I hope you celebrated the festival of Diwali with family and friends. 

Like many of our festivals, Diwali is about the victory of good over evil. 

What do you want to conquer in your life at the moment?

It may not be evil, but anything else that holds you back from taking action to create the life you want to live. There are so many of those. The variant that I want to address today is – “Not feeling authentic”. 

I call it – ‘That is not me’ syndrome.

Does it ever assail you?

If your answer is yes, I invite you to think about the following – 

Self-awareness – Is your goal really your goal? Is it driven by what will – 

  • Make the maximum difference in your life.
  • Excite you the most.
  • Challenge you in ways you want.
  • Make you the person you want to be.
  • Lead you to the life you want to create for yourself and your family.

A goal inspired by your aspirations motivates you to constantly work towards achieving it. 

However, if your goal is the next shiny thing calling out to you or driven by peer pressure or any other kind of pressure, it is difficult to pursue because it does not feel authentic, and it does not motivate you to act. In short – ‘That is not you’! 

Identifying with your old skills as your identity – This often happens to technically strong, individual contributors. Their technical knowledge helps them succeed until they reach the stage where they need to acquire power skills they do not yet identify with. Learning these new skills feels like a compromise with who they are and their values. After all, they have come so far despite those skills. They struggle to come to terms with the fact that what got them here is not enough to get them where they want to be. Here are some examples* of when this happens – 

  • You are a data and logic-driven person. You believe in substance over style, but the new role requires you to connect with people via personal stories and metaphors.
  • You like to call a spade a spade. You take pride in being someone who says things as they are. You find tailoring the message to the needs of different audiences disingenuous and distasteful.

If you identify with any of the above, you are probably highly attached to your current identity, and it is getting in the way of your ability to evolve to the next version that you aspire to be. 

Look back to the instances when you worked to achieve your goals, and you will find that you acquired new skills, experiences, and personal growth along the way. You are not the same person you were 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago?  

After all, learning means doing things you are not comfortable doing yet. Learning happens when – 

  • You experiment, adjust the process, and retry 
  • You can change how you think about yourself and your work rather than being attached to your current identity

In short, to feel authentic as you seek growth – 

  • choose goals that matter to you, and 
  • adopt a definition of authentic that allows you to learn new skills till you feel authentic using them.

PS – *This is not an exhaustive list.

If not feeling authentic is getting in the way of your growth, consider coaching with me as a solution for you. Book an exploratory call here.