“Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can't be faked.” — Peter Guber
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There once was a man who had been estranged from his father for some time. Many years earlier they had a falling out and though he longed to repair the relationship, he was struggling to forgive the hurt his father had caused.
Encouraged by the suggestion of a friend, the man went to see a counselor who was said to be able to offer helpful advice. When he arrived in the counselor’s office, he shared his story and ended by saying: “I’m told you can help me forgive my father. What can I do?”
The counselor appeared to be deep in thought, considering carefully what had just been shared, and we he finally spoke he said something the man hadn’t expected:
“I believe I can help you, but you’ll have to leave now and come back in two weeks.”
The man was surprised by these words, but was eager to see what would happen.
The weeks passed and the man returned to the counselor who said: “Good, we can now proceed.”
But the man stopped and asked, “Before we begin, I’m curious why you needed to send me away for two weeks?”
The counselor replied, “I needed the two weeks because I, too, have been estranged from my father for many years. I couldn’t help you until I finally did what I needed to do to repair my relationship with him. And now that I have, I am ready to share what I learned and what might be helpful for you.”
What I appreciate about this story is how it demonstrates the importance of authenticity when offering advice, because knowledge alone has little to offer unless it is also backed by the experience of practice.
If you are a trainer, facilitator, educator, performer, or subject matter expert in any field, authenticity is imperative for inspiring confidence in your content, because it demonstrates your integrity while also fostering trust and respect between you and the people you serve.
By modeling the application and enthusiasm for the content you share with others, you become empowered as an authentic leader, encouraging others through not just your words, but also by the way you choose to live your life.
How does your expertise and lifestyle demonstrate authenticity?
Jonas Cain is an instructional designer, facilitator of fascination, and purveyor of positivity—helping to initiate and manage positive change for individual, team, and community growth.