Our fear denies us from our feelings and emotions, and that holds us back from acting out into our true selves. When we deny ourselves from our authentic selves, we deny ourselves from living a meaningful and fulfilling life. So let’s join T. Mark Meyer, the Author of The Art of Being Authentic: Increase Self-Esteem, Be Happier, and Discover Your Purpose, in delving into the concept of authenticity and how to cultivate it on our own. He explains the value of acting with purpose and reveals why it is the key to living authentically. T. Mark also discusses the connection between living authentically and saving time. Be empowered to find your true self from this meaningful episode with T. Mark Meyer. Revel into the beauty of the Art of Being Authentic and learn to harness its power today.
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Authenticity Unpacked: Finding Your True Self And Living A More Meaningful Life With T. Mark Meyer
In this episode, we’re going to talk about authenticity and how that can help you take back time because we’re talking about taking back time. It means working smarter, not harder. We have a treat with us here. Mark Meyer is a psychotherapist and a consultant for the world’s largest corporations, leading workshops on conflict resolution, authenticity, and authentic management. We’ll find out more about what that is.
He coaches professional athletes, discovers their purpose, and counsels both couples and individuals. After founding and spearheading several successful companies, Mark connected with his authentic self and refocused his professional aspirations. He’s been a business coach and neurolinguistic programming master practitioner who uses his personal experience to help others live their most authentic lives. His book on Amazon as a bestseller is The Art of Being Authentic. Mark, welcome to the show.
Penny, thank you for having me.
It’s great to have you and talk about this buzzword that is being talked a lot about, which is authenticity. You finally became your authentic self. Let’s talk about that. What kept you from being your authentic self?
What kept me from being my authentic self is also what keeps a lot of people from being their authentic selves. That’s a couple of things. It’s the fear of other people’s judgments. What are other people going to think when I’m going to be my authentic self because maybe my authentic self will not fit in? It’s my first concern. My second concern was my judgments. We meet judgments in life. When we’ve been judged enough, we start judging ourselves. I would think, “Could I make this shift? Could I do this?” The third thing is also something that a lot of us spend a lot of time on, which is trying to figure out what is authentic for me. The combination of these three things makes it a little more difficult than it sounds at first.
I’m also trying to unpack this for people. What changed in you? How did you show up differently? What was different?
I lived a life where I was very focused on chasing goals and proving to the world that I was good enough. Whenever I reached the goal, I expected something to happen. Once I reach this goal, I’ll be happy or this will materialize. It never happened. In my corporate endeavors, I had a lot of success. Every time I reached a goal, I felt almost compelled to immediately set another goal because I was looking for emotional redemption. When that didn’t come, I had to stop looking outwards and start looking inwards. I discovered I should change my path.
Before we go into that and change the path, on one side, you’re saying, “If you’re noticing these symptoms, that could be a sign that you’re not living your authentic self.” On the other side, it sounds to me that you need external recognition. I’m not saying you. I’m saying whoever it is because as many fingers I’m pointing at you, I’m pointing them at myself. I recognize that in myself.
Is that the same thing that I’m so focused on external recognition and getting that goal, and then I’ll be recognized and be good enough? Is authenticity feeling that we are enough or is it the goofy side of me who wants to come out and be goofy? I’m having this conflict of understanding the definition because that’s what I always thought it to be. It’s like, “I’m not bringing my humor and being my whole self.” It sounds like I’m doing things to get an external reaction versus doing it because it feels good to me.
It’s okay to be confused because the word authentic is used in a lot of different ways. As you say in the beginning, it’s a bit of a buzzword. What could authentic be? That could be being true to yourself. It could be original. We could use the word authentic if we talk about the Mona Lisa. We could say that it’s an authentic Leonardo da Vinci painting because it’s an original. That’s the way we use authentic.
On the other hand, if I ask you to describe an Italian godfather for me, what would he look like, Penny? Maybe you’ll say, “He’ll have a big cigar, a tie, a suit, and the hair back.” The reason you’re describing him like that is that he looks like all the rest of them. All the other godfathers and Italian mafias you’ve seen look like that. We’re using authentic to describe a copy.
We use authentic both to describe an original. We also use it to describe a copy or a stereotype that lives up to certain criteria. It becomes difficult for us because it’s like, “Should I look to others? Should I try to emulate them? Should I be myself?” This whole thing about feeling good enough, authenticity is much more than feeling good about yourself. It’s a prerequisite in some ways.
When you want to be your authentic self, and you say, Penny, “I want to goof around, have humor, and be me,” not everyone will necessarily respond well to that. You need to have the self-esteem to say, “I’m worth this. This is me. I’m going to step into my authenticity.” Feeling good about yourself and having self-esteem is perhaps a prerequisite or a good starting point for beginning to become more authentic.
I love the way that you framed that. We can see that it means a copy and original. My mind is blown. Is that what you talk about? Are there levels of how I get to authenticity and self-esteem is the first step? Why don’t we refer to them as separate things?
