Believe it or not, these pictures below are all of the same two people. My buddy Justin and I are celebrating 10 years of tight friendship and as you can see, a lot of laughs. The funny thing is, we both didn’t like each other at first. It wasn’t until we let down our guards that we realized that we were both just a couple of weirdos.

Authenticity is a buzzword these days. It gets thrown around quite a bit and for better or worse, it’s finally gotten the press it deserves. Perhaps one downside of the social media culture in which we live is that it encourages us to put our masks on and project a version of us that we think other people want to see. We see the new car, the new dress, the new job, or the amazing trip. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things but there’s no nuance; there’s no depth. On the one hand, we can choose to sit around and complain about the current zeitgeist, or we use these tools as a launch pad for true authenticity – if we dare to put ourselves out there.

Words to Live By

This brings me to my buddy Justin. The reason I resonate with this guy is because he is who he says he is. What you see is what you get. I have laughed with this joker to the point of nearly blacking out because we truly accept each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. He’s already agreed to be a guest on my podcast, so I won’t give away too much here, but needless to say – he reflects authentic living in spades. I bring him up because he helped me drop the act and encouraged me, without saying a thing, to be myself.

If you feel like you need to be something or someone else to make other people happy, stop. Why waste your time? Life is too short and shouldn’t be spent posing as a caricature of who you were made to be. If you’re weird – be weird. If you are type A – be type A. If you like making lamps out of people, you should probably seek help because that crap isn’t normal. But seriously, it’s liberating to trade the stress being your own PR representative for a life of authenticity. Whether you choose to display that on social media or not is entirely up to you. Perhaps though, there some of you out there that, like me, have been holding back something special that could benefit the rest of us. It’s never to late to start something incredible and different.

If you feel like trying a little exercise, I’ll leave you with a few questions/reflections that helped me drop the act and accept who I really am. Some of these led me to change bad things in my life, others to amplify things I was hiding and afraid to let shine. Let me know if they help you:

  1. What makes me feel alive?
  2. What are my obsessions?
  3. When I do fill in the blank, time stands still.
  4. I’m self-conscious about fill in the blank.
  5. What actions do I need to take to become more like my true self?