The other day I heard someone say that authenticity would be a huge trend these days. And if you google it you will find some evidence. It is used in the context of fashion, architecture, furniture, food (Belgian chocolate!) branding and advertising and as a trend to watch in 2015.
For someone like me who values authenticity as a basic life principle, my reaction was “aarrgh – how can this just be a trend like some seasonal fashion trend? My reaction was rather fierce, but before I end up in a rant here, let’s have a look at what might be going on.
Authenticity a concept with varied meanings
Apparently the term “authenticity” is a popular concept with varied meanings.
It is true, authenticity became quite a buzz word, and it is heard more frequently in the context of business, marketing, coaching and self-development and maybe even more.” You need to be authentic; your marketing must be authentic, be true to yourself and everything will be fine” is what I see and read frequently. I don’t want to belittle these statements; there is some meaning behind it. But on some occasions it sounds like a demand to behave in a certain way in order to achieve something.
Misunderstanding as a formula
Authenticity might be misunderstood as a strategyor formula one can apply and after some time it will be replaced by another strategy. From my perspective authenticity is a much more broad principle touching on many areas of life and humanity. Being authentic refers to being real, honest, upright, sincere and trustworthy vs. being false, unfaithful, manipulative or a cookie cutter version of someone else.
What it is
On an individual level the meaning of being authentic is about how well we manage our inner world within the struggles we experience in the outer world while trying to stay true to what matters to us. So what matters to us? Everyone of us – whether we are aware of it or not – has a set of life-guiding values that drive our intentions and actions (think integrity, freedom, kindness, reliability, integrity, giving value, responsibility…) that are the standards of what is important to us.
The foundations for value & success
I refer a lot to business related issues. Therefore, I firmly believe that authenticity is the new currency of real value in our society. In my opinion, this especially holds true in business along with being able to succeed really in what you do as a business owner.
In fact, it is quite simple, even though the realisation may take some time and effort. An authentic business is a business that matches who you are with your values, standards, beliefs and aspirations. When you are in alignment with what you do and what you have to offer, you are serving from a place of authentic care and engagement. In other words, you are an expert in what you do while loving what you do and serving your customers.
The new normal
We live in the information age where a lot of inauthentic superficial sales stuff with a lot of hype around it is broadcasted. That’s “Nothenticity”. As our lives and businesses are also influenced by megatrends of individuality and community, people crave for connection, realness and meaning. Being authentic in what we do and what we have to do offer is a simple but yet purposeful concept to fulfill this need.
I really want to see authenticity as a long-term trend that transforms the way we do business, the way we live on this planet and the way we serve humanity. Let’s make it a movement that puts authenticity as the new “normal” instead of some trendy concept that needs explanation.
I am curious, where did you come across authenticity, what does it mean to you and your business? Let me know in the comments!