When we are being authentic, we gain self-esteem. When we have self-esteem, it becomes more easy for us to be authentic. In that way, those two are a self-reinforcing process.
It’s like the chicken and the egg.
Yeah, a little bit. It’s important to note that we’re talking about self-esteem. In our culture, we sometimes mistake self-esteem for confidence. There’s a difference. The best way to describe it is that confidence is how well you expect to handle a given situation. If you are good at tennis, when you step onto a tennis court, you’ll have a high sense of confidence. You know you’ll do well.
Self-esteem is different. That is the worth I place on myself. If you play a tennis match, your self-esteem will be unaffected whether you win or lose because this is not how you handle a given situation. This is the worth you put on yourself. Winning or losing a tennis match is not going to devalue or add to your value as a person.
If you’re solid in your self-esteem, most people might take it as a hit when they’re defeated athletically in sports.
They’ve been taught that confidence and self-esteem are the same thing. They think they need to be better in more things in life. They need to be better not only at tennis but at public speaking and ballroom dancing. If we don’t handle this situation well, our confidence is going to decrease but we carry our self-esteem with us all the time. For us to be authentic, we have to cultivate our self-esteem. We have to try to make little authentic decisions because every time you do something that’s truly you and express your uniqueness, it will add to your self-esteem.To be authentic, we should cultivate our self-esteem. We should make little authentic decisions because they will add to our self-esteem. Click To Tweet
It will add to your confidence, too. If you have self-esteem and you walk onto the court and you know this doesn’t define you, you’re like, “I’m going to come out here and play the best came that I can,” that is also a form of self-confidence. They’re intertwined. You’re pulling them apart to show the difference and I see the difference. You were saying, “With authenticity and self-esteem, there is a direct connection. What came to me is you can have confidence without self-esteem but you can’t necessarily have self-esteem without some confidence because it grounds you.
You could say confidence becomes less important because the outcome of whatever you’re going to do becomes less important. You detach yourself more from the outcome. If I have high self-esteem and I’m going to give a speech at a wedding and let’s say I’ve never given a speech at a wedding, confidence will be less of a factor for me at that moment because I know that whether or not I give a good or a not so good speech, it is not going to change the value of me as a person. The higher our self-esteem is, the less important confidence becomes for us.
What else do you share about authenticity? Self-esteem is an important element. Do you have a framework that you share in your book? How do you break down that word even further for you?
For me, authenticity, the closer we get to it, the closer we come to something else in our life that’s also important, which is our purpose. I compare it to a plane ride. Let’s imagine you’re taking a plane ride and you’re flying from New York to Rome. That’s about the same latitude. Compare that to your life journey. Let’s say that something happens. That happens for most of us. We start in life and something happens. We’re ourselves but we’re not met the way we are supposed to be met. We come home and find out, “People don’t embrace me the same way when I act like this but they like me better when I act like that.”
What we do is, because we want to fit in, we change a little bit, not a lot. We are 99.9% ourselves. We do that a couple of times. We don’t think it’s a big deal because we are mainly ourselves. If we compare it to a plane ride, if you shortly into the flight go off course by 1 single or 2 degrees, when you’ve flown for 6 or 8 hours, you’re going to be far away from your destination. That metaphorical plane will not be near Rome. It’ll be near Greenland or Iceland. You’re looking out the window saying, “Where is the red wine in the Piazzas? I’m seeing mountains and snow.”
That’s what sometimes can happen for us. When we get in that situation, we need to course correct. That’s what I talk about in the book. I say, “We need to course correct not further away. We don’t need to look to others on what others are doing because they’re on a different path and plane. We need to course correct back to what our authentic self is.” When we do that, we come in contact with our purpose. What is our purpose? What is our authentic way of living?
Purpose to you is the authentic way of living whereas many people think of that as the thing they’re meant to do. It’s usually more thought of as a thing than a way of being.
Purpose is a way of being and something that you can express that is uniquely you. That’s how I wrote this book because there are many layers to this. In the discussion that we’re having and in the world, there are many nuances. A lot of people think of goals rather than purpose. Goals in themselves are meaningless if they do not have a purpose behind them.
That’s also what I experienced on my path. If you chase goals without having a purpose, when you reach those goals, they’re not going to materialize in any lasting way for you. The purpose is something different. It is something we can express immediately. If we can’t express our purpose, it’s not a purpose. It’s a goal. A lot of people say, “My purpose is to make money.” That’s not a purpose.
I’ve never heard anybody say that. They are lying to themselves if they say that. I’m sorry. If you’re reading and you say that your purpose is to make money, you’re missing the boat. You need to go back to the beginning of this show and read.
That’s not a purpose. It’s a goal at best. It’s something you need to attain. You can compare it to flow. When you’re in that zone where you’re expressing who you are, that’s something that connects to authenticity the way I see it. When you are being authentic, you’re expressing your purpose.
I could see that. You’re in your flow when you’re connected to what matters to you. That makes total sense. Some people are thinking, “Penny, where have you gone with this? You’re talking about taking back time.” Let’s make that connection for people. How do I save time when I am being my authentic self and living in that flow and that way of giving me meaning?
At the end of the day, you save a lot of time. I can speak from personal experience. I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life chasing goals. When I reached them, they weren’t important. When you’re authentic, you’re not going to be efficient because that’s not the purpose of authenticity. The purpose of authenticity is to express your purpose. Instead, you’re spending time on what is important for you.
I’ll give you an example for anybody who is out there reading who’s a parent. One of their purposes is to be a good parent. Sometimes, your kids come home from school. They’re crying and they’ve had a bad day. They need their parents to come. They need you to be there and hug them. There’s no efficient way of hugging and comforting your child. You just have to be there. It feels good because you’re expressing your authentic purpose as a parent.
When we are being authentic, while we may not be more efficient when you look at what we’re doing, the small tasks in themselves, instead, we’re focusing on what’s important for us. From a broader perspective, you can say you’re taking back time because you’re peeling away all those things that don’t matter to you. You focus on what is truly authentic and important for you.
To your point of the plane, you’re in a different place. How much time is it going to take you to get back? It’s almost like when we make a mistake, we have to redo it. The cost of redoing is time. I see this as an important way to stay on track with who you are and what it is that you’re meant to do. For people reading, you have a job to do. You may need to do what you need to do in that job but you can still do it authentically for yourself. Talk to that for a minute and around leadership.
We can all think that surroundings and circumstances need to change for us to be authentic. We could be authentic in whatever we are doing if we’re doing it in a way that’s true for us. I work with authenticity. I could find a way of being authentic if I was flipping burgers somewhere. I would make it a point of smiling at the customers and making sure they had a great day. I can express my authenticity in a lot of different places.
A lot of people and clients have come to me and said, “I need to change my circumstances to be authentic.” They’re looking for other circumstances where they’ll fit in better. The fact of the matter is that in real life, we have to stand out first to fit in as our authentic selves. We need to take that leap of faith and have that self-esteem to say, “I’m going to be my authentic self.” Circumstances are never going to be right and perfect.In real life, we should stand out first to fit in as our authentic selves. Click To Tweet
It could be, in some cases, not a right fit for you wherever you are. It doesn’t mean you can’t show up authentically as you but it might mean that in the long run, you’re not going to be happy in that place. That’s okay. You make yourself more unhappy when you’re not yourself. I don’t care where I am. If I can bring in a little bit of my humor, fun, and playfulness, I’m happier. If I’m in an environment where that’s squashed or not appreciated, I see that quicker but it doesn’t mean I need to change. It means I need to change where I am because it’s not a fit. You have circles and squares that may not go in the same hole.
There are two things I want to comment on that. It’s such an insight into what you’re saying, Penny. The first thing is when we are with people that allow us to be authentic, we have energy. We get energized. When we are with people where we cannot be our authentic selves, they can drain us of energy. That’s spot on. I jokingly say, “That’s why it’s more fun to hang out with your friends than your in-laws because you can be yourself.”
When you say it in a work-related context, that’s important to talk about when it comes to leadership. When we want to be authentic leaders, authenticity is not only me being me but also allowing other people to be their authentic selves. If I were your leader, Penny, and I could see that you were being your authentic self and you didn’t fit in, it’s my job as a leader to find out, “How can we embrace Penny? She can fit in authentically here because that’s something we all need to do to have an organization that is thriving long-term.”
I asked a lot of guests this and we’re going to have to wrap up. I could talk to you all day. We have so much fun. We can philosophize and break things down further. Everybody has a different answer to this. What does productivity mean to you, and why?
Productivity means to do what is the right thing for you to do. It’s not about the output and what you can check off from your list. It’s about doing what’s right for you. When you do what’s right for you, you’re going to end up in a place that I would think is very productive.
Tell us where we can find more information about you and your book.
If you’re interested in learning more about authenticity, you can go to Amazon and pick up my book, The Art of Being Authentic. You can go to Instagram. I share a lot of little video clips and quotes on Instagram on @AuthenticTMarkMeyer. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, where I talk a lot about authentic leadership. You can go to my website, which is TMarkMeyer.com.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me, Penny.
Thank you all for being here because it’s an important topic. We’re more awake to wanting to be our authentic selves. COVID gave us a push in that direction that people are happier when they’re more relaxed and not dressed in a suit. They get to wear what they want to wear behind their camera. We started to lean into some of those things. Check out Mark’s books and his site because there’s a lot to unpack here. I know you took a lot away from this episode so imagine what you’ll take away from reading his whole book. Thank you for being here. We’ll see you in the next episode.
About Mark Meyer
T. Mark Meyer is a psychotherapist and a consultant for the world’s largest corporations, leading workshops on conflict resolution, authenticity, and authentic management. He coaches professional athletes in discovering their purpose and counsels both couples and individuals. After founding and spearheading several successful companies, T. Mark connected with his authentic self and refocused his professional aspirations. He is a business coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner who uses his personal experience to help others live their most authentic lives. He is also the author of the Amazon best selling book The Art of Being Authentic.
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