the world around you that what you are doing is not OK?

How often have you ignored that sign; that little ‘tap’ from the guiding hand that is trying to help you stay within your truth? How often have you ignored the hand that tries (at first) to gently nudge you in the right direction? Until eventually it becomes louder and louder until you simply can’t avoid it any more?

Let’s take a look at Sally. Growing up she became incredibly astute at reading body language and other non-verbal cues, like the atmosphere in a room or the meaning of a look or even interpreting silences. And then Sally would respond in a way that cast her in a favourable light, because she wanted to be who that person wanted her to be.

When Sally entered the job market, she moved up the career ladder very quickly, and by her early 30’s decided that it was time to earn the fanciest of fancy titles; the highest rung on the ladder. In those days Sally still looked in newspapers for jobs (we all did), and found something that looked interesting. An interview was set up and our candidate was asked to do a psychometric test to see if she was suitable for the position. As she was going in for the interview, Sally overheard someone say that for this position they needed a candidate with a high ‘D” – high Dominance. Now our Sally didn’t have a high D. She had a high C for Compliance. Sally, being the clever trickster that she was, fudged the test and got the job.

And then what happened?

It goes without saying that Sally was in way over her head and spent every waking moment scared of being exposed. She lived every day being defensive, squashing her natural emotions, cutting herself off from who she really was and living a life that was completely out of control. Sally was working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Unhappily.

December holidays came, finally, and Sally got home that night to find her very lonely boyfriend keeping company with someone else. So she packed her bags and got into her car and started driving. It was 11pm.

And then what happened?

Sally wound up without a job, without a partner, without a home, driving around the Karoo in the middle of the night, all because she pretended to be someone that she wasn’t. And not because she didn’t believe that who she was wasn’t good enough, but because she didn’t even know who she was. Sally had spent so much time cultivating a persona for other people, becoming who they wanted her to be, that she honestly didn’t know herself.

But like Sally, it’s when we’re in that dark and anguished place that the magic happens. It’s that place where we finally give ourselves permission to be who we really are.

So. What are your dreams? What is your passion? What do you value? What do you do that you are most proud of? What do you want to become famous for? What do you love? What inspires you?

The universe will give you challenges and lessons in every area of your life to wake you up to the profound principle that you can have whatever you would truly love, and truly feel you deserve. If you’re truthful.


Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.