Lessons in Authenticity

“Be true to yourself.  You can’t begin to love yourself, or even be true to yourself, unless you know who you really are.”  Those are words of wisdoms from legendary day time television queen Oprah Winfrey.

I believe in order to be true…you must be authentic.  Some of the best lessons I’ve learned about authenticity occurred during my news career.  But, I’ve been able to recognize the lessons as an organizational development practitioner.

The television news industry is a highly competitive field.  The industry places significant emphasis on creativity, storytelling, talent, on-air personas, and looks.  I joined the industry more than a decade ago.  I wasn’t on a mission to emulate the style of any other journalist in the business.  There are a handful of major news figures that inspired me with their style, innovative writing, and interviewing abilities.  Inspiration never propelled me to stand in front of a camera…or sit behind an anchor desk…and become the clone of veterans.  It was important for me to give my authentic self to the public.

Every year, I attended professional conventions and conferences.  Resume reels are needed for television news journalists to elevate up the career ladder.  Resume reels include samples of television news stories, live shots, anchor clips, and talk show host excerpts.  News leaders from across the country critique resume reels at the conventions.  They are honest about what on air talent personalities do right and wrong on the news desk or in the field.  And they are brutally honest about how television journalists look and sound.  Voice.  Delivery.  Wardrobe.  Makeup.  Hair.  You name it.  One year…an industry leader recommended that I change my hair and appearance to resemble a prominent journalist in the midwest.

I decided against becoming the identical twin of that journalist.  Modifying one or more features of my on air persona would eventually create a whole new identity.  I realized early on that some of the feedback was very subjective.  So, I had to learn how to measure the advice.  I focused on professional development.  I focused on becoming more polished.  And continued to hone my skills as a journalist.

There are lessons in authenticity for all working professionals.

  1. Being authentic requires a great deal of self discovery.
  2. Authentic individuals are secure with their capabilities.
  3. Authenticity is linked to core values.
  4. People gravitate towards authentic individuals.
  5. Authentic individuals have an amazing ability to inspire others.

Did something in this piece resonate with you? If so, share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.

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Categories: Workplace Inspiration

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2 replies

  1. I love it! I can’t agree more I think you are doing a wonderful job with the blogs! Come on Dreamer! Yes the ones that stand out alone, and walk alone doing the unusual expects the Best!

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