So last week, I talked a great deal about vulnerability risks. If you missed it, here it is. I heard from several of you who said things like, “I forwarded this to ‘my Alyson’ and thanked her,” or “I need to find ‘an Alyson’.” I love hearing from you and always love to read your emails, so thank you!
Today, I want to talk a bit about a way to express vulnerability by showing up more authentically. Authenticity is a way of being honest, transparent and genuine. It allows people to see our humanity and feel connected to us in more meaningful ways. Often, in our society, we focus on performance and appearance which interfere with authenticity. We feel like we need to “keep up” socially, financially and with toxic positivity in order to be accepted. The difficulty is that those behaviors are exhausting. When we feel the need to “appear” perfect all of the time, or as if we have our sh*t together, or that we always love our jobs, partners and kids, we end up isolating ourselves. However, when we begin to model authenticity, we find company from others who may also be struggling, overwhelmed or alone.
Here are some suggestions for modeling authenticity.
|Model Imperfections||• At work: “It’s ok to ask for help, we haven’t shown you how to do that yet.”
• At home: “Well, I guess it’s dinner out tonight. We tried something new and it didn’t work out.”
|Encourage honest feedback (care is shown through transparency)
|• At work: “Talk to me about what it felt like to be part of that meeting.”
• At home: “Let me give you a permission slip. You can tell me exactly how you feel right now without worrying I’ll be upset or punish you.”
|Look for models of humanity||• At work: “I feel tired today, anyone else? What do you need?”
• At home: “I need a break. It’s ok to get overwhelmed, even with people you love.”
|Encourage discussions about mistakes||• At work: “It’s supposed to be hard, this is our first time figuring this out.”
• At home: “I’m sorry I yelled, can I try again? I bet that felt pretty scary for you.”
|Focus on process vs. outcomes||• At work: “I bet that was exciting – we learned something new!”
• At home: “Let’s play a game where we make up the rules.”
|Encourage an environment of gratitude||• At work: “I see you, I appreciate you.”
• At home: “Thanks for helping out, it makes more time for fun!”
I bet if you took just one act of authenticity and practiced it for a bit, you would see how your world shifts a bit. People will see more humanness in you and you’ll see them be quite forgiving. You’ll feel a bit lighter than when you have to perform and get things “just right” all of the time. You may even feel relieved.
Try out some authentic behaviors, or tell me how you’re already doing this. I’d love to hear from you. Let’s keep stumbling forward together!
PS – If you’re a provider ready to transform how you care for patients by learning about the MOST important medicine, relational health, at a conference that feels more like a retreat, then I’d love for you to join me at my next retreat created especially for you. Click here to learn more and get registered.
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