Thoughts for “keeping it real” on your courageous journey.

Let’s face it, in our industry, whether you’re on the public relations/communications or marketing side of the house, the pace is generally frenetic. I often refer to this as managed chaos. And the fast pace is only one part of the crazy; our industry is constantly changing and evolving, and we must stay agile and one step ahead of the curve in order to deliver top-quality counsel to our clients. We are in a race to win, to be first, to be better, and to stand out. Sometimes you might find yourself in “check the box” mode – blowing through your to-do list and juggling the demands on your time. Or, perhaps you can relate more with those of us who get jazzed by the rush of the managed chaos – when, the more you are able to manage the chaos, the more energized you feel. But does that energy serve you and your work well?

Over the years, authenticity has been the topic of many papers and talks covering all areas of business. At times, authenticity has felt to me like a buzzword or a fad that is talked about, written about, and debated by those who have the luxury to sit back and just think, but perhaps not really an achievable “thing”. I have given a great deal of thought to the concept of authenticity and even struggled at times with what being authentic really means for me. I recall quite painfully those times in my career when I have felt vulnerable, disconnected with my true self, and frankly just going through the motions in order to keep the numerous proverbial balls in the air.

According to Teri Sica, psychotherapist and author of the blog Discovering Authenticity, “with all of the outside pressures and expectations in the roles that we perform at work, at home, as parents, leaders, spouses, it’s easy to get lost or derailed. We can’t perform effectively in these roles if we aren’t authentic.” Mike Robbins, author of “The Power of Authenticity,” presents a simple definition of authenticity in his 2013 blog post on Huffpost Healthy Living. He writes, “It’s [authenticity] absolutely honest, but minus the righteousness and plus vulnerability.” Micah Solomon, contributing writer for Forbes Entrepreneurs, believes authenticity is essential for successful communication and connection with customers. In today’s marketplace, customers are turned off by canned, phony, and artificial interactions. Solomon writes, “A stilted, overly formal service style, even from the most caring providers, puts a ceiling on how intimate and inviting the interactions can be between employees and customers.”

So ask yourself this question: How much of you do you bring to your work? I’m talking about the true, authentic you – your personality, your honesty, your vulnerability. Robbins explains, “Although it can be counter-intuitive, some fascinating research in the fields of social psychology and emotional intelligence is proving that being real, honest, and even vulnerable are key elements to individual group success and engagement.” When we don’t bring our true, authentic selves to our work and we stifle our authentic energy, imagine what gets lost — insights, ideas, creativity, connections? And who suffers – the customer because our work product is not what it could have been? Or, do we suffer because we are not allowing our own amazing energy and creative process to flow? I say it’s both.

It is possible to be authentic and still meet the demands coming at us at Mach speed on a daily basis. It is possible to enjoy what you do and not compromise the quality of your work. I have learned in my career that my authenticity is made up of my journey, my self-awareness, and recognizing my vulnerability. My authentic self is always evolving and growing. I am particularly fond of the way Robbins explains it. “There is no destination called authentic. Authenticity is a courageous process and a way of being, not a possession or an accomplishment.”

And so, my courageous process has brought me here to Makovsky. I joined this talented and passionate team because this environment encourages and celebrates authenticity. Try bringing yourself fully and authentically to your work each day. It is a process and it takes effort, but it is worth it. Try it, and you just might find that doing so opens you up to new opportunities that enhance your own journey. What’s more, when we are truly authentic and in the moment, our own individual brilliance emerges.

Megan Thomas, Senior Vice President, Makovsky Health

thought leadership


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