“When you’re authentic, you end up following your heart, and you put yourself in places and situations and in conversations that you love and that you enjoy. You meet people that you like talking to. You go places you’ve dreamt about. And you end up following your heart and feeling very fulfilled.” -Neil Pasricha
“Whooo are yooouu?”
A breathy question poised by Absalom, the hookah-smoking caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland. It’s a good question, seemingly easy to answer, or at least it was back in 1865 when the book was written.
But now, our world is full of overstimulation; of social media constantly telling us “who we should be” and “what we should do”.
Being in this constant state of connectedness makes it more important than ever before to take stock of ourselves; the aim of this blog, to share my thoughts on how to head in the direction of finding your true self.
THE PROCESS OF SELF DISCOVERY
Discovering ourselves is often a lengthy process. So how do we start, where do we go to find ourselves and how do we know when we’re there?
The truth is you’ve already started and you don’t need to go very far. Getting to know yourself is an important first step. Try asking yourself some questions:
What am I most proud of?
What do I love unconditionally?
Who do I admire, and why?
What makes me uncomfortable?
What scares me, and why?
If money and time were no object, what would I do with my life?
These basic, generic questions are just the start. Hopefully, as you answer them, you’ll encounter more questions to ask yourself and find more internal paths to discover.
Remember, it’s important to be brutally honest with yourself during this process. Many feel more comfortable being alone as they do this exercise.
The more questions you answer about yourself, the more you’ll get to know your authentic self. This is an amazing opportunity to create a life that is fulfilling; full of passion and purpose.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AUTHENTIC?
Authenticity refers to full awareness of who you are. It includes what you stand for, such as values and morals.
It also involves how you express yourself and present yourself to the world.
When you’re authentic you:
Speak your opinions in a healthy, honest, but respectful way.
Are better able to make decisions aligned with your values.
Can find and pursue your passions.
Can allow yourself to be vulnerable while setting boundaries.
WHY IS AUTHENTICITY IMPORTANT?
Each of us is a collection of thoughts, feelings, habits, and instincts which are put together from genetics and our environment.
Every day, we are exposed to a ton of information, sensory inputs, and experiences. Being in touch with our true selves allows us to distill what we truly desire, as well as what our body needs — physically and emotionally.
With authenticity comes confidence, the ability to share your thoughts and opinions. You’re better able to make quick decisions and can communicate more effectively.
These attributes will benefit you throughout your professional and your personal life.
For example, knowing your true self allows you to be completely honest and open when starting a new career.
You’re more likely to know what type of job will excite and motivate you.
You’ll be more confident during interviews and able to speak truthfully about your skills, experiences, and goals.
Finally, when you start work, you’ll form more meaningful relationships, all due to finding and being your authentic self.
TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR TRUE SELF
Creating the life that you want begins with knowing yourself. A few tips to get you started:
BE PRESENT Being able to sit with yourself, regardless of what’s happening around you is an important practice, especially when searching for your true self. If you are easily distracted, especially by your own mental chatter, then it’s difficult to be aware of your state of being. Throughout the day, practice by taking a pause to breathe slower, while checking in with yourself mentally and physically.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST AUTHENTIC? Think about what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, etc. The journey to your authentic self is easier when you know what authenticity feels like. Try asking yourself some questions such as “Which type of people or activities make me feel the most alive?”
EXAMINE YOUR PEER AND SOCIAL GROUPS When you take time to determine how the people in your life make you feel, you can better decide who is worth your time. While taking inventory of your peers, make note of characteristics you like and don’t like about them, and what qualities you think they like and don’t like about you.
COMMUNICATE HONESTLY Improving your communication skills will greatly benefit your professional and personal life. When you take time to fully listen to someone while they’re speaking to you, you can feel an emotional reaction to their words. This can help you to better formulate an honest and authentic answer.
RECOGNIZE YOUR INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL INFLUENCES Internal motivators are the desires that come from within, your passions, and your dreams. Some of these could be private thoughts, that you’ve never shared with anyone. Meanwhile, external motivators push you to make decisions based on things like status, or other people’s expectations.
CHALLENGES YOU MAY FACE ALONG THE WAY We mentioned social media as being one of the reasons it’s so important to find our true selves. It could also be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face on this journey. The platforms are full of fakeness: fake smiles inside photoshopped pics, fake news, fake feelings. The comments you’ll see range from conflicting, to bullying, to pretentious, or… as we mentioned, could also be fake.
Since social media is anything BUT authentic, it may be helpful to stay away from these platforms until you’ve gotten to know yourself a bit better.
As Neil Pasricha (author of You Are Awesome) says: “When you’re authentic, you end up following your heart, and you put yourself in places and situations and in conversations that you love and that you enjoy. You meet people that you like talking to. You go places you’ve dreamt about. And you end up following your heart and feeling very fulfilled.”
People and processes together — how could anyone not want to explore what that offers?
Let’s connect and see first-hand how finding your true self will change everything for you and your organization.
Yan Katcharovski (@yankatch) is a venture capitalist, business strategist, and mindset visionary. Starting his career in non-for-profit, Yan is a leader and influencer of positive change and impact in both organizations and individuals alike. His ventures focus on Edtech, eCommerce, Blockchain, Marketing, and Investing. Yan serves as CEO of Katch Media Group, a Toronto-based full-service marketing agency, which lead to co-founding Schoolio Learning Inc. and the Real Estate Wealth Lab. Yan also serves as the CMO of Meatsmith.