The Law of Authenticity

The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.


“Be yourself” is a bewildering piece of advice.

“Well,” we think, “that can’t possibly be enough. How could anyone like the real me?”

Therein lies the problem: staring in the mental mirror and picking out all the flaws. Focused on popularity instead of purpose, we lose track of what we have to offer. Who we are gets buried under an avalanche of “should do” and “supposed to be.”

It is impossible to build profitable relationships — financially or spiritually — hiding behind a façade.

In The Go-Giver, Debra Davenport runs through a list of techniques pushed on her by well-meaning colleagues:

Well, let’s see . . . There was the Assumptive Close, the Bonus Close, the Concession Close, the Distraction Close, the Emotion Close, the Future Close, the Golden Bridge Close, the Humor Close, the IQ Close, the Jersey City Close, the Kill Clause Close, the Leveraged Asset Close, the Money’s-Not-Everything Close, the Now-or-Never Close, the Ownership Close, the Puppy Dog Close, the Quality Close, the Reversal Close, the Standing-Room-Only Close, the Takeaway Close, the Underpriced-Value Close, the Vanity Close, the Window-of-Opportunity Close, the Xaviera Hollander Close, Ya-Ya Sisterhood Close and Zsa Zsa Gabor Close!

And, after doing her best to follow them to the letter, she is unable to make a single sale. She got lost in the shuffle of applying superficial answers to deep questions.

This is easy to extrapolate into other areas, too. Has anyone ever made a real friend with those generic conversation starters about jobs, hometowns and family we all use?

The precious metal is tough to get to, far within all of us.

Authenticity, then, is ultimately about valuing what is deep down.

When we stop trying to impress people, we become vastly more impressive. Every one of us ties ourselves most readily to those whom we can identify with, people who expose their vulnerabilities and reflect our own by doing so.

How is that possible if we’re putting on a show?

Plus, on some level, we all figure out quickly what’s true about someone and they do the same in the opposite direction. As it turns out, we’re right most of the time. (Don’t believe me? Read Blink by Malcom Gladwell.)

People know when you’re trying to be something you’re not.

Why try?

Stripping away the layers of others’ expectations (or what we think they are) and revealing our truth is the purest form of giving. We become like a musician performing an original composition, bringing a higher level of energy because who we really are is on display.

Playing our song — the one only we can write — casts the shadow of our very essence further into the world.

Others may wish to sing along.

Better yet, they may be inspired to make their own symphony.

At the very least, they’ll probably understand us.

This is why it’s best to be genuine.

This is the fourth in a five-part series discussing the core principles of The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. If you’d like a preview of this wonderful book, download the first chapter here.


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