My Year of Learning Authenticity
I'm so excited to share my blog with you this week. About this time last year, I discovered Norma Hollis. I was listening to a personal development podcast and this lady, Norma, was a guest. She talked about the importance and freedom of embracing authenticity. She said living an authentic life can bring confidence and serenity, both traits I wanted to work on as part of my personal journey in 2020.
I checked out Norma's website and found that she hosted a weekly, small-group discussion on the different dimensions of her Authenticity Grid. I was curious and talked to her a bit further about it. I felt like this was just the personal investment I was looking for in 2020. However, I was in the process of publishing and launching my first book and didn't feel like I could dedicate myself to the 1-hour per week program, so I declined.
In the early weeks of 2020, the word "authenticity" popped up in many places in my life. I felt a calling back to the program. My intuition told me this would be a valuable priority for me so I signed up. This was not the last time Norma helped me discover my own intuition. Later in January, Norma graciously offered to pen a guest blog for Beyond Introversion and classes started in February.
I thrilled to share a bit about five of the dimensions that were game-changers for me this year in the hope that some may make a difference for you in 2021:
Intuition: I never paid much attention to my intuition. Decades in corporate America taught me to lean on numbers and analysis instead. In learning about who I am, my gifts and talents, I discovered how to listen to my intuition and trust my gut. As a result, my self-confidence has grown as I recognize my small successes, practice Positive Self Talk, and trust that my values and intuition will guide me well.
Inspiration: I'm not a religious person and I think that deterred me from inviting inspiration into my life. This year I realized inspiration doesn't have to be a religious connection. I found the source of my own inspiration: my determination to embrace my best self, my love of family, and my hope to help others to avoid some of my own pitfalls. I also sensed a calling to inspire others with a message of self-worth by being courageous enough to share my own stories and to stretch beyond my own comfort zone to do it. This has emboldened me to reach out to others through podcasts and more thought-provoking blogs.
Network: It is fitting that Network, or connection with others, is in the middle of the Grid. As an introvert, I often felt networking was a major weakness for me. My network of friends or work contacts was so small compared to others. However, my authenticity journey has taught me Network is about quality, not quantity. If I am my true self, I will naturally connect with others of similar beliefs and personalities. I tossed out the notion that a large network is essential and have embraced a cornerstone strength of many introverts, that fewer connections of more meaningful depth are most satisfying of all. This has bolstered my confidence and removed much of the pressure of social outings.
Likeability: I used to feel that being liked was of utmost importance. I tried to fit in only to find that my awkwardness left me feeling sad and frustrated on the outside of most groups. Much like my Network learnings, I've realized authenticity is not about trying to be liked but of just liking myself. I'm trying to appreciate and grow my own strengths, and share those without embarrassment or shame. I'm getting more comfortable actually flaunting my awkwardness. What a relief to throw out the mask I've wielded for decades!
Lifestyle: Though there is not an ordering of the authenticity process, it is fitting that Lifestyle sits in the bottom-right corner. Lifestyle is how we live our life. My life used to be filled with stress and pressure. I thought it was because of my corporate job. Now I realize the anxiety was because I was trying to live through the example of others instead of by using my own strengths. I also understood I was pushing myself to extremes - working hard, stressing hard, and suffering through excessive eating and drinking. Now my lifestyle mantra is Mindfulness & Moderation. It has helped to reframe my life and bring serenity and fulfillment into my life and my family.
I learned so much from Norma and the other magnificent ladies and gentlemen on our Zoom calls. As the program concludes this month, I am a different person. I'm so grateful I listened to my intuition and jumped on board. I'm not getting paid to share my story or to advocate that you consider Norma's upcoming FREE class or 2021 series. That is a choice for you to make. I myself am proud to share my experience with the hope it may support your own journey of self-discovery in 2021.
Norma T. Hollis is an international authority on authentic leadership and self-awareness. She is a coach, consultant, speaker, trainer and author of programs, services, and books that help people deepen their knowledge of self, transition difficult times, follow their authentic life path and speak with authority. Her signature program, ‘The Authentic Voice System’ adds depth, complexity, and content to what it means to be authentic and offers success roadmaps for individuals and the organizations they work for. Norma is the former owner of a speakers’ bureau and continues to help people all over the world find, live, and share their authentic voice.
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