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Authenticity is the Ultimate Act of Resistance

February is Black History Month and the month of “love” (aka Valentine’s Day). With that said, this month’s email isn’t about either. Instead, I decided to focus on authenticity as the ultimate act of resistance. Authenticity is our birthright and our power.

Merriam-Webster defines authenticity:

  • true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character

  • not false

  • worthy of acceptance

It means living your values and freely discussing your mindset, joys, frustrations, motivations, influences, and competencies with others without fear, shame, or embarrassment. Authenticity is necessary, not only for agency but also for healing. Sometimes, those with power try to keep us from being agents of thought, joy, peace, love, justice, and abundance.

How to Find the Right Mentor Relationship: To develop a successful relationship with a mentor, you must:   1.     Determine your short- and long-term goals   2.     Identify the type of mentor you need  a.     Advisor  b.     Advocate  c.      Affirmer  d.     Challenger   e.     Coach  f.      Connector  g.     Sponsor  3.     Decide if you want one-on-one or group mentorship and virtual or in-person sessions  4.     Review your professional circle and pinpoint who has your “dream job”  5.     Determine if the person is the right fit by learning about their experience in the industry or role and evaluate their successes, challenges, character, and values  6.     Create your elevator pitch  7.     Specifically tell the person what it is about their professional or personal experience that made you reach out to them and make them ask to mentor you  8.     If the person is unable to serve in a mentor capacity, birds of a feather tend to flock together, so ask them for a referral to someone that has a similar experience as they do

We’re often told to “bring our authentic self to work,” but when we do, we’re ridiculed. We’re called “weird,” “odd,” “aggressive,” or “anti-social.” These microaggressive comments keep us in a state of powerlessness. As writer Clarissa Pinkola Estés wrote, “To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.” We must object, resist, and rebel against the status quo and live as authentically as possible. Several barriers keep us from being authentic: 1. People pleasing 2. Lack of self-esteem 3. Comparison 4. Lack of role models 5. Fear of rejection and consequences Last week, I went to San Diego for a client presentation. When I gave the “about me” spiel, I explicitly said, “I refuse to codeswitch, but I’m confident that you all will understand my vernacular and may even pick up on my Southern sensibilities.” I could have succumbed to fear of rejection and consequences and tried to please the audience, but I resisted. The price, for me, was too high. Guess what? The audience was perfectly fine. As a matter of fact, the corporate partner sent a nice email: "Thank you very much for an impactful session yesterday, Kimberly. The office had a nice buzz for the rest of the day, and I can tell that people were excited to continue reflecting/discussing for the remainder of the day." Authenticity is one of my core values; it is married to integrity. The audience cares less about a fake filter and more about character, competence, and contribution. Which barrier is preventing you from living authentically?

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