It kinda feels like a buzz word at this point – authentic/authenticity. It first walked into my life in college. I was a Resident Assistant taking a mandated leadership course that I ended up absolutely loving. Among the various sub topics, we talked about the differing forms and personalities of leaders. As soon as we came upon “Authentic Leadership” I was hooked. Those who operated under authentic leadership were leaders who were simply real. They worked alongside their employees/team members. Authentic leaders did not lean into fear as a driving force but rather, open communication and creating common goals.
Since college, and especially as of late, authenticity has been rearing its head again and again. Becoming this echoing mantra in my mind. Being authentic, being honest with who I am, what I like and don’t like; uncovering, a little more every day, what makes me who I am, what makes me come alive and what God put me in this planet to do.
Before we go any further I need you to recognize…truly recognize how special you are. Take a moment first to understand how important YOUR stamp is. There is a whole slew of people who need to hear YOUR story, who are interested in things that YOU are interested in and will love exactly who YOU are. Why try to hang with anyone else? You were created to tell your own story, not mimic someone else’s.
Along my ever changing and blooming authenticity journey, a few things have stuck out to me, made me re-evaluate how true I was really being to myself and shaken up my perspective. For you, I’ll boil it down to three…
“You are the only you that will ever be” – Jen Sincero She says this a few times in her book “You Are a Bad Ass” and for good reason. I think most of us need to hear it more than once. I am the only me that will ever be. I am the only Nandi raised by Jessica and Dillard, with a younger sister Imani who grew up in a sometimes volatile household where alcohol and “heated arguments” were very much present all while having the privilege to travel the world, meet new people, move to new places, be exposed to a variety of cultures. All of our individual stories/background/lifestyle choices make us exactly who we are and there is NO SHAME to be had in our stories, only celebration. Telling our stories gives others permission to tell theirs as well. We find connection there. We all crave connection, no matter how awkward the process to it is. The people you identify with share commonalities with you. Whether it's music, hobbies or simply growing up in the same state before you both moved to Colorado, it is our stories that connect us. You are the only you that will ever be. If you don’t read any further, take this nugget of love with you and cherish it. Being you, no matter the circumstances, is a beautiful story to be told. Share it